I invented Post-it Notes. Really, I did! I just didn’t follow through with actual, you know, manufacturing. Due to my lack of knowledge and zero experience in entrepreneurship, I graciously allowed someone else to make millions of dollars on my idea. Of course, he never knew it was my idea. I’ve invented several great things, but never put pen to paper. Have you done the same thing? Do you have a particular skill or talent? If anyone has ever told you that you could make money with your skill, whether it is making jewelry, cooking pies, or training dogs, then you really should consider starting your own business. One of the greatest blessings in life is to make a living doing what you love.

Develop a Business Plan

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Did you know that most universities have a department that helps people start their own business? If, for instance you see a need for a company that will install pavers in landscaping in a timely manner, you can go to the Small Business Development Center at the nearest university. They will actually do a workup that will do a needs-assessment for your region in the field you are considering. They will also find out what kind of equipment you will need, how much it would cost to buy the equipment, and produce a business plan that outlines how much you could and should charge and how quickly you could pay off your business debt. Now if that is not being served on a silver platter, I don’t know what is!

Recruit Your Customer Base

Now, all of those people who told you that you could make money doing this have to pay up. They are your beginning customer base. However, word of mouth is crucial to the new business, so pressure these people to help you out. Get them to send customers your way. See if they will hand out your business cards and put your bumper sticker on their vehicle. Put together special deals for loyal customers to send paying customers your way.

Expand Your Customer Base

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Your business, no matter how loyal your customers are, will begin to founder after a while without new customers. That’s why databases are so important. Every person who shows interest in your business should be rewarded with your attention. Ask for their email address so that you can send them sales information. I interviewed a client today who admitted that she has a whole stack of cards with people’s email addresses on them, but has never contacted them. WHAT?? I told her that those people have decided, by now, that she has no interest in their business. No one likes giving out their email address, so if they do, it means they are really interested in your product. So, build a data base.

Use Social Media

Most social media sites offer data mining. This means they will collect data on people who express interest in your business. Access that data, and you’ll benefit your business.

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