If the entrepreneurial bug has bitten and you’re itching to start your own business, you have options.
There are many direct sales and multi-level marketing companies that you can join. Some offer more flexibility and freedoms to their consultants than others. You could also start your very own business from scratch. If you have a new product idea that you want to patent and take to market, this might be an option for you. If you want to sell existing products, you could drop ship from your own website or open an eBay store. If you’re crafty, you could launch an Etsy shop.
Or, if none of those options appeal to you, you could seek out and purchase an existing, established business. There are of course pros and cons to each avenue. Established companies are more than likely going to come with a higher price tag. However, the costs will likely include equipment and a customer base. When starting from the beginning, you get to make all of the decisions and create your business exactly how you'd like. The power is entirely in your hands. This can be stressful, and depending on the business model, still expensive.
To figure out which avenue might be right for you, there are several things you need to consider.
What type of business do you want?
If you have envisioned a strong, personalized brand or are dead-set on the product line you want to offer, it might be best to start your own business. If you are open to different product ideas and branding strategies, then an established business might be the way to go. Availability may be an issue once you determine what type of business it is that you want. If your goal is to own a coffee shop downtown and there aren’t any established shops for sale, you will be forced to open your own.
Not sure what you want to do?
If you are having trouble determining what type of business you want to own, it may help to look at your past. What type of experience do you have? What industry have you worked in previously? Do you have knowledge about specific product lines or target audiences? This may lead you directly to your answer. If you’ve worked for a large bookstore and have seen repeated problems that you could rectify if you owned the place, it might make sense that you purchase or open a bookstore. Any professional connections that you’ve already established can be beneficial to you when going out on your own.
What type of experience do you have?
Experience is crucial. Do you have entrepreneurial experience? If you’ve started a business before, this may persuade you whether to purchase or start from scratch. If your efforts were fruitful and enjoyable, you might want to do it again. If you found it challenging and unrewarding, then you may be hesitant to create another business. If you do not have any previous experience owning or operating a business, purchasing one might be smart. Typically, the seller will help in the transition period, offering advice and sometimes hands-on assistance. For the inexperienced entrepreneur, this just may be invaluable.
How much do you want to invest?
Of course, it always comes back around to money. What type of investment power do you have? As I previously mentioned, established businesses can have a purchase price. However, that price tag usually comes with many perks. Some of them might be an established customer base, equipment, business processes in place, strong employees, and immediate income. However, if the equipment or location is in need of upgrading or the business has a poor reputation, the extras may be seen more like baggage than benefits.
Starting your own business can be more affordable. You can decide how much you spend and where. Often, a business can be created for a few hundred dollars. However, if you cut corners it may be seen in your profit margin. Depending on the type of business you create, unexpected costs may appear months or more down the road and drive up what you thought was a low-cost investment.
Either route you choose, marketing is going to be a crucial part of your newfound entrepreneurship. Whether you purchase an established business that needs its reputation maintained or you start your own, you need to keep it in front of the customers’ eyes. Do not overlook the ongoing marketing cost when deciding which business to purchase or launch. Whichever avenue you choose, be sure to do your research in advance and then buckle up for a fun and often unpredictable ride!
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Dawn Berryman is the founder of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and has worked in the marketing/communications field for more than 11 years. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband and three children. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.