There's no doubt that America and other industrialized countries are small-business-friendly right now. In a year where elections around the world will play a key role in how economies continue to recover, there is at least one subject that most people agree on and that's small businesses. Politicians believe that small business is the key to economic growth and countries like the United States are passing legislation to make it easier for small businesses to thrive.
Robert Litan, economist from the Kauffman Foundation, the largest foundation in the world dedicated to the growth of small businesses, estimates that in order to add one percentage point to the United States' gross domestic product, or GDP, it would take 30 to 60 "home run" $1 billion companies.

Your Idea
Is your business idea a home run idea? Being a successful small business owner doesn't require your company to be a $1 billion company, but entrepreneurs like to think big. National Federation of Independent Business Education Foundation (NFIB) estimates that only 40% of all small businesses are profitable and another 30% merely break even. These statistics prove that even with all of the incentives, it's difficult to turn your business in to one of those home run companies. Experts agree that you can improve your odds of success with careful preparation. Here's how.

Identify the Need
What is the mission of your business? What is the need in the marketplace that you're filling and is it something that will appeal to a large portion of the population? Have you ever received a survey from a company asking you what you think of a product and if you would be likely to purchase the product and for how much? This is the first step in market analysis. Don't just conduct an Internet survey. Go to a mall or other place where there are a lot of people and ask them to evaluate your idea.

Differentiation
How is your business different than others in the marketplace? If you have competitors, what will make somebody come to your business instead of your competitor? Successful businesses have a USP or unique selling point that is used as the cornerstone of the business. The more you blend in the more you directly compete with others. Avoiding the head to head competition, especially for a brand new business, is well advised.

Market Analysis
Specifically, how big is your market? Does it include both males and females and people of all races and religions? How fast is the market growing or contracting? If you design a product or service that only appeals to a small niche market, it will be difficult to gain enough market share to sustain a profitable business. It will also take a significant amount of advertising funds to find the people that comprise the niche market.

Market Share
Based on your market analysis, how much of a market share do your competitors currently hold? What is left over for you or what is your strategy for taking share from them? Your business may have broad market appeal, but if the market is already saturated, the battle to gain customers may be too expensive. Startups trying to manufacture new automobiles have found it exceedingly difficult to take market share from existing car companies. Evaluate whether that's a battle worth fighting and if you have the funds to fight it.

Costs
How much will it take to open your business? If you have family obligations, you'll probably have to pay yourself, adding additional costs to your budget. How will you get the money? Recently, Washington passed the JOBS Act, a law that made crowdfunding legal. This may provide a way for small businesses to gain funding without the use of banks or venture capital, but even with all of the recent legislation, businesses are finding it difficult to secure funding.

The Bottom Line
As an entrepreneur, your dream is likely centered around being one of those $1 billion or more businesses, but remember that many businesses fail and that's largely due to poor planning. Before investing a large amount of money in your business idea, create a plan and make sure that your idea is something that customers would be excited about purchasing. There are plenty of great opportunities waiting for a small business owner who follows a business startup system.

Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Roth IRAs Tutorial

    This comprehensive guide goes through what a Roth IRA is and how to set one up, contribute to it and withdraw from it.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    Multilevel Marketing Isn't Always A Scam, But It Often Is

    Nerium and Amway are popular direct sales companies that recruit new buyers and sellers to make a profit. Sadly, many direct sales firms are scams.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    10 Characteristics Of Successful Entrepreneurs

    Do you have the qualities of a successful entrepreneur? Those who do tend to share these 10 traits.
  4. Investing

    5 Up and Coming Social Media Startups

    Although the days of Facebook's dominance aren't close to being over, here are some new creative platforms gaining traction on the worldwide web.
  5. Entrepreneurship

    Are You Really an Entrepeneur? A Reality Check

    If you are going to be an entrepreneur, and you’re doing it on a shoestring, you’ll need more than a good idea. Here are some skills to master.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    Digital Nomads in the Modern Economy

    Digital nomads compose a growing portion of the modern economy.
  7. Career Education & Resources

    Laws & Regulations To Know Before Changing the Name of Your Business

    Discover some of the most important steps you need to take after making a decision to change your legally established business name.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    What is a Franchise?

    In a franchise, the franchisee acquires access to the proprietary knowledge, processes and trademarks of an established business – the franchisor.
  9. Term

    What Is Seed Capital?

    Seed capital is the money used to start a business.
  10. Your Clients

    Solo 401(k) vs. SEP: Which is Best for Biz Owners?

    Owners of small businesses have several choices when it comes to saving for retirement. When does it make sense to choose a Solo versus SEP plan?
RELATED FAQS
  1. Do working capital funds expire?

    While working capital funds do not expire, the working capital figure does change over time. This is because it is calculated ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How does escheatment impact a company?

    In recent years, state governments have become increasingly aggressive in enforcing escheatment laws. As a result, many businesses ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How much working capital does a small business need?

    The amount of working capital a small business needs to run smoothly depends largely on the type of business, its operating ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What does low working capital say about a company's financial prospects?

    When a company has low working capital, it can mean one of two things. In most cases, low working capital means the business ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can I buy insurance to reduce unlimited liability in a partnership?

    Partnership insurance is actually quite common. Most of the time, partners buy insurance to safeguard against the possibility ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  2. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
Trading Center