Last summer, I launched my market research business for entrepreneurs. It was a huge risk and since then the economic climate has only turned up the heat. But despite the challenges, I'd argue that this is a prime time to start a new business—provided you manage your money, time, and resources wisely. Here's what has worked for me:
MANAGING TIGHT CASH FLOW
Money tends to be tight in the launch phase, but in today's economy, securing funding is more difficult than ever. Thankfully, my business doesn't require loads of inventory, expensive equipment, or retail space, but getting started hasn't been cheap, and I still need to pay my monthly living expenses. I have eased my financial burden by enabling clients to pay me in a variety of ways: check, Visa or MasterCard, or bartering. I have also significantly decreased how often I eat out, shop, socialize, and travel. Establishing myself in the marketplace will take time, but I know my lifestyle cutbacks will pay off handsomely in the long run. The greater the sacrifice, the sweeter the reward, right?
2) BUILDING SUPPORT GROUPS
The single most valuable thing I did in the past year is foster a solid support system. I joined several entrepreneurial networks and business organizations to swap ideas, obtain references, and build my network. My plate is piled high 24/7, and I frequently turn to my support network for both practical and emotional support. Weave a web of your own, because you'll soon find that you can't possibly do everything yourself.
3) KEEPING PERSPECTIVE
Crummy economy or not, I will never give up on my business. My purpose is to provide a service to my customers so that they can fulfill their dreams. Keeping this in mind is the key to success. Obstacles arise almost daily when starting a business, but keeping one's sights set on offering value to the customer will enable budding entrepreneurs to flourish—and serve as a reminder of why surmounting those challenges is worthwhile.