How can you improve the odds of success with your small business start up?

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Answered by: Charles, An Expert in the Business Start Up Category
The following critical factors can improve the odds of success with your small business start up.

1. There must be an existing demand for the product (merchandise, service, or information) that you plan to sell. One way to verify this demand is to determine if there is any advertising for the type of product you are planning. You can look in the Yellow Pages of the telephone book, the classified advertisements in your local newspaper, or you can go online and search for products being offered for sale.

2. You must have the necessary attitudes, determination, and skills to start and run the business. It takes a certain amount of self-confidence and a take-charge attitude to start a business. You must be determined to keep going until you start your business and make it successful. You can develop the required skills by reading a magazine or online articles on how other people succeeded with their small business start up.

3. You must plan how to keep your start up costs and operating expenses to an absolute minimum. One of the most common sources of business failure is running out of cash. Go online and read about various bootstrap methods of saving cash. Don't purchase equipment that you need. Instead, borrow or rent it. Operate out of a home office. Delay unnecessary expenses and purchases until the business is making a profit. Be frugal.

4. You must be able to deliver a quality product. Customers usually consider a quality product to be something that satisfies their needs and desires, and that they can afford to buy. You need to research your potential customers to discover their needs and desires. Keep samples of advertisements for products similar to your own. They will show you the needs and desires of your potential customers. They will give you ways to appeal to these customers. In this way, you can profit from the experience of others.

5. You must furnish your potential customers with an offer that cannot be refused. Your research in the preceding steps should help you design an irresistible offer. You want to appeal to their emotions. You want them to realize what a bargain they are getting. You want to eliminate any risk they have in purchasing your product. For example, you might offer a money-back guarantee if they are not satisfied. You might have a special offer with a limited duration. You want them to buy now, not sometime in the future.

6. You must satisfy all governmental and insurance requirements, and any other start up needs, before beginning business operations. You can discuss this matter with a local certified public accountant. Then you will know all of the common business requirements, such as fees, licenses, registrations, and tax reports. You also should discuss your business start up plans with your family. You need to get your home office set up and decide on your accounting system. You need to decide on any helpers that you may need.

7. Start out small and then expand your optimized and profitable business. Don't assume that you're going to make a lot of money at first. You need to get your first customers and make sure they are satisfied. Then you need to optimize the business to remove any bottlenecks or operating problems. After you are making a suitable profit, you may want to start expanding your business. You could try for a larger market area. Perhaps you could introduce additional products. Perhaps you could sell additional features. Maybe you could make special deals with your best customers. However, whatever you do, keep your costs and expenses under control.

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