8 tips to help you start a business in 2016

Happy new year!

canstockphoto23850163 If you are thinking about starting a new chapter in 2016 as a business owner, here are some tips from the many business owners I have had the privilege to know and interview over the years.

1. Plan ahead
Take the time to write a plan for your business. It is worth the effort to work through your business “on paper” first. Use that plan to manage your business and adapt it as you move forward.

2. Get help
There are so many resources available to help you start or grow a business. Take advantage of the organizations and individuals who can help you prepare that business plan, raise capital and walk you through the paperwork and other requirements necessary to start a business.

3. Have enough working capital
You likely will have more unanticipated start-up expenses than you planned for and it likely will take you awhile to see positive cash flow. Be prepared with enough cash to cover you in the meantime.

4. Family support is key
Being self-employed can bring great rewards and challenges. If you are leaving the security of a “day job” behind to venture out on your own or setting up your business in your home, be sure your family understands what changes to expect and that they are supportive.

5. Network
Building relationships in and beyond your community is critical to your success. Plus, it’s important to build a support system of like-minded people who understand what self-employment is all about. A lot of new and repeat business will come your way just through getting out there and building relationships.

6. Build a team
No one can be successful in business alone. Build a winning team that includes professional experts (legal, accounting, insurance, among others) and other people who have skills that you don’t. There is only so much time in the day. Focus your time on the areas of your business that you do well.

7. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back
Ask any business owner if they’ve ever made a mistake or failed at something and it’s likely their answer will be, “Yes, and when that happens you pick yourself up and you carry on.” That is what I’ve heard time and time again from business owners.

8. Plan time off
You need to take a break every now and then to rest and regroup. Business owners have the tendency to work 24/7. Sit down with your calendar as the new year begins and block out some vacation time. If you wait “until you have time,” you never will. Plan now to take a well-deserved break later.

This will be my last column in this capacity as I begin a new chapter as president and chief executive officer of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. I thank you and the Bangor Daily News for this opportunity to share what I hope has been some helpful information and insight.

Change is good and I hope any changes you make this year bring you much satisfaction and success. Stay in touch and I look forward to seeing you out and about in 2016. Let’s make it a great year!

Deb Neuman

About Deb Neuman

Deb thinks Maine is a great place to do business and loves telling the stories of Mainers proving that it can be done! An entrepreneur at heart, she enjoys helping others with the same drive to create and innovate!