Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Starting your own small business can be intimidating. Who will buy your product or service? What prices should you set? When do you hire employees? How do you handle your taxes? How do you promote your business?
There are often more pressing questions than immediate answers, and small business consultant Barry Moltz knows this. Moltz has started three businesses, selling his last one in 1999, and he now coaches entrepreneurs and businesses on how to get started—and how to get unstuck when they face problems. He has written four books on a range of small business topics, including starting and growing your business, overcoming failure, perfecting customer service, and establishing your brand.
Moltz has plenty of tips to go around—what follows are a few bits of advice he often gives to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.
1. First ask yourself: What pain or problem does my product solve, and who am I going to target that needs to solve this pain or problem?
“Those are the first two questions, and it’s always good to see who that first paying customer going to be—that’s not your relative—someone that’s really buying because of the product or service,” Moltz said.
2. Find out what truly goes into running a business.
“A lot of people just want to provide the service and craft. They don’t realize they have to deal with all kinds of other things, like employees and taxes and cash flow,” Moltz said.
There’s a lot that goes into a successful business, and at the very least, you need to understand what those things are, from accounting to hiring to management.
3. Find a mentor.
To help you understand what is needed to run a business and to help you through any bumps in the road, Moltz suggests finding a mentor in your field or a similar one. You could meet someone at business networking events, through a local chamber of commerce, or through a website such as Score.org, where retirees connect with new entrepreneurs.
4. Solicit the support of your family.
“This really is a team sport,” Moltz said. “You need the support of your family so when things go well, you have someone to celebrate with, and when things don’t, you have someone to kind of pick you up.”
5. Let go of your mistakes.
Computer game developer Rovio Entertainment made dozens of games before it released the wildly popular Angry Birds. Moltz uses this as an example to not give up.
“You’ve got to try to figure out what went wrong, if you can learn anything from it, and then let it go and stop beating yourself up,” he said.
6. Know the difference between being a business owner and a solopreneur—and decide which one you are.
A solopreneur is an entrepreneur who operates solo, meaning that you are the entire business. Think about crafters on Etsy who make a living selling wares they create versus the owner of a local restaurant.
“You’ve really got to decide, have you just created a business or just created a job for yourself?” Moltz said. “A business is something that runs and makes you money without you being there present.”
Knowing which you are will help you adjust your expectations and better understand your business model.
7. Keep an eye on ways to grow your business, sales, and profits.
Once your business gets on the ground, you should always have a plan for the next step, even if it’s just a vague idea saved in a document on your desktop somewhere. Any growth —whether it’s in sales volume or physical space—is going to need extra time or money. Consider creative ways to get either, such as from crowd funding or by finding investors.
8. Productivity is king.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re first starting off. You may have customer demands, an inbox full of e-mails, vendors to coordinate, and employees to manage.
“We really live in a distraction-based culture,” Moltz said. “To improve productivity, think about the one or two things you have to get done in order to be successful. Do those things before you get involved in your email and your customers.”
What has been your greatest challenge as a small business owner? Leave your comments below.
Michelle Stoffel Huffman is a researcher and staff writer for Think Glink Inc. Prior to joining Think Glink, Michelle worked for the Chicago Tribune as a daily news reporter and community manager, covering local government, business, tax issues and crime. She now specializes in real estate industry news, consumer financial reporting and home design and decor. She is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.