7 Tips on How to Start a Small Business

In my last post, How to Start a Business with Little or No Money, I told you about an inspiring book by Cameron Johnson called You Call The Shots.

I devoured the book in just one sitting and was inspired by the simple business and life wisdom that can only be shared by someone who became a millionaire by the time he graduated from high school and who, by age 21 (when he wrote the book in 2007), had already started 12 successful businesses.

In You Call the Shots, Johnson shares how to “Succeed your way – and live the life you want – with the 19 essential secrets of entrepreneurship.”

Here are 7 Simple Tips on How to Start a Small Business that I gleaned from You Call the Shots:

  1. Put yourself out there – If you’ve dreamed of starting your own business, you have to believe in yourself (and in the product or service you’re selling), put yourself out there, and boldly take that first step. With the advent of the Internet, it’s never been easier to start your own business, either full or part-time.
  2. Start small – Many dream of starting a business but don’t do it because they think they have to start big or spend a lot of money.  The good news is that you really don’t have to!  Start small and do what you know and are passionate about, with the tools you have readily available or can easily/cheaply get.  Johnson suggests,“Think of the ideas that will require the least cash investment up front and the least in advertising money, especially for your first venture.”
  3. Make your money work for you – Money isn’t an end in itself; it’s a tool that will help you build your business, create more freedom in your life, make a difference in the lives of others, build financial security, and accomplish just about anything you want to to do.  But money can only do those things if you control it.  Johnson says, “If you take care of your money, your money will take care of you.  If you don’t, it will enslave you.”  To build and grow your own business, you need to have a firm grasp on basic money management skills. You need to know how to make your cash flow and grow.
  4. Look close to home for great ideas – When starting a business, Johnson follows Warren Buffett’s investment advice, which is to “start with what you know.”  The benefits of this approach are that you’ll be passionate about your product or service, have a solid grasp of what your customers want and need, and know what they’re willing to pay.
  5. Balance work with life – New start-ups typically require more energy and attention up front. But if you want to succeed in all areas of your life, not just your business, you need to pace yourself and make time for those other areas in order to maintain work-life balance.  Johnson cautions, “Running your business can really take over your life.  That may be fine for some people, but I’ve never wanted that to happen to me.”
  6. Surround yourself with great people – When starting something new, including a business, it’s important to surround yourself with great people who can help you.  Maybe you’ll need to find a partner or hire an employee.  Perhaps you’d benefit from the help of a consultant or coach.  Maybe it would be beneficial to outsource certain aspects of your business to specialists.  A growing number of entrepreneurs are joining mastermind groups where other like-minded individuals, from various fields, meet together regularly to share their expertise for the benefit of all the other members. If you’re interested in starting an internet-based business, the mastermind group that I recommend (and participate in) is Lynn Terry’s Elite Forum.
  7. Make yourself your brand – When starting a business, the first thing you need to sell, before you sell your product or service, is yourself.  You are your brand. So make sure that the business you build is one that you can personally be proud of, and is one that reflects the values you believe in and want to be known for.

What do you think about these tips on how to start a small business?  Is there anything else you’d add?

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  1. I found this book in audio format at the local library. I took two weeks and listened to the advise presented in this book. Some of Cameron’s success was simple luck, BUT he would never have had this “luck” unless he was out there doing the work.

    I would add a few more tips…
    1.) Have Fun with your business- if possible, it should not seem like work.

    2.) Become THE expert- if you are selling eggs, edgers, or elephants, become the GO-TO person for your product or service.

    3.) GIVE!!!- this is a bit of a contradiction when you are trying to MAKE money, but the principle is solid. Dan Kennedy, in his book, THE NO-BS GUIDE TO WEALTH ATTRACTION, says to create a seperate account just for money to give away. Have fun with this and do not give hoping to get anything back, just do it.

    –Jeremy Bays

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