Are you a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full sort of person? If you picked the latter choice – glass-half-full – then put yourself down as being disposed toward “optimism,” which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.”
The confidence to see opportunity despite difficulty, the ability to stay focused on your goal no matter the roadblocks, those are special skills that require a special breed of person we call entrepreneur. Yes, building a successful business involves real difficulty, hard work and serious challenges, especially in this tough economy. However, I want to share why right now is the perfect time to start a business and invest in you – and offer some specific steps to make it happen. If you have ever dreamed of opening a business, this column is for you!
WHY RIGHT NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO START A BUSINESS
Why would anyone want to start a business during the longest economic recession since the Great Depression? The answer to that question is right in front of you. In fact, you have seen it every time you looked in the mirror: If now is the perfect time for you, then now is the perfect time to start your business, whether that business is a consulting firm, a cupcake shop, a web-based travel agency or whatever you have been envisioning.
The economy is cyclical – there are peaks and there are valleys – New York just happens to have been in a valley for quite a while. Yet the economy always comes roaring back, not because of who is in public office, or which political party operates the levers of power, but because of the hard work, skill and ingenuity of the private sector, which drives American innovation.
BUSINESS SUCCESS IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST TIMING AND LUCK
So much of business success is attributed to timing and luck. Writing as someone who has taken the leap and started two successful manufacturing companies with next to nothing, I know those elements – timing and luck – are part of the success equation. However, as the legendary golfer Ben Hogan once said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Working hard, proper planning, believing in yourself, knowing your product and understanding the marketplace are just as important, if not more so, than timing and luck.
HARNESSING THE “POWER OF NOW” – BEST FIELDS TO LAUNCH A BUSINESS
The most successful sailors don’t fight the wind; they harness it. The same holds true for successful entrepreneurs: they harness the wind, or what I like to call the “power of now” by assessing their strengths and determining how they can sell a product, provide a service or meet a need in their local community (or, thanks to the power of the web, around the globe).
As written about on Inc.com – “The Best Industries for Starting a Business Right Now” – the following are a few of the 18 U.S. industries that are growing, or projected to grow, even with the current economy. If your particular idea for a business is missing from this list, don’t despair! Instead, think about ways to tailor your idea to the 18 growing fields that include:
- Beer, Wine and Liquor Wholesale: Industry profits have grown 18 percent and sales have grown 5 percent over the past year;
- Software as Service: Industry forecast to expand by nearly 20 percent and is expected to produce $8 billion in sales by the end of this year, and $16 billion by the end of 2013;
- Home Health Care: Industry employment is expected to increase 4.5 percent annually through 2016, the third-highest rate of growth recorded by any industry;
- Repair Services: The repair service industry has seen continued growth, up 2.4 percent at auto repair shops and 4.6 percent for electricians and plumbers in the last year; and
- Niche Consulting: The niche business consulting workforce is expected to increase by 5.9 percent through 2016.
GETTING OFF THE GROUND: ACTION STEPS FOR BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS
Once you have a better idea of growing and emerging industries to tailor your business to, here are some specific action steps to turn your idea for a business into a reality:
- Write a business plan – list everything from start-up costs to price points, if you plan on getting a bank loan, you will need a business plan;
- Research the market and determine the need – can you provide it better, cheaper, faster than the competition? You need to know that answer;
- Find investors who will be partners – every business needs capital, make sure yours has enough;
- Ask questions – talk with someone you know who runs a business to get their feedback;
- Surf and read – go on-line and read about business start-ups – websites like the National Federation of Independent Business (www.nfib.com), Canandaigua Camber of Commerce (www.canandaiguachamber.com) or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (www.uschamber.com) are terrific resources. Likewise, sites like Inc.com and Fortune.com have tons of helpful tips and resources for getting your business started;
- Put state government to work for you – visit the NYS Small Business Development Center at www.nyssbdc.org for free counseling and business development assistance; and
- Be patient and optimistic – aside from a fortunate few, most businesses are not overnight successes. Success takes time, patience and, most of all, OPTIMISM!
Remember, many of the biggest and most successful Fortune 500 companies – respected brands like Apple, Amazon and Harley Davidson – were big ideas that started in a small garage or outdoor shed. With hard work, proper planning and an unshakable sense of optimism, they became the business “success stories” we read, write and talk about today. Is now the perfect time to start your business? There is no better time than the time that’s right for you!
NEXT WEEK: My “Must-Do” List for the remaining weeks of session!
As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic, or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at email@example.com.