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The decision to start a business is exciting, but don’t get caught up in the fairytale. If you want your business to succeed for the long-term, have these three essential elements in place.
1. Enough capital for six months. The time it takes to turn a profit will vary between industries and individual businesses, but the rule of thumb remains the same: have enough cash in the bank to survive for six months or more before you launch. Developing a realistic personal and business budget can help you survive the first few months, and sticking to this budget will be crucial to success.
Develop a list of potential expenses early on so that you have a good idea of what monthly bills plus extraneous expenditures will add up to and how this spending will affect your bottom line. Know that you may not receive a paycheck for months or even years after launch, so a hefty cash reserve will ameliorate the growing pains of starting a business.
2. Marketing and sales strategies for early-adopters. Coming up with an outstanding product or service is great, but your business will likely fail without those crucial first few customers. Develop a marketing plan with an allotted marketing budget that will get your product or service in front of key early-adopting clients. From the start, prepare ways to engage with and nurture clients to develop a loyal base.
Next, build your sales infrastructure: think about sales contracts, proposals, product listings or anything that a client will see when he or she wants to purchase from your company.
3. Endurance. I tell people this all the time: one of the hardest parts about being an entrepreneur is having the stamina to keep up with the daily demands of running your business. A lot of people mistakenly think that it will be a walk in the park.
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