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Nine Steps to Success
By Dr. Robert Sullivan
Large companies are downsizing. Reengineering is all too
common. Many people are seriously considering starting their
own business so as not to become victims of the all too
uncertain corporate world. In fact, a new small business is
started every 11-seconds throughout the U.S. Many fail but
you can improve your odds of success by learning from the
mistakes of others. Here are "nine steps to success" that
are based on many "real-life" lessons of successes and
You might know a lot about your product or service but you
might not be knowledgeable about the practical aspects of
starting and operating a business. Be honest when assessing
your knowledge and take advantage of available information
as well as the various support organizations such as the
SBA (800 827 5722 or on the internet at
http://www.sbaonline.gov) or your local SCORE chapter.
Learn from others mistakes!
You cannot be an expert on everything. Get assistance early
from as many sources as possible. Talk to your attorney,
accountant and banker. Talk to your friends, family and your
A major reason for business failure is lack of planning. Fail
to plan and you plan to fail. Prepare a strategic plan for
your business that clearly defines your mission, your present
situation, your strategies, and where you want to be in the
next three to five years. This plan will be your roadmap to
effective decision making.
Before you start operations, make certain you are protected
from a legal and insurance point of view. Select a business
legal structure (talk to your attorney) and develop a
insurance program (talk with an independent insurance agent)
that is best for your type of business. Take NO chances!
Avoid hiring employees at the start.
This is not always possible but put it off for as long a
possible. The legal complexities of hiring and maintaining
employees (even one!) can be daunting and take up a lot of
Purchase a computer and learn to use it.
Operating your business without a computer will put you at an
immediate disadvantage. They are simply too valuable as a
time-saving tool. Don't be overwhelmed at the apparent
complexity of a computer, once you begin they are quite easy
to use. Furthermore you will want a computer to take
advantage of the internet - the most exciting development of
recent times for communications (e-mail: send a message
anywhere in the world with no long distance charges) and
research (The world wide web or WWW is an amazio. There will
be good times and bad. Be persistent and stubborn -view any
failure as a learning experience and an opportunity for
Keep your goals in mind and expect that you will achieve them.
Don't lose sight of your goal... keep pushing.
Don't delay acting on a good idea.
Even a great idea is worthless if you don't do something with it.
This article is an excerpt from "The Small Business Start-Up
Guide" by Robert Sullivan, which is available from the publisher,
Information International, Box 579, Great Falls, VA 22066, at
$16.95 plus $3.50s/h. 800 375 8439. Visit "The Small Business
Advisor" at http://www.isquare.com
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Tags: Start and Run a Business