Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Know What You're Getting Into

Many people dream of owning their own business, but how many of them really understand what’s involved? And is business ownership a right fit for you? Concentrate on what aspiring entrepreneurs need to know about business ownership before you take the plunge.

Keep Your eyes on the prize
Before you get all puffed up about your aim to open a business of your own, remember this: hundreds of people have had that very same dream before you. Some of them have prospered, but many more have failed. If you’ve never owned or operated a business before, now would be a good time to seek help.

Start by taking college-level classes in basic business skills such as budgeting and finance, strategic planning, data analysis and time management. Apply for a job in the kind of company you envision or, better yet, find a mentor — an entrepreneur or instructor you admire — to help you get started on the right track. And never, never be afraid to ask questions, even stupid ones. It’s the best way to learn.

Set Yourself Up for Success
You’ll also need to create structure for your business and one of the best ways to do that is by asking — and answering — six very basic questions:

  • WHO Just me? Me plus one or two assistants? A staff to cover multiple shifts? Temps for busy times?
  • WHAT A retail shop? A professional practice? Strictly online? Catalog and/or mail order?
  • WHERE A storefront? A stand-alone office or suite in an existing business? My laptop at home?
  • WHEN Regular or flexible hours? By appointment only? Walk-ins welcome?
  • WHY I love this idea! Could be a real moneymaker. I’m good at this. No one else is doing it.
  • HOW Do I have the smarts/experience/resources to build a business and keep it going?

Assess Your Readiness
Assuming that you have earned the necessary professional credentials and/or licenses for the business you intend to operate — i.e., you are a registered cosmetologist, real estate broker, dietitian, paralegal, CPA, etc. — it is important that you also have an understanding of general business operations.

While no two businesses are exactly alike, they all share some similarities. For example, no matter how prepared you think you are to open and operate a business, there will be challenges.

Questions you should be prepared to ask and answer

  • Do I have the necessary assets — skills, stamina, capital, etc. — to make it as an entrepreneur?
  • What questions do I need to ask and answer in order to formulate a concrete written plan for my business?
  • How am I preparing to become my own boss? Have I identified a mentor to guide me and, if not, where might I find one?
  • Have I established an online presence?
  • What do I know about social media and how to use it effectively?
  • How will I go about staffing my business?
  • How many employees might I need and where will I find them?
  • If I don’t intend to have employees — to operate instead as a sole proprietor — what thought have I given to how my business will survive if I become sick or incapacitated?


Know What You're
Getting Into
Name It. Site it. File the Necessary Paperwork.
Abide by
the Law
Put Your Plans
in Writing
Find a Way to
Pay for it
Prepare for the
Hire the Right People ...
or Maybe None at All
Allow Yourself to
Prosper in Place
Get the
Word Out 
Plan to Expand ...
Beginning Right Now
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