· By Ebonie Seals
Established Small Business Owner, 24-year Military Veteran, Marketing Director of iCrush Media and a Certified Master Trainer. Mrs. Seals holds a BBA in Social Media Marketing and is pursuing a Masters Degree in Social Media Marketing from the University of Florida.
Entrepreneurship 101 is a collection of my thoughts regarding small business ownership. If you are anything like me, my first thought of becoming a business owner was a very exciting one. However, reality does a play a crucial blow when I use to think of the money that is required to fund a dream. I remember saying to myself years ago, "how can I afford to start a business, when I'm barely making it as it is?" Little did I know then, that there is always a way to make your dream of becoming a business owner a reality. Yes, it does take money. Yes, it does take discipline. And yes, you will make mistakes and take more risks than you care to share. But in the end, it can be done. My intent with this new Blog is to inspire, motivate, and provide insights that I have learned over the years.
For many people, the biggest questions that they are faced with are 1) determining the type of business to start and 2) determining how to get started with the business of choice. No matter what type of business that you decide to start, there are particulars that MUST be done FIRST to ensure you don't misstep, waste money, or cause any bigger heartache. I find that many entrepreneurs miss out in this "pre-stage" of business development. I also think that most are so very hype about the possibilities, financial revenue, and notoriety that they forget this very important stage. Being a business owner is more than having the "Founder/CEO" tag behind your name. Don't get me wrong, its nice...makes you feel good. But in the end, entrepreneurs must truly define exactly what it is that they wish to accomplish in the process. Below are a couple of key points that I would recommend to those thinking about taking the big step.
RESEARCH: Once you decide on your industry, I recommend researching historical data and study trends of that industry within the last decade. Time consuming? YES. However, this is a critical step because it will give you a baseline of what you are getting into. Also, search for companies that are successful and, more importantly study the companies that have failed in your chosen field. Lots of Lessons here!
- BUSINESS NAME: Draft up a list of 3 Business Names. Your business name is a critical part of your business. It has the power to draw clients to you and the power to push them away.
- DEEP DIVE ANALYSIS: Taking a deep dive analysis entails researching your chosen business name to ensure that what you chose is available. Most entrepreneurs verify the status of a name through their local (State) SCC websites. This is a great place to start to ensure that your business name is available within the state where you will do business. Most stop there. I recommend furthering your scope to ensure that your business name is available within the Federal system as well. Checking the TESS website of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will allow you to see if ANYONE is using that name and more importantly if they have already trademarked the name. This is extremely important and can save you heartache in the future. Additionally, since this is the age of social media, I would verify that your business name is available on all platforms that you intend to use. (ie..Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc)
- BECOME THE EXPERT: Strengthening your knowledge base will help solidify your efforts. If you can take a course in your field of interest, take the course. If you can gain certifications, it is a great way to not only build up your resume, but it helps validate your business. I told a friend just the other day, that they wouldn't see a doctor that does not have a medical degree/training. My point is, is that whenever a transaction of money is concerned, the client wants to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are able to produce the service or product that they are purchasing. In short, learn everything you can. Technology, for example changes daily. You must be knowledgeable about the items you intend to sell. Period.
I know this is a lot. But again, these are just MY recommendations before jumping in. Trust me, experience is a great teacher! Being a business owner really is the most challenging and most rewarding journey that anyone can take. I encourage you to dream your dream, and then execute it into reality. If you would like to follow me as I continue my journey, feel free to sign up below to stay in touch.
If you would like to learn more, keep a look out for my online Academy coming on line in the Spring of 2020. You can also follow my Blog to join in on topic discussions monthly. Thank you again for taking the time to see into my world. Remember, "If you can Dream it, You can do it" - Walt Disney
The Entrepreneurship Empress
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