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Idea Exchange: What is the one thing you wish you knew BEFORE you started your business?

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Idea Exchange: What is the one thing you wish you knew BEFORE you started your business?

By ZanetaB
Published: March 23, 2010 Updated: February 9, 2011

In our monthly Idea Exchange, we pose questions to the community about various topics, as well as the content, features or services provided by Business.gov. In most recent Idea Exchange, we wanted existing business owners to tell us lessons they learned since starting their business so we asked 'What is the one thing you wish you knew BEFORE you started your business?'

User feedback shows us that when a person first thinks about starting a business, they tend to refer to checklists, like Business.gov's 10 Steps to Starting a Business. Besides these checklists, many budding business owners turn to those with experience for guidance. Existing business owners know all about those challenging surprises that happen through the experience of starting a business.

Last month, we asked our Community members to tell us the one thing they wish they knew before starting their business. Here is a summary of what existing business owners wish they knew in the beginning:

  • Power of Being Self Confident - Kris1911 shared how important being confident in yourself and your business from the beginning helps you to be successful.

    To help those thinking of starting a business try SBA's startup assessment tool. This tool takes about 5 minutes to complete and asks questions to assist you in evaluating your skills, characteristics and experience to help you gauge and improve your business preparedness.

  • How Easy It is to Start a Business - One member, Lostbro1 wrote, 'I was scared to let go of my other income sources and take full responsibility ... now after doing it I realized how easy it was to take that step and I have done it again and again with other startups.'

    Taking that first step can be the hardest. Luckily for those who are trying to start, there is a lot of guidance offered through counseling and training programs to help you.

  • How to Write a Great Business Plan - Starting a business without a plan business plan, or without a well-planned one, can do a lot of harm.

    A sentiment echoed in a recent Industry Word article, 5 Dangerous Business Planning Myths. BEllis shared how online help for writing a business plan are 'invaluable.'

  • Importance of Marketing - CharlesS shared how the old famous Field of Dreams line 'Build it and they will come ...' really does not apply to business. He learned that he needed to stay true to the unique qualities that he brought to his business. CharlesS says 'Once I clarified what I was (and what I was not) I became a whole lot more successful.'

    Using successful marketing techniques really depends on you and your type of business. Check out these resources for tips: Small Business Marketing Basics and 7 Marketing Tactics That Work in a Recession.

  • How to Hire Great PeopleHardwood commented by saying “We had to let people go in the past. It is not easy telling someone they are fired but they are hurting your bottom-line and that is not good.”

    In a SBA video on Hiring and Developing Employees, business owners talk about the importance of hiring great employees and getting rid of those that do not work out sooner. Check out these articles in the community for tips on dealing with employees.

Thanks to all who shared tips on lessons learned when starting your business. Participating in the Idea Exchange and sharing your story is a big part of what this Community is about!

What's the Next for the Idea Exchange?

The current idea exchange 'What training classes did you take to help you prepare for your business?' will run until October 6. Please submit your thoughts and vote on the ideas you agree with by clicking Kudos!

Message Edited by ZanetaB on 09-23-2009 01:10 PM

About the Author:


wow, so surprised for me. when i start, i don't know what should need and how do it. a unclear plan, when reading your guide, i find that i had made many mistakes esecially the custom need and want, so the revenue from business always in the low rate. i'm so sad

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