Many people feel that having a job at a good company is one of the most secure forms of income and that working for yourself is one of the least secure. I’ve always felt the exact opposite. Having a job is like having only one customer. All of your eggs are in one basket and if you mess up or if your employer falls on hard times, all of your income goes away in one fell swoop.
On the other hand, if you own a small business, you could easily have 200 or 2000 customers. If you make a mistake with one customer or some of your customers stop using your product or service, you may lose a little income but you won’t lose it all. This is why I believe that, if you do it right, owning a small business is way more secure than having a job. Plus it can come with other perks like greater freedom, higher income and more time off.
At first, starting a business is likely to have less of all of these things – freedom, income and time off. However, as you business grows, the perks become greater and greater. So, how do you start and grow a business if you have never done it before?
Most small business owners do it by trial and error. Perhaps they learned some skills by working in another person’s business but often they are self-taught. The do-it-yourself attitude is a common and beneficial attribute of most entrepreneurs but it can cause you to re-invent the wheel, re-inventing all the mistakes as well.
Here are 3 tips for succeeding the first time around.
- Get on the job training. One of the best ways to learn how to start and run a successful business is to grow into a management position at another small business. The smaller the business, the more likely that management position will require you to learn about and oversee all aspects of the business. If the business is too small, though, it may not have the resources to expose you to aspects typical to most small businesses, such as hiring a bookkeeper.
- Find a mentor (or 2). A great mentor can advise you in every aspect of starting and growing your business.
- Take a course. There are many courses available that teach various skills involved in starting a new business including courses in finance, human resources, sales, marketing, etc. There are also classes specifically on entrepreneurship and starting a business.
One of the best courses that I’ve come across is sponsored by Women’s Economic Ventures which offers several programs for starting and running a successful business, including their flagship course, Self Employment Training (SET). This 14 week course requires you to write a business plan and in the process, teaches you all the basics of starting and running a small business.
WEV offers courses in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern Counties and offers scholarships for the courses as well as business loans to qualified graduates.
I recommend the course so much that I have started teaching it! If you or anyone you know is interested in getting the education and support to start your own business, give visit WEV’s website or give them a call at (805) 965-6073.