Let’s Get Down to Business: Tips for Budding Entrepreneurs

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Small businesses are critical to the vitality of thriving communities. They inject new talent and growth into the community, activate an economic base that could otherwise become stagnant and foster an entrepreneurial spirit in community members. MSU Federal Credit Union wants to help members achieve their dreams. If your dream is to own your own business, we support you.

We also know that starting your own business is no small feat. It takes ingenuity, resilience, patience, and flexibility — and that’s all just the tip of the iceberg. From an operational standpoint, it takes investment, awareness, organization and planning. If all of this appears daunting, it’s because there are many aspects that go into planning, starting and running your own business; it’s certainly not impossible!

One of the most important things you can do when starting your own business is plan ahead and prepare for all the possible outcomes. Below are a few tips that will help you organize your business idea into reality.

Create a business plan

Take time to think about all of the aspects of your business, such as where it will be located, its purpose, and its target market/customer base. Gather data regarding the industry and competition to better understand your market opportunity. Be descriptive and include long- and short-term projections on what you expect will happen once the implementation phase begins.

Consider the finances

A realistic budget should be included in your business plan, and it will be crucial to the success of your business. Be mindful of startup costs, operational expenses and the expense related to employees. The more detailed your budget is, the fewer financial surprises you will encounter along the way.

Working with a financial advisor or a business loan officer is often useful in determining what products and services your financial institution can offer to help get your business off the ground. They will also be helpful in creating a contingency plan in case things do not go as planned.

Establish a safety net

Cut expenses in your budget and create a savings account dedicated to your business. Invest the extra funds to ensure that you have money set aside in case you need it along the way. Consider a high-yield savings account or a certificate of deposit to save more over time.

Choose your business partners wisely

Make sure that if you choose a business partner, you pick someone you trust with similar goals and a similar work ethic. Without a good relationship, business decisions and potential problems will be difficult to manage. In the event that something goes awry in the partnership, it can also be expensive to buy out their ownership of the company.

Be flexible

Rapid change is a necessity, so you must figure out what works for your business and drop the things that don’t. Failure to do so puts the business at risk of losing money and/or becoming irrelevant in the market.

Ask for help

You may have many skills and abilities, but be wary of taking on everything. Make sure you can properly handle all facets of the business; if you cannot, hire those who can assist with the parts that you’re unable to do on your own. For example, if you aren’t a marketing expert, recruit the help of someone who can help you attract and retain customers through research and advertising. If you do not have a background in accounting, find someone who can handle your recordkeeping, balancing the books, payroll, taxes and other financial necessities.­­

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Deidre Davis

Deidre Davis is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at MSU Federal Credit Union. MSUFCU's headquarters are at 3777 West Road East Lansing, MI 48823. Contact Deidre ad deidre.davis@msufcu.org or (517) 664-7877.

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