For many, the American dream includes owning your own business.
As more people experience layoffs, the time may be right to go for it. Tough times can make growing a business harder, but you shouldn't assume it's impossible. Surviving the tough times will give you the springboard necessary to get your business soaring once the good times return.
Here are five smart ways to build your small business:
1. Set up and Create the Essentials
First, legally set up a business structure. This will allow you to submit some of your expenses as legitimate business expenses. Depending on the entity, it can also provide a certain measure of legal protection, too.
Next, open a separate checking account for your business. This keeps your business income and expenses from being co-mingled with your other income and expenses. It will provide the clarity when you make financial business decisions.
Lastly, if you’re setting up an office in your home, make sure you dedicate it to work activities only. It is psychologically important to divide work from your personal life. And, from a tax perspective, it is also important.
2. Build and Maintain a Professional Business Image
To make sure you’re taken seriously you’ll need to first take yourself seriously. Make sure your professional image is consistent and dependable. Do not have your children answering the business line. Do not mix casual relationships with client relationships. Carefully consider how you can socially separate your business and personal pursuits.
Additionally, prepare professional materials that explain your talents, products or service. Plan out ways to inexpensively gather publicity and other marketing. Reach out to people in your network and see how you can help them because they will frequently return the favor. Join professional organizations and dedicate time to learning your industry in depth (even if you’ve worked in the industry as an employee).