General & Signage Advice When Starting A Business
Despite all the current discussions about immigration, one fact that is undeniably one of the main drivers of immigration patterns is opportunities. The US still continues to be the land of opportunities and, therefore, competition to settle (or stay) in this country keeps getting tougher every year. How many success stories have you heard about immigrants in the US that became wealthy after years of hard work even though they could barely speak the language upon arrival?
Several of these individuals most likely chose the path of entrepreneurship to succeed. This is quite understandable as entrepreneurship doesn’t present boundaries (at least initially) as far as education, race or social status. Anybody with strong will and motivation can become an entrepreneur (no matter how small the venture is).
Obviously, strong will and motivation are two major assets you will need as an entrepreneur, however, they are not the single factors that will determine your success in business. After years of observation and dealing with start ups, I can safely say that knowing to manage your business well is probably the most important factor to stay in business. I have lost count of businesses we have helped with our signs that had an amazing new business idea but fell short of their aspirations due to simply bad management.
So to help the business community and new aspiring entrepreneur out there, here are a few lines of advice for you:
- Create a business plan prior to starting up – yes, it is that important. This business plan, if done seriously, will tell if your business idea is viable or not and will probably save you a lot of time, money and hardship in the future.
- In your business plan, pay especial attention to your financials. Understand your margins, your break even point, net profit, cash flow, etc. If these terms sound unfamiliar to you, please do yourself a favor and look up these terms on the internet to educate yourself.
- Also in your business plan, understand your competitive landscape and plan your marketing strategy accordingly. Understanding your competitor’s business model can be sometimes more important than understanding your own business.
- Upon starting your business, make sure you understand the basics of accounting. Be paranoid about your financial numbers – you should know how your cash flow looks almost on a daily basis. Don’t assign a 3rd party accountant to pay for your bills or collect/deposit your money. It’s always good to do that yourself for better understanding of your finances. If you don’t know how much you’re bringing home, you don’t know much about your business.
- Be customer focused. If you’re nice to them and offer a good service, they will come back. They will refer you to others. They will help you grow your business. It’s very difficult to get new customers and keep them. It’s very easy to alienate them.
- When investing in new assets (new employees, equipment, advertising, etc), make sure you understand how long you are going to take to recover your investment and how much your return on investment (ROI) is. Remember that an asset that is not generating revenue is a losing asset. Don’t invest in those assets!
- When starting a retail shop, make sure you have your storefront sign before you open up your store. You’d want to generate awareness and perhaps some business even before your business is open. Often times we’ve helped businesses that did not have a storefront sign on their opening day either because it took longer than thought to get it approved by the City or because the owner just thought that his sign was already available on the shelf to be put up (it takes in average 3-4 weeks to produce an average size sign!). Remember that if you don’t have a sign and you are not generating foot traffic for your retail store, it won’t take too long for your business to fold – bills for start ups start mounting really quickly.
I could go on and on with more advice but really don’t want to get you discouraged. Being an entrepreneur (and a successful one) is a very rewarding experience. We live in the land of opportunities and you should make full use of them! So if you like to get started with your storefront sign, please contact us at 817-628-1002 for a free consultation. We’ll be glad to help the next successful entrepreneur!