7 Essential Tools Needed to Start a Business

Want to start a business but unsure where to begin? Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck? Are you a stay at home mom looking to supplement your husband’s income?

I suspect 99% of you are nodding your head in agreement. Good. You’re right where you need to be, hungry for change.

Owning a business is more than operational, managerial and financial know how. Don’t get me wrong, those are very important functions.

To build a company or invent a product requires vision. It requires an ability to see beyond peril, challenges, threats and competitors. To make money, achieve celebrity fame or escape from the rat race, you must believe in yourself and never give up.

You must become a dreamer for in dreams destiny is found. In dreams, your purpose or calling in life is found. If you want to start a business, begin by reshaping your mind.

1. Read, Research and Read Some More
In the book, “Richest Man in Babylon,” author George Clason says, “People often wish that lady luck will smile on them and give them all their heart’s desires. Unfortunately life does not work this way and people are rarely blessed to be handed a large sum of money with no strings attached.”

How often do you read? Is your home littered with self-help books? How do you spend your free time?

If you don’t read, I recommend hopping in the car and driving over to your local library. Pick up Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. These books will help you reshape your thinking.

Subscribe to trade magazines in the industry your business falls under. Search online blogs for business owners and pick their brains. Begin understanding your industry, busy/slow times of the year, competitors, supply and demand.

Read. Read. And when you’re done reading, read some more. Reading is the gateway to success in life and business.

2. Write Out a Plan
Before you dive head first buying products or investing money into a business, sit down and write out a plan. You cannot survive skipping this vital step.

Most business pundits call it a business plan. A business plan lists your ideas, opportunities, challenges, threats, strengths, distribution channels, competitors, vision and mission statements. It’s a map of your business.

I recommend buying a whiteboard and creating a mind map. A mind map begins with a product/service at the center, branching out to important areas of the business product or service. It’s a visualization of your business.

Here are some resources to help you understand and create a mind map:

a. Mind Mapping.com

b. Mind Mapping: How to Create a Mind Map in 4 Steps

3. Find The Top 3 in Your Industry
No greater resource exist than that of your competition. Search industry leaders and study them as you would your own company. How do they market? What’s their managerial style? How did they become a market leader?

You’re a tadpole in a big ocean. The general public doesn’t know you exist. Your marketshare is 0%, thus you must learn marketing, financial planning, leadership and public relation skills to survive the tumultuous journey business ownership tends to be.

Analyzing the best in your industry ensures one thing, success is possible as long as you’re committed to the plan and dream created. It’s about sustainability and the desire to create a business.

4. Master One Product at a Time
In the immediate needs world, people jump from idea to idea, product to product, service to service as quickly as time passes. The short attention span technology creates makes it difficult to focus on one thing.

In stock investing, diversity is key. But in the business world mastering a product/service makes you an expert, an authority in the industry.

Business diversification has advantages but for the purposes of starting a business and this blog post, focusing on a single product/service ensures your time is well spent.

Master your product/service. Become an expert of your product/service by learning the ins and outs. Doing so will build trust with customers because your expert knowledge will shine through in the sales.

5. Market 24/7
The Internet revolutionized the business world by enabling 24/7 accessibility. Time and location are no longer barriers as customers with Internet access in far away places can view, research and buy a product/service at any point in time, from anyone in the world. It’s a global market nowadays.

Despite perceptions of worldwide Internet accessibility, the global population of Internet users is less than 1/3 or 2.92 billion.

Why does this matter? Well, there is room for Internet growth, equating to increased customers for your business. This is achievable when Internet speed increases 50 or even 100 times current speeds.

Marketing is a pillar of business. Whether word of mouth, print based, online, on billboards, shopping carts or social media, opportunities exist to market your business, and you should maximize every opportunity.

Marketing choices must be measured to ensure your hard earned money is spent in the most effective medium. A company providing such a service, aggregated marketing analysis is MipTags.

Mobile Information Post Tags (Miptags) aggregates your social media accounts and print based marketing into an application by assigning a miptag. For $20 a year, business owners can assign a miptag to each marketing medium and receive customer analytics, marketing data important to business owners.

Zig Ziglar, often regarded as the father of sales said it best, “It is your responsibility to make the customer like you. If they like you, they will listen. If they listen, they will believe. If they believe, they will buy.”

6. Define the Business Structure
When you start a business, more than likely your business structure will be a sole proprietor. This form of business structure is the most common and simplest. No legal documents are required with the IRS and its inexpensive. Unfortunately,this business structure doesn’t separate personal or business interests, thus you’re susceptible to unlimited liability.

It may be wise to move away from a sole proprietorship and into a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or S Corp. Read more about business structure on the Small Business Association website.

7. Financial Strength Determines Your Survival
38 million people live hand to mouth according to the Brookings Institution. Why is this statistic important? If you live paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet, how likely are you to succeed managing the financial aspects of a business?

Every business, sole proprietor, corporation and non-profit must understand how to budget and manage their financials. A section in your business plan must identify revenue/sales channels, operational costs, assign funding to marketing activities and detail investment/reinvestment strategies.

Funding is the lifeblood of business for without it businesses cease to exist. If your financial knowledge is limited, take this free financial management course (itunes required).

Also, utilize free online financial management tools such as mint.com to monitor bank accounts, credit cards, loans and asset balances. Set up goals and a budget to manage your finances. This online money and budgeting tool is a valuable resource for personal and business accounts.

If your dream is to start a business, do it. Despite statistics of failed businesses and the daunting uphill climb many business owners face, people do succeed. In America, free-enterprise allows common people to do extraordinary things.

Question is, when will you decide to be extraordinary?

Published by

Joshua Cintron

Joshua Cintron is the author of: What to Expect When You Enroll in an Online Class, and Upon a Moonlight Kiss, 104 Ways to Say I Love You. In addition to writing and publishing books, he is a finance professional with a graduate degree in public administration. He's held positions as an online college professor at several US colleges and universities.

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