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How To Survive Your First Year in Business

What's the best way to create a profitable business?
A business you really love that makes the kind of money
you really want?

Planning, planning, and more planning.

Before jumping head-long into a new business, you must
lay the foundation for long-term success. A good foundation
is rooted in a solid plan.

Many new businesses skip what is perhaps the most
important part of a solid business plan... assessing
individual strengths and weaknesses.

But does a self-assured, go-getter such as yourself really
need to do a self-analysis?

Research has shown that many businesses collapse in
their first year because of inadequate planning. A thorough
self-assessment is the first step in planning a business
which lasts well beyond the first year.

What happens if you skip this first step?

Picture yourself standing on a grassy knoll looking out
upon a desert 'a sea of sand. You must cross this desert
to reach the cool, refreshing waters on the other side.

You begin your journey in the brisk, night air. The warm
sand feels good between your toes. But then, you feel
a nip at your feet. It is a creepy creature of the night
which has mistaken your curly little toe for a frisky,
hopping snack.

A thought... should have planned for boots.

It then occurs to you that your little toe will become
quite curly tomorrow when the sand heats up from the
blazing sun.

Not a pretty picture, is it? Ya gotta plan. Bare feet at
first... great for comfort. Boots for later on... that's
thinking ahead.

The questions below will help you to prepare yourself...
for business.

A. Why Do You Want To Start Your Own Business?

Understanding your motivation helps you to see past the
romantic notions of being self-employed. The questions
below have no correct answer. They are different for
everyone. Just look at your answers critically and evaluate
how important they are in choosing to start a business.

1. Do you want better work hours? If so, what hours do
you want to work?

2. Do you want to be your own boss? If so, why do you
want to be your own boss? e.g. creative freedom, current
boss is a Neanderthal, better use of your skills...

3. Do you want to improve your financial condition? If so,
by how much? How much income do you want every week?
Every month? Every year?

4. Does your current job leave you unfulfilled? Why? Can
your desire to be self-employed fill this need? In what ways?

5. Do you have a business idea in mind? If so, why did you
choose this business?

B. Are You Prepared For The Physical and Emotional Demands?

A new business can be very demanding. A business owner
must wear several hats, be able to switch hats in the blink
of an eye, and wear them till the job is done. This can be
stressful to your physical and emotional health. The
following questions will help you gauge your stamina.

1. Are you prepared to put in long hours to succeed? It's
not uncommon for the entrepreneur to work 12 or more
hours per day, including weekends.

2. Do you have the support of your family? Without that
support you are far less likely to succeed. Understand
that they must also shoulder additional hardships and

3. Are you pursuing a business venture which fills you with
excitement? If not, the highs and lows of doing business
can effect your well-being. A strong passion for your work
is a powerful shield against burn-out, physical illness,
or emotional distress.

C. What Skills Are You Bringing To Your Business?

Every business requires the application of certain skills
to be successful. Without these key skills you run the
risk of failure. The important thing is to recognize the
areas of your business requiring additional support.
These questions will help you identify the skills you
possess and those you need to acquire.

1. Do you have previous experience in a business similar
to the one you're starting? If not, you should research your
chosen industry. It's necessary to understand your market,
your customers, and your competitors.

2. Are you good at planning and organizing? You must stay
on top of things such as your schedule, your promotions,
your accounting and financial records, your inventory, etc.
Educate yourself, or consider hiring outside help if you
feel weak in this area.

3. Are you a good decision-maker? Do you work well
under pressure? Can you take projects through to their
completion? These are essential skills for the small
business owner. If you've never worked in a supervisory
capacity, you may want to take some specialized training
to develop these skills.

Follow through on your answers to all of the above
questions. Take action to strengthen your weaknesses.
Doing so prepares you to move forward into market
analysis and the start-up planning phases of your business.

All this preparation will increase your likelihood of
surviving the first year in business. It's like buying a
great pair of boots for your business.

About the Author
Brett Krkosska provides 'how-to' advice on family and
home-based work issues. Stop by his site for startup
guidance, home business ideas and inspiration at: For a Fresh and Original
perspective on today's home business issues get
Brett's ezine at:

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