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4 Factors for Successfully Starting Up a Small Business

will you swim in an ocean or pond for BIGG Success“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
~ Author unknown

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This quote is often attributed to the man whose name is synonymous with genius – Albert Einstein.

But our research couldn’t uncover a credible source that gave him credit. However, we did learn about a fish that climbs!

BIGG success is life on your own terms. One of the terms of BIGG success is alignment.

You’ll want to align four factors to successfully start up a small business.

Passion

We hear a lot of talk these days about passion. Find your passion. Do what you love. Love what you do.

Passion is wonderful. But it isn’t enough. All the passion in the world won’t make you a BIGG success.

Sure, it helps. But passion isn’t enough.

Talent

In the nature versus nurture debate, we lean mostly toward nurture. However, you should recognize that you probably have certain natural gifts.

You have two choices: (1) You can discover and develop these innate abilities or (2) you can start from scratch.

As you might guess, you will be more likely to be a BIGG success if you work on your natural talents.

But talent alone won’t get you genius status.

Place

You have to find the best environment to showcase your talents. In business, this means you need to find a market.

Even artists and musicians can’t afford to ignore the market. But the internet has made it possible to be a star within a genre (or niche as we say in the business world).

Oceans are for the large guys. However, you may want to swim in a river that flows into an ocean.

You can make a lot of money supplying the large fish in the ocean. Just be sure you don’t get swallowed up!

A better strategy may be to find a pond where you can be one of the biggest fish. Look for a problem which you can solve better than any other fish.

When your passions and talents align with a place, you’re a long way toward being a BIGG success. But you’re not quite there yet.

Timing

Timing is everything. You’ve probably heard that statement too many times to remember.

We disagree. Timing is only part of the equation. But it is an important component.

If you get to the right place too early, you will have to invest more money to educate your prospective customers. If you’re late, your competitors will have already staked out the best treasures.

If that’s the case, you may have to be a fish that climbs a tree. It’s the only way to get to another pond.

No one may have done it before. Some people may think you’re stupid. But that’s often the case.

Once you prove yourself right by building a successful small business, those same people will call you a genius. And that’s BIGG success!

Have you ever had to find another pond?

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00814-061412.mp3

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How to Evaluate Your Small Business Startup Ideas

Evaluate your startup ideas for BIGG SuccessWe’ve talked before about the importance of watching and listening to find your business idea.

You should have a number of ideas after watching and listening. But ideas aren’t what you’re really after.

Your ideas must be fleshed out to find your small business startup idea.

You don’t need an idea. You need a great idea for you.

The difference between an idea and a great idea is huge. Ideas aren’t worth much. They’re “a dime a dozen.”

The first step in evaluating an idea is to determine if it’s a great idea for you. Does it match your passions and preferences? Does it fit your priorities? Is it consistent with your principles? Does it capitalize on your proficiencies?

A great idea is found at the point where these personal factors intersect.

You don’t need a great idea. You need a great opportunity.

A great small business startup idea isn’t enough. You can’t ignore market realities. You need to determine if this is a great opportunity.

So you need to find a place with potential customers. And you must be able to easily reach them. You don’t want too few if you want to build a company of any significance. You don’t want too many because it’s likely to invite competition.

If there is too much competition already there, you will likely struggle to gain a foothold. If there is no competition, it is likely a bad sign as well. Many may have already tried and failed.

A great opportunity is found where your personal factors fit in a place with the right amount of customers and competitors.

You need more than an opportunity. You need a great concept.

Once you’ve determined there is an opportunity, you need to develop a great concept.

What problems will you solve for your customers? What makes your solution unique? How does it capitalize on your competitor’s weak spots? How will you get the word out?

An important part of the process

One of the ways you can be more successful with this process is to constantly look for synthesis.

You will have component parts every step of the way. You get an idea. Then another related idea pops up.

It may happen almost simultaneously. Or it may occur hours, days, or even weeks apart.

If you consider them carefully, you will see these separate ideas form a cohesive whole. Your mind has synthesized them.

General ideas will now have a particular application. The ideas themselves are likely to be simple. The combination creates something complex. You will have to find a way to explain it simply but you may be onto something. Something that takes you to BIGG success!

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5 Ways to Start Your Own Business with Less Risk

make lemonade out of the risk lemons of starting a business | BIGG SuccessSo you want to start a business?

But you’re not really a risk taker. What can you do?

You might be surprised to know you’re not alone. The most successful entrepreneurs are excellent risk managers.

So today we’ll talk about 5 ways to start your own business with less risk.

Hear George & Mary-Lynn share the 5 ways to start your own business on The BIGG Success Show Podcast. Click a player to listen.

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Start your business part-time

Rather than quitting your job and starting a business, why not start part-time?

Even if it’s not your ideal business, start building a customer base while you still have your regular income.

Your business won’t be burdened with your full salary. You’ll be able to reinvest more so you may be able to grow faster upfront.

Before you know it, you’ll be able to quit your job and devote your full effort to your business.

Get a part-time job

Instead of relying only on your new business to pay all your bills, get a part-time job.

It adds stability to your stream of income. Maybe you can work for your existing employer part-time. Maybe you can get another part-time job to supplement the income from your business.

___

Mary-Lynn FosterWe still do this. I host a daily talk show on a locally-owned radio station. It makes for a busy schedule, but I love radio!

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George KruegerIn addition to BIGG Success, I also teach entrepreneurship at our local university. I still thoroughly enjoy the interaction with my students.

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These part-time gigs relieve some of the pressure of owning a small business.

Tag team your startup

If you’re married, can you live on just your spouse’s salary? Or will your spouse’s income cover most of your bills so you can reinvest more profit in your business to make it grow faster.

After you get your business stabilized, maybe your spouse will get the entrepreneurial itch. Your income can help them get started in the same way they helped you.

Find a working partner

You don’t have to quit your job at all to own your own business. Partner up with someone who has the skills and the time for a startup business.

You invest capital. You may also work part-time in the business. As the business prospers, you may eventually leave your job and work in the business. Or you may repeat the process and build a portfolio of small businesses.

Sell your sizzle for a stake

You don’t have to be the entrepreneur to have a stake in a small business. Find an entrepreneur who needs your skills. Negotiate for a percentage of the business in addition to a salary.

There you go – 5 ways to start your own business with less risk.

But remember, you’ll never get to BIGG success if you don’t get started!

If you aren’t sure how to start your own business, shoot us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leave a voice message at 888.455.BIGG (2444). Maybe we can help.

Thanks so much for reading our post today. We sure would love to see you here again tomorrow!

Until then, here’s to your BIGG success!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00718-071411.mp3

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3 Reasons We Have More Entrepreneurs and Why They are Not Hiring

entrepreneurThe good news is the rate of startups hit a 15-year high in 2010.

The bad news is they’re not hiring.

This data comes from this year’s Kauffmann Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. They call this phenomenon “jobless entrepreneurship.”
We don’t think this is a huge surprise. A lot of people are starting businesses because they can’t find work.

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They don’t want the responsibility that comes with hiring others. When you hire people, you feel responsible for putting bread on their table as well as your own.

Carl Shramm, the CEO of the Kauffmann Foundation says in the press release about the report, “This trend, if it continues, could have both short- and long-term impacts on economic growth and job creation.”

The bad news is… it WILL continue. The good news is… it WILL continue.

At least that’s what we think. We believe this to be the case for three reasons:

Kondratiev Winter
We’re in the Winter phase of the long cycle called the Kondratiev wave. Winter is the season for entrepreneuring. The transformation to the next generation economy begins during the Winter. The seeds are sown for the creation of wealth in new ways.

A Revolutionary shift
We’re reverse entrepreneuring the Industrial Revolution.  A great deal of wealth was created during the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent Information Revolution.

It culminated with the financially-driven boom-turned-to-bust of the real estate market. Now we’re seeing the dawn of the Social Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution took us from home to factory, from entrepreneur to employee. The Social Revolution is bringing many people back home for employment and turning many employees back into entrepreneurs.

Free agency fits people’s lives
Free agency is a natural progression. We talked about the rise of free agents a few years ago and we certainly weren’t the first to see it.

BIGG success is life on your own terms. Generally speaking, you have more control of your life as an entrepreneur than as an employee. You can blend your personal life with your professional life more easily. You can feel a greater sense of fulfillment. It’s a better fit for your life.

The crash of the financial markets and the weak job markets has deepened this desire to feel in control. The social web makes it easier and more affordable to start your own business.

So welcome back … welcome back to the world of cottage industries. Welcome back to the world of home-based businesses. Hello solopreneurs!

Do you have a group that needs help understanding entrepreneurs? Or a group of entrepreneurs who are trying to understand the new economy? Maybe we can help. We give presentations on these subjects all the time. Send us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leave a voice message at 888.455.2444.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00685-033111.mp3

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Is Getting a Job Riskier Than Starting a Business?

Play at your own riskWe were recently walking through the retail business area of our campus – our campus “downtown” you might call it. In the middle of the main block, two storefronts in a row were boarded up.

It’s a reminder that small businesses fail. The dreams of two or more entrepreneurs were unrealized. Lives were disrupted. Money may have been lost.

The most cited number is misinterpreted

Like us, you’ve probably heard it over and over again. It usually goes something like this:

“Starting a business is risky. Ninety percent of all entrepreneurial ventures fail within the first year.”

Some people say two years or five years. It doesn’t matter; the number is daunting.

We think the origin of this number stems from The State of Small Business: A Report to the President for the year 1994. We got it via Entrepreneurial Finance by Janet Kilholm Smith and Richard Smith.

The 90% number so often quoted is a misinterpretation of the data. The research actually showed that nearly 91 businesses ceased operations for every 100 startups, on average for the five years from 1990 to 1994.

To understand the misunderstanding, let’s say 100 new jobs were created in the past year while 91 people got laid off. Would we say we had a 91% job loss rate? Or would we say the net gain is 9 jobs?

When it comes to jobs, net gains are reported. When the subject is startups, the failure rate is cited. Why the difference?

The actual failure rate of startups

Scott Shane takes a different approach in his excellent book, The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By. His data shows that, if 100 entrepreneurial ventures were started today, the expected number of failures each year would be:

failure rate chart

While his numbers look a whole lot better, the odds are still stacked against startup entrepreneurs. But statistics are funny things.

The failure rate for employees

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released the results of a long-term study on labor market mobility. You can go to their news release if you want the details. In general, they showed that if 100 people started a new job today, only 67 would still hold that same job in a year. In five years, only 32 will hold the same position in five years.

So the survival rate for jobs is lower than the survival rate for startups!

We can hear the chorus of objections.

Some of these employees may have been promoted.

Others may have elected to take another job – maybe even a better one.

Of course, some were involuntarily let go.

Even then, many of them may have been eligible for unemployment.

In any case, they didn’t have money at risk like entrepreneurs do.

The number rarely discussed

Well said! However, it also highlights what we often ignore when we cite statistics about the failure rate of startups:

Some of the startup entrepreneurs may have ceased operations for a better opportunity – as an employee or an entrepreneur.

And then there’s the statistic we haven’t talked about yet. In fact, almost no one ever talks about it. Its source is the same as the 90% statistic mentioned earlier.

Only 9% of startups cease operations with unpaid obligations, on average.

Few entrepreneurs actually walk away owing money. They may have lost what they invested. However, no one else did. Suddenly, entrepreneuring doesn’t sound quite as risky as we are led to believe by popular lore

Freedom or security is the age old argument. It turns out there are risks in both employment and entrepreneuring. Successful entrepreneurs are masters at risk mitigation.

You can reduce the risk of leaving your job with a little advance preparation. Test yourself against these 10 signs you’re ready to quit your job and start a business. And check out The Entrepreneur Equation by the amazing Carol Roth.

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