Starting Small – How to Start Your Own Business

Small business refers to any business that meets these criteria and is registered with the county in which you live. Small business is defined as being any business that meets these criteria and is owned by an individual or group of individuals. The definition of “small” does not encompass businesses conducted for profit; however, there are certain types of small businesses that are indeed profit-making businesses. Therefore, it’s important to understand what types of small business are out there and what they mean when they state that they are “small.”

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Starting Small – How to Start Your Own Business

Small business refers to any business that meets these criteria and is registered with the county in which you live. Small business is defined as being any business that meets these criteria and is owned by an individual or group of individuals. The definition of “small” does not encompass businesses conducted for profit; however, there are certain types of small businesses that are indeed profit-making businesses. Therefore, it’s important to understand what types of small business are out there and what they mean when they state that they are “small.”

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The most common types of small businesses are: shops, boutiques, restaurants, privately owned residential rental companies, online services such as parenting websites, small repair shops, craft stores, and bars or taverns. Although many people think of these business categories as just locally owned or operated, there are also other examples that are nationally known. For example, eBay is one of the largest online auction sites in the world, and while many don’t think of eBay when they discuss online shopping, many are familiar with the website and have purchased items on eBay. Other national small businesses include: auto transport services, air freight services, trucking firms, charter ships, cruise lines, the U.S. postal Service, and the IRS.

When identifying small businesses, the goal isn’t so much to determine their market but rather, to figure out their overall size, customer base, sales volume, and marketing mix. As with any other business, small businesses should be evaluated on the basis of their competition, geographic reach, customer service, investment and growth rate, and sustainability. Here are a few tips for evaluating small businesses:

First, when it comes to evaluating small business owners, you must be cognizant of what has become a very real and widespread threat known as cyber crime. Cyber crime can include the theft of intellectual property such as software, databases, web site content, credit card information, and user names and passwords. The cyber-criminals may even use these stolen customer names and passwords to open new accounts in your name and use them to make purchases themselves. In fact, recent studies have shown that cyber criminals use more than 90 percent of all Internet purchases made for online auctions. Unfortunately, most business owners do not have enough knowledge to identify cyber crimes – the victims of cyber crimes may never realize that their data has been compromised and may not report the crime, let alone pursue legal proceedings against the perpetrators.

Another threat to small businesses is social media. Many business owners underestimate the amount of consumer information that can be obtained from social media sites. For example, by using Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, business owners can obtain a great deal of customer information including, but not limited to, names, email addresses, birth dates, sex, age, and more. While the Federal Trade Commission is studying the privacy practices of social media sites, businesses need to take advantage of this information by “opt-in” to obtain this information before their customers begin using these services. This will help protect your business, your clients, and your customers.

As many small businesses are aware, employee theft is a serious risk to any business. However, it is especially an issue for businesses that have a high concentration of employees (e.g. call centers). With the increasing amounts of employee theft cases, businesses are becoming increasingly leery of their employees’ potential involvement in the theft of company property. In addition, because many small businesses only employ a small staff, there is a greater risk that one employee (or more) can steal company property and run up charges against the business.

In addition to an employee’s potential involvement in theft, another common scenario for small businesses is that of contractors. Because contractors typically work on a per job basis, start-up costs for start-up businesses are much higher. Unfortunately, this means that once the business starts generating revenue, the expenses associated with maintaining employees can quickly add up. Business owners may think that they have plenty of time to manage this aspect of their operations but what they often don’t realize is that it is crucial to keep an eye on their contractors. While most small businesses can hire a contractor (at a minimal cost), if the contractor continues to create problems, then the business could be liable for those expenses.

One other risk that many small businesses face relates to the possibility of having customers leave the business as soon as they start. The number of customers that a business receives during the course of a year can quickly add up. However, when customers stop coming in, a business owner may not have enough money to cover the expenses associated with attracting new customers. Before you begin your operation, you should take a look at your expenses closely and make a list of things that can be cut to save your company money. You should also evaluate your cash flow forecasts to see if you need to find extra revenue to support your expenses. With these areas in check, you should be in better shape to start your small business.

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