The most important necessities in business
The most successful
business entrepreneurs are those who do what they enjoy. Period. End of sentence. Enthusiasm for your business is more important than the details of accounting, organization, etc.Why? Because you can always hire professionals to do the accounting, legal, and other work for your business and the cost won’t be that great.
What you cannot buy is enthusiasm, drive, and know-how. Only you have these attributes for your business! The more you believe in your product or service and the benefits your customers derive from it, the more likely you are to succeed and prosper in your business. Only you can come up with an idea unique to your imagination, talent, and drive.
Wait! Stop! Before you order your shingle and put a nail above your door, there is the flip side. According to the Small Business Association (SBA), more than 50 percent of all new businesses in the United States fail. The main reason for these discouraging numbers is that many entrepreneurs get an idea for a business, very often based on a hobby they enjoy, and jump right in.
The word “failed” may sound very frightening; remember, the SBA is only keeping track of whether a business remained open and viable. In many cases, it may be that when people attempted to turn their hobby into a profession,they discovered that they did not enjoy the business aspects,and closed by choice—it doesn’t necessarily mean that they became financially destitute, or even that no one wanted to buy their services.
For example, it might be that they found the hours were longer and more arduous than the job they quit to become their own boss. Perhaps they realized their work habits or personalities were not conducive to setting up shop. Be honest about your goals and reasons for going into business for yourself. It’s not for everyone.
You aren’t playing with paper and scissors any longer.You have decided to go into business and create an income—serious stuff. Before coloring your logo and rushing off to the nearest graphic designer, you will need to ask yourself if you have what it takes.
1- DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?
There are two categories in the area of business that you must address to determine whether you are entrepreneurial material: personal attributes and business acumen. Let’s address the personal side of business first.
2- Personal Attributes
Let me ask you something to start with: Do you scrapbook yourself ? Do you have a full-blown love (and hopefully passion) for creating oneof-a-kind albums, and are you knowledgeable about all the gadgets, papers, and terminology out there?
If you are without a better-than-average grasp of what scrapbooking is all about and lack access to the latest trends and merchandise, why would anyone hire you or frequent your retail or Internet outlet? Sure, you can read books about it and interview scrapbook enthusiasts, but unless you’ve created albums yourself and
know what makes a wellbalanced page and how color coordination works and what devices create what effects, your customers will notice your lack of authentic expertise. Only by using the products and spending countless hours applying your imagination to a blank page will you be able to answer questions and recommend ideas and products with confidence.You can’t learn creativity from a book.
3- Many home-based and retail scrapbook
business owners confided that it was only after years of actually creating scrapbooks and experimenting with all the merchandise out there that they are now able to truthfully tell a customer which product did the best job and offer creative techniques the manufacturer had not even thought of.
Would you let someone steam-clean your carpets who had just started a cleaning service, and who thought all he had to do was buy the equipment and put his logo on the side of a van? Or, would you choose a dedicated workman who had cleaned hundreds of carpets and knew the correct product to use for certain stains,
thus eliminating any possible damage to your costly rugs or upholstery? Now, what corner of the scrapbook enterprise do you want to occupy? Do you enjoy getting up in front of people and leading a group, or does the mere thought of that turn your hands clammy?
Are you a team player, or a spectator who prefers her alone time? Can you multitask and coordinate? Are you comfortable delegating, as you would have to with employees? How are you at bookkeeping, ordering,
or being firm with vendors or unreasonable customers?
Do you usually collapse under stressful situations or deadlines? How are your customer service skills—do most people irritate you easily? Can you work long hours at a retail site, or do you prefer sporadic spurts of energy at home, where you can do other things?
Can you plan ahead, and can you manage your time? Are you an organized person, or does your bedroom closet look like Jack Dempsey just used your wardrobe for punching practice? If you work at home,can you discipline your family and friends to respect your work hours and office space?
Do you currently keep to a household budget and track expenses? Do you save for large purchases, or do you demand instant gratification? How would you handle loneliness if you worked long hours without others around you? How about professionalism?
You will be expected to present yourself well to bank personnel, vendors, advertising and marketing agents, commercial real estate agents (if you’re going retail), maintenance personnel, landlords, and most of all, your customers.
If you can’t see yourself in anything other than Levis and sandals, you might want to rethink joining the professional field. Are you a problem-solver who loves a challenge, or does facing one problem after another find you hiding under the covers? And finally,are you a risk-taker, or do you prefer to sail your boat closer to the shore?
4- Business Acumen Now
let’s look at your business discernment.There are many traits you will need and skills you will have to acquire to run your own business. In chapter 12, under Contracts, Forms, and Checklists you will find a checklist of the qualifications we are about to discuss, so that you may check them off as you either implement them or gain the corresponding knowledge. Here is a rundown to consider:
You will have to decide what structure you want your business to run under (more about this in chapter 3). Do you want a partner? Are you planning to run a corporation, or will you be running a home-based business? You will need to register your business, deciding if it is service-oriented or if you will need a retail sales license.You will be creating a logo, business plan, tax foundation, letterhead, invoices, inventory control sheets, and
vendor base.Whether your office is home-based or not, you will need to acquire office equipment and, if you go into retail, a profusion of displays, merchandise, and tracking equipment. The ability to advertise and attract customers will be crucial. Can you evaluate the competition and offer something it does not? How are your computer skills? Will you be creating a Web site?
Do you know how to handle today’s necessary technology? Do you know how to price inventory and monitor its progress? You see? There is so much more to running a business than deciding it would be fun to be your own boss and sell pretty stickers to happy scrappers.Without the business backbone needed to start and operate a business, you could fall flat on your paste.
5- FIGURING OUT WHERE YOU FIT IN Try
this quick feedback question to establish where you think you fit in: The scrapbooking business area In the first blank, choose the facet of scrapbooking you are drawn to at the moment, i.e., consultant, home-based business, retail owner, Internet store owner, teacher, etc. In the second blank, list all the assets you feel you have that would enable you to be a success at that particular scrapbook career.
Now you have at least an idea of where you feel you want to go and what strengths and weaknesses you have for that chosen area. To help you further facilitate your decision to go into business, let’s break it down even more. Would you like to work with people? A “people business” is one where you work day in and day out with—you guessed it—people.
You must enjoy your customers, or they will sense it and possibly take their business elsewhere. If you can’t present a polished, professional, friendly manner consistently, then go into a “loner” area of this business. A typical scrapbooking career for you “people-friendly” folk would be to open a retail outlet and actually work the store yourself.Another avenuethat would be the most attractive to me is:
6- would be to become a consultant who
helps people or stores acquire their dreams in the scrapbooking circuit. A teacher who runs workshops and seminars would do well here. One whose heart is in the trade show side of things might also flourish. What if you prefer working alone with minimal contact with “homosapiens”—yes—people! You would then feel more at home designing your own products in your studio and shopping them around to manufacturers via a
Web site or mail. Someone who creates commissioned albums would do most of the work from home, as would a freelance artist for the expanding scrapbook magazine market. Under chapter 6, The Electric Entrepreneur, you’ll discover all you need to know about starting your own Internet business, which is primarily done behind the scenes.
There is no part of any business that is completely people-free, as you will be dealing with vendors, bankers, and customers on some level. But you can select the area that fits inside your comfort zone for interaction.You can decide if you want a stay-at-home business, or one run outside the home, with only minimal details handled in a home office.
7- TEN FEARS THAT BLOCK SUCCESS
There is a reason why many people feel happier working for an employer, besides the obvious relief of letting someone else deal with tax hassles, layoffs, overhead, and employee issues. The thought of opening a business where you are the boss and fingers point toward you, whether in times of loss or profit, can be a pretty scary scenario. For this reason, I have listed the ten most common fears people have voiced when deciding whether or not to go into business for themselves.
1. The overall fear of failure, where one is surrounded by a general
sense of dread and anxiety.
2. Fear of success:Will I be overwhelmed and my life no longer my
3. Fear of embarrassment if it should fail.
4. Fear of demands on time.
5. Fear of being undereducated for the job requirements.
8- Scrapbooking for Profit
6. Fear of being your own boss:“The buck stops here!”
7. Fear of competition.
8. Fear of all the details: accounting, legalities, setting up a Web site,
health insurance, retirement protection, etc.
9. Fear of depleted family time.
10. Fear of customer dissatisfaction.
If any or a few of these fears are nibbling at your mind, I have good news for you—you’re normal! There is not one of us opening a business for the first time or the fifteenth time who does not have these little cuties as bed partners every night. “What if ?” becomes our new mantra, until our friends and families are ordering Valium.
Fears are like packed earth to a worm—you just keep wiggling and working through them.You eventually get there and may have the good luck of leaving a tunnel you’ve blazed for others to “worm through” as well. One of my favorite quotes is,“Fear knocked at the door; courage answered and no one was there.”
I’d like to mention something you may not have thought about. By looking fear in the face and taking a risk, you provide an example to your children, friends, and family, who are watching you and assessing your results. A child raised around a parent or significant role model will learn that she too can go after her dreams. I was raised in a modeling agency my mother created out of our home. At the age of five,
I was on a runway, and the confidence and people skills that experience gave me are immeasurable. But it was the day in, day out of watching her overcome every obstacle and compete with the franchised modeling agencies and come out on top that put the foundation under my feet and the clouds in my hands.
“You can be anything you want to, Becky,” was served up daily with breakfast. How can you hand your child a better tool for the future (with the exception of good foundational beliefs and perspective)? The reason fear sinks so many would-be entrepreneurs is the fact that it represents the unknown—that spooky Never Never Land that waits for us somewhere “out there.
” You have it a little better than those who have been the absolute first to create a market, however. Others have gone before you