Whether you're relaxing on the beach, poolside or in the mountains this summer, odds are your mind will wander more than once that old familiar place. You'll fantasize about how much better your life would be if only you could get your act together and start your own business.
You've got no shortage of business ideas and you may have even written a preliminary business plan, but getting all your entrepreneurial ducks in a row has eluded you so far.
Summer's a great time to start a business. Here are five things you can do this summer to be ready by January.
Narrow your focus. Maybe you've got a few fuzzy business ideas floating around. This is the time to narrow your focus and decide exactly what you want your business to do. Don't let your plan be too broad. The best path for new businesses is to focus on a niche and be good at it. You can always broaden your offerings later.
Identify funding sources. You're going to need some money to get your business off the ground. Take some time during your summer vacation to figure out where you're going to get it and how much you're going to need. Honestly assess your business funding sources to make sure you're realistic about how easy it will be to get the money.
Assess your limitations. We all have business ideas we'd love to execute, but a reality check of our personal or financial situations suggests it might be impossible. Perhaps you won't be able to afford the childcare required to work outside your house or maybe you're not a morning person and, therefore, shouldn't be opening a coffee shop. Figure out if your business idea truly meshes with your existing life and if you really can make it work.
Develop a marketing plan. Don't start a business until you know exactly how you're going to start marketing it. The plan can change over time, but if you don't have a pretty good idea of how you're going to let people know you're in business, you're probably going to fail before you even get a chance to try.
Don't quit your day job. If you're lucky enough to have a full time job while planning to launch your business, don't quit! Hating your job is not a good reason to start a business, so figure out a way to start your business on the side and run it while you're still working – even if it means hiring employees. That will take the pressure off and give you some time to run your business at a loss. You can quit later, after you know you've got a success on your hands.