How to become your own boss in 12 months
Amal Daraghmeh Masri, editor Editor in Chief of Middle East Business, recently met with business author, Melinda F. Emerson, the self-proclaimed ‘Small BizLady’. Ms. Emerson is a true believer in entrepreneurship and how this can change people’s lives, particularly at a time when unemployment is increasing in some areas of the region. She now shares with us – and you – the introduction of her best-selling book, “Become your own boss in 12 months”, and advises readers that becoming your own boss is a big step that needs careful planning. Ms. Emerson says that it’s not as easy as it sounds unless you plan well; if you do so, it should be a piece of cake. Catch more from Ms. Emerson on our YouTube and online channels.
‘Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months’ – What This Book Can Do for You
This book covers everything about starting and running a successful small business. When I wrote the first edition in 2008, the nature of business was quite different. Social media was not the powerhouse it is today. Mobile web marketing didn’t really exist. Local competition wasn’t global. But regardless of how the technology has changed the way businesses operate and engage with customers, one thing is the same:
the world is still waiting on a better mousetrap. If you build something unique and special that solves a business problem, the world will beat a path to your door. Now is still a great time to start a small business.
Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months starts with life planning and clarifying your personal financial picture. Then it shifts to helping you identify your target customer and develop a marketing plan. We focus on financing your dream business, including leveraging crowdfunding to do it. The marketing section of this book has been completely updated to focus on establishing your brand, building your website and establishing a blog, developing a content strategy, and leveraging social media. Part Three of the book focuses on launching your business, bringing on staff, and handling customer complaints. The final chapters help you measure how well your business is doing.
Before you write a business plan, you must develop a life plan. Why, you ask? Because you need to start a business that aligns with your personal and professional goals. Otherwise you could start a business that might not work for you. This book will help you develop a timeline for your transition from corporate America to small business ownership. Use this book as a blueprint to get your personal house in order so that you can quit your job in a way that minimizes any financial hardship for yourself and your family.
If you are not exactly where you need to be with your finances, this book will also help you financially reposition yourself.
You must consider if you have the courage, persistence, confidence, skills, work ethic, and focus needed to succeed as your own boss.
Also, you need to know if you can handle all the jobs entrepreneurs must do. You’ll be chief salesperson, secretary, payroll clerk, social media strategist, IT technician, and HR manager. Once you make a sale, you must service the customers.
Most people dream about owning and running a business and being successful beyond their wildest dreams. However, turning that dream into reality is an evolutionary process. It means not only having a solid business idea but also knowing the “business of running a business”. You will need to get your head around issues such as accounting principles, legal issues, operation requirements, banking relationships and processes, and the needed human resources, branding, and financial management skills. You must focus on numbers and measurement. If you don’t spend every day thinking about your business making money, then you’ll probably have an expensive hobby. Too many small businesses operate at a net loss and do not realise this until it’s too late. There are many money-draining traps that can ensnare small business owners.
Use this book to reduce your learning curve about running your small business.
There are five questions every would-be entrepreneur should answer before going into business:
How much does it cost to make your product or deliver your professional service? There is a simple way to calculate your entire costs associated with your product or service. Look at your hard costs, including labour, materials, packaging, and shipping. Factor in a percentage of your soft costs too, such as marketing and your business support services.
How much do you sell it for? Look at the competition, and pull industry data to determine whether your cost plus a healthy profit margin is reasonable in the marketplace.
Can your business be easily copied? What is your secret sauce that only you bring to your business? If your business can be easily duplicated by bigger competitors, that is a sign that you might need to rethink it and come up with a unique twist.
Does your marketing make sense? Does the name of your business tell you (and everyone else) anything about what you do? Do you have a specific target customer for your product? Do you have a helpful website and a good shopping cart experience? Is your packaging attractive? Do you have a monthly marketing budget?
Can you sell yourself? In business, you are selling yourself as much as you are selling your product or service. You must carry the confidence to make people believe in you. First impressions are everything in business.
Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months will help you answer these questions and get your new business on the right track. If you use this book, you will no longer be fearful about quitting your job, because you will have a plan—a well-thought-out plan to launch your dream business.