Small business is again in transition. Many employees, now working from home, are no longer tied to a geographic office and the woes of commuting. This is a relatively new phenomenon with hints of explosive sector growth in the days ahead. As this turbulent economy has forced downsizing, offshore restructuring and closures in large companies, many new entrepreneurs have been born. These are people, who instead of tirelessly attempting to find new employment and possibly enduring the same fate as previously experienced, are now starting small businesses and enjoying the benefits and perils of self-employment.
There’s an old storytelling of an Admiral’s decision to fight a battle against overwhelming odds. It seems that he was approaching the coast of an enemy land, with a larger naval force closing in from behind and a great army approaching from the land ahead. He prayed and then addressed his men. He announced that their weary battle forces would land on the beach ahead, dig in and prepare for the upcoming battle. There was no turning back and no other alternative. He ordered their ships burned after they landed. Their only choice was to fight to win or perish. They defeated their enemy because he eliminated any other escape route. They were fixed on the goal of survival and none other.
That is the same attitude we as entrepreneurs must take. We cannot afford to be denied. We must grow and prosper, or our business will surely perish. We must constantly be looking for ways to cost-effectively market our business and increase sales. We must control costs and have sufficient cash flow for daily operations. Each of us must be persistent, relentless and vigilant. As CEO, we are the manufacturer, the sales team, the marketing department, legal office, accounting office, human resources manager, IT manager, the webmaster and so on. We can’t afford to be all these positions. Our job is to sell! We must locate cost-effective resources to help us grow and protect the investment in our business.
The growth of the internet has changed our marketplace as well. Years ago, a small business owner decided upon a geographic chunk of the market and set up shop. Today, that shop is typically located in an office at the entrepreneur’s home. The marketplace is now the world. The costs of marketing products and communicating worldwide are so low that almost anyone can take part in this revolution. Sophisticated voice mail, cell phones, email and effective e-commerce websites now provide the illusion of size and grandeur for even the smallest home-based business. In the end, the customer typically has no idea whether their supplier is local or across the world. He may be dressed in a shirt and tie or in his pyjamas! All that typically matters is that the exchange of product and service is successfully made for a profit.
It is critically important for the small, home-based entrepreneur to be aware of the resources available to her as she makes this great leap. Too many people leap prematurely into business only to fail because of poor planning and insufficient financial resources. Do not get caught in this trap. Don’t quit your day job until you have enough cash on hand to pay the bills for at least a year into your new venture. Become aware of and develop the resources available to you. You want everything possible going for you as you make this leap of faith into the entrepreneurial world.
There are also numerous magazines devoted to small businesses, home-based businesses, marketing, sales and accounting. Get tuned in to these and other resources available to you. Read your industry publications to stay abreast of competition and for other information regarding your business interests.
There is more opportunity available today than ever before for the wise entrepreneur. Get all your ducks in a row before you make the fateful leap into the new world marketplace. Be smart, learn all you can as quickly as possible and take action on your ideas.