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Starting Your Own Business

Being Your Own Boss

Remember long ago when you thought as a physician that you would be your own boss?

There was a time when a majority of physicians were in solo practice but not anymore.

Why?  The health care “system” has changed.  It will continue to evolve, and I think that physicians will have even less autonomy in the future.

Have you ever thought about the risk to benefit ratio of being a physician?  Think about this a little while and see if it doesn’t scare you.  One car accident away or one chronic disease away or one frivolous lawsuit away from not being able to practice as expected can spell financial disaster.

How can we protect ourselves from financial ruin should disaster strike?

Starting your own business and becoming your own boss may be one thing that could someday save you from financial ruin.  An extra income stream could provide needed cashflow to get kids through college or raise additional capital for investing.

How to Become an Entrepreneur

It’s in part a question of how and question of what.  The “how” part is easy once you figure out what kind of business may be your golden egg endeavor.  Owning one’s own business may be a lifelong endeavor for some and a part time side business for others.

Find the Right Concept for Your Business

Entrepreneurs provide a service or product that will be the answer or solution to someone else’s problem.  If you’re lucky you have a hobby that can form a basis for your business.  Is there something you are passionate about or would like to learn more about but never had the opportunity or the time?  Now is the time to research the possibilities!

  • Do you tend toward a brick-and-mortar business versus online?
  • Do you have a special talent or interest that you could tap into for a new business?
  • Do you know of a product or service you could make better?
  • Would you prefer purchasing an existing business?

Brainstorm for ideas relevant to your interests then get online and research your ideas.  Think about how much time and money you would be willing to invest for expected return.  Could your business someday provide passive income?  It is amazing that some of the most successful businesses started with a very simple idea.  For example, remember what happened when a guy from Louisiana who loved to duck hunt figured out how to make a great duck calling device.  The rest is history!

Never give up if you don’t have a good idea today.  Businesses sprout from the most unusual circumstances so who knows what idea will come up tomorrow.

Research Your Concept

Experts suggest choosing industries that are growing but not excessively competitive.  Basically, find a product line or service that you can improve on or market to a select audience that may not typically have access to the product or service.  Research your idea and see if it has a viable possibility.  Then, ask yourself how you can offer customers something better and more affordable.  Becoming an entrepreneur does not mean having to reinvent the wheel, but simply filling a market gap previously unrecognized.

Start Looking for a Network

Look for others in the industry and see if there are professional groups or associations to connect with.  Social media is a good place to begin and you may discover private associations or events to attend making connections with others in the industry.

Begin Forming a Plan

After your market research has brought you valuable information and you’ve made a few connections, it’s time to put together a viable strategy.  Every great business owner must have a business plan that lays out their strategy and plans.  A good plan includes a company’s vision and mission statements, its budget, target market, marketing strategy and crucial milestones.  Write it down step by step.  It does not have to be a rigid strategy because you typically will find the need to adjust along the way.  Remember that strategy without the action component will not work.  Success comes from deciding, focusing, committing then taking action!  There are a lot of great ideas but if there is no action – all you have are great ideas.

Get Your Business Organized

Now, it’s time to make your business official.  Estimate how much capital is needed to get your business off the ground and consider finance options.  Now that you have a basic idea and strategy in place, begin creating your company name.  You will need a business name in order to fill out your application for tax identification purposes and to register your business with your state comptroller.  You will have to decide what type of business in which to apply for, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or an S corporation.  There are definitions online to help you decide which type would be best for your business though advice from your accountant or finance professional is a good way to avoid making a mistake.  You will want to keep your personal assets separate from your business so plan accordingly.

You will need a location to begin your business either from home or other physical location.  Start small and expand later.  Work on getting a business address, email and phone number if different from your home.  Then, once your business is officially registered you can open a business bank account.  You will generate plenty of documents quickly so employ at least a basic accounting system from the start.  A simple folder system early on will work, but keep every invoice and receipt generated.  Every vendor needs a file at hand and if you are doing things online – get a book where you can catalog EVERY username and password for logins.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve gotten a few ideas on starting a small business, do you have what it takes?  There is so much to put together and it takes time and hard work.  Strangely, it seems like there is a mountain to climb at every turn even when it seems small initially.  Realize that setbacks will happen and welcome the opportunity to overcome those obstacles.  If obstacles are learning opportunities, then consider yourself an obstacle course expert in training!  Set realistic expectations.

It takes courage to put yourself out in the world and you become vulnerable in a way you’re not used to.  Focus is hard to maintain and taking action is even harder.  If starting your own business was easy and without risk – everyone would be doing it.  But the joy of bringing value you created to others is fulfilling in a unique way.

Find an idea you believe in and never give up on chasing your dreams.  The world may be waiting for your innovative spirit to make it a better place to live!

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