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How many people are fortunate enough to say they do what they love? Is their work their passion? Do they work for themselves or own their own business? Scores of people in dead end-jobs spend their days at their desks fantasizing about opening a cozy little bakery café, a microbrewery, an eclectic bookstore, an exotic flower shop or designing clothes, growing organic vegetables, or selling their art. It’s intimidating, though, the thought of giving up that secure albeit suffocating day job to pursue a dream that might never take off and result in failure and penury.  As it should be. It is indeed a difficult prospect; you will be faced with seemingly endless rows of obstacles, sleepless nights, disasters and the eventuality of ego-crushing failure. However, the only way that failure will be a certainty is if you never try at all. So if you have a passion that just won’t quit, and savings to tide you over for a bit, rev up your entrepreneurial engines and muster the courage to step on the gas with these tips to starting a small business:

  1. Start a conversation – Run your idea by absolutely everybody you run into. Become that annoying person who can only talk about that one thing. Your business idea. Gather feedback. From friends, family, acquaintances, even enemies where you get a chance. To be practical in your business you need to know what people think and want.
  2. Create a network – Just talking to people will also help in getting connected to others who might have done the same before you. Some people you talk to might have a knowledgeable friend. Others might know potential financiers and potential clients.
  3. Spread the net(work) wider – Go beyond the people you meet in your everyday life. Tap into your online communities – get on linked in, facebook, college alumni groups.
  4. Get advice – Find someone who has taken the entrepreneurial path ahead of you successfully, talk to them and get them on your side. The voice of an experienced mentor will be an invaluable resource to you on a new venture.
  5. Hone your elevator speech – Be prepared with a precise, engaging, sales spiel of your idea that you can wield with the aim of a gunslinger’s pistol. You are representing your business. If your pitch is well thought-out and well delivered, it will inspire trust in your business and product.
  6. Learn to manage money – Acquire some basic finance and accounting skills to help you keep your new business and subsequently personal finances in sound order.
  7. Steel your nerves – Things will go wrong. We’re not even going to be hopeful here and say things ‘may’ go wrong, they absolutely certainly will. Obstacles in business are inevitable. If it were so simple everyone would be a successful entrepreneur. Those who are successful, however, are the ones who, as the old cliché goes ‘lift themselves up and get back on the horse’ etc. Be that person and success will be yours.