How to Become a Business Owner

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To become a business owner, find a product or service that is compatible your skill set, and then develop a business model that will bring in enough money to meet your needs. Give plenty of thought to what kind of business you want to start and how you will get it off the ground. Laying careful plans can set you up for success and save you some of the stress and expense of making costly mistakes.

How to Determine What Type of Business to Open

The products or services you provide can either start with something you enjoy, something you do well or something you believe will be profitable. There may be businesses that are especially well-suited for your time and place, such as opening a snack shop in a beach town where many new hotels are being built. There may also be businesses uniquely unsuitable for your time and place, such as a coffee shop in an area that gets no foot traffic and has no available parking.

Building a Business Model

Your business model is the way your company earns money. Whether you sell pottery or mow lawns, your business will have both income and expenses. To earn a profit, your revenue must exceed your expenses, at least in the long-term. Before you get started, carefully research the costs your business will incur. This extra effort will allow you to set up a sound foundation and will allow you to launch with a clear idea of the sales volume your business will have to generate for you to earn a living. Set prices for your offerings that more than cover your expenses and the personal income you need because no matter how carefully you think through your costs, you will most likely spend more than you think.

Starting Your Business

To get started, your business will need licenses and permits. Choose a business structure, such as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company. Your choice of business structure will depend on whether you're starting your business alone or with partners, and whether you have assets that may be at risk due to your business activities. Calculate your startup costs and make sure you have enough money to cover them. Startup capital can come from personal savings, personal loans, investments from people who believe in your idea or bank loans if you can offer collateral.

Do You Have to Go to College to Become a Business Owner?

There are no set requirements for becoming a business owner other than having the resources and savvy to successfully run a business. You don't need to go to college, but you should have a solid understanding of the field you choose. You should also have some basic bookkeeping knowledge, although this certainly doesn't have to be on a college level. There are online bookkeeping classes, and many university extensions offer short, stand-alone classes geared specifically for startup small business owners. Even if you don't plan to do your own bookkeeping, you should still be able to understand the numbers your bookkeeper prepares for you.

References

About the Author

Devra Gartenstein founded her first food business in 1987. In 2013 she transformed her most recent venture, a farmers market concession and catering company, into a worker-owned cooperative. She does one-on-one mentoring and consulting focused on entrepreneurship and practical business skills.