The entrepreneurial spirit thrives in many of us. The idea of owning one’s own business holds a lot of allure for anyone who has ever worked for another company and dreamed about being the boss of their own business. There are many ways to achieve this end. However, the one thing required across the spectrum of options is it takes hard work to achieve success. No surprise there. And to support your hard work you’re going to need a team of professionals you can call on for tax advice, banking, legal services, maybe even IT support depending on your business.
So what are some of your options when it comes to running your own business and being the boss? Ambition alone isn’t enough. You need a big idea or at least you need to recognize a need in the marketplace for the product or service you’re going to offer. Let’s take a look some of the possibilities to consider on the way to running your own business:
You invented a product or service that meets public demand.
As Steve Jobs proved at Apple, meeting public demand doesn’t necessarily mean that the public even knows there is demand.Think of the iPod. Prior to its invention, anyone who wanted to listen to music was perfectly content with mix tapes or portable CD players. The introduction of the iPod changed all that by making it possible to carry thousands of songs around with you in a convenient little gizmo that took up less space than a wallet.
But using Apple or Microsoft, or any one of the other garage-birthed big ideas that have become ubiquitous in our culture, can be intimidating.
Let’s say you have an idea that is much simpler in form yet has avalue proposition that is highly relevant to the intended target market. In marketing speak, the term “pain point” is often used to describe a void or problem that exists for customers which, if solved, could provide a great benefit for them once the “pain” is alleviated.
For example, if you live in a community that’s enjoying a growth spurt, there are probably all kinds of business opportunities to take advantage of if you’ve done your homework and know the lay of the land. On the flip side, opening a tattoo parlor in a small town with a retiree population is probably not a good idea given the demographics and the style conventions.
However, take the same community and open a business installing automatic chair lifts and you could be on your way to a successful future if you work hard and take good care of your customers. Only detailed research can help you make the right decision.
Purchase an existing business from the owner.
If your desire is to run your own business but you don’t have a product or idea to start with from scratch, buying a business might be a good idea if you can find the right fit. First, it must be something you’re interested in pursuing 24/7/365. Next, if you’re not experienced looking at financials and evaluating past performance of a business, you’ll need the services of an accountant and a business valuations expert who can give you an objective analysis of how the business is doing, how much it’s worth, what underlying problems there are (if any), any outstanding liabilities, and some evidence that there’s a platform for success to continue once you take over.
Writing on Entrepreneur.com, Fundera CEO Jared Hecht notes, “Buying a business is a major undertaking that will impact your life and livelihood for many years. So before you even start investigating options, start by knowing exactly what kind of business you’re looking for.” Here are a few factors to consider:
Location: Are you willing to move or want to stay put? The location of your business will affect labor costs, taxes, and other financials that can change your bottom line.
Size: Do you want to take over a small family business, or a full-sized enterprise? How much stress can you stand?
Industry: Are you going to love what you’re going to be doing? Taking over a business that you’re not excited about or have some experience in can quickly become drudgery. Consider your hobbies and what interests you.
Lifestyle: You’ll have to work hard. How much of your days and weekends are you willing to give up? Until you get your feet on the ground and can take an actual vacation, you might have to give up some of the activities that you thought you’d be able to enjoy more once you were your own boss.
You might also want to consider keeping the prior owner active in the business for a while so you can get up to speed. This temporary arrangement is often part of the purchase agreement that’s struck between the business buyer and seller.
If buying a business seems daunting, consider purchasing a franchise.
When you purchase a franchise you are buying the right to operate a business under an established brand. Basically, you are buying into the success the franchisor has created and using their business model, systems and operations as the foundation for your business.
When it comes to franchises, there are lots to choose from and the upfront costs vary widely based mainly on brand recognition; i.e. a McDonald’s franchise will cost many timesmore than a typical home-based business franchise. Even so, if food service isn’t your cup of tea, focus instead on something where your interests and talents are more applicable.
In addition to the business model, there are other built-in advantages to buying a franchise that might not be available when buying a business straight up; such as access to inventory, advertising materials, training, operations support, HR processes, hiring practices and more. For example, as a RenuKrete franchisee, you have access to the following:
• Totally unique product,• Third-party financing,• Sales and marketing support, • Four-seasons’ viability,• Training, • Operations support, • Proprietary processes and technology, • Equipment financing,• Access to technology improvements and innovations,• Direct access to the founder.
Acknowledge the downsides of buying a franchise, too.
While you’re enjoying the hard work of being your own boss (hopefully), as a franchise owner you’re still expected to follow specific rules and meet certain requirements in order to keep the franchise. Keep in mind, the franchisor has a lot invested in its brand and has a right to protect it. Even though you might feel like you’re finally on your own, there are corporate standards and practices – as well as corporate culture – you may have to conform to.
Depending on how well your franchise is performing and the success of your marketing campaign, there are royalties you’ll have to pay to the franchise annually. This is no big deal if you’re doing well, but a very big deal if you are not. Some franchises may also require a yearly fee to remain active.
While RenuKrete is committed to its franchisees and dedicated to providing all of the guidance and help they need to succeed, not all franchisors are so accommodating. This is another reason to make sure you do your research and get feedback from other franchisees to see how well the corporate office provides support. Because if they’re not as happy to hear from you as they were during your courtship, you might find out that the independence you so cherished feels more like abandonment.