Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tips for Entrepreneurs


I remember when our direct marketing consulting business was solely a dream. A dream that was fueled by conversations between Nancy and I during long flights traveling across this country to and from our clients. We'd complain about our jobs in corporate America, bitch about all the traveling and dream about working for a company that really performed for our clients. One that delivered on its promises, every time. One that had a positive energy and embraced new ideas and new technology.

Hence RRW was born. We took the leap, took absolutely no clients, quit our jobs and lived on savings for a few months. That was four years ago. Exciting and scary times, for sure.

So, every time I find advice to wanna-be entrepreneurs, it resonates with me. This NY Times article hit home: Advice on Taking an Entrepreneurial Leap.

The article focuses on three areas:
  1. How to take the leap into the small business world
  2. How to market your product and, for retail ventures
  3. How to find the best location.
The first area might be the most important. The article (and I couldn't agree more) talks about how important it is to really think through and research your business idea. Do some soul-searching to understand what type of business will be most fulfilling for you. Understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Take the time to write a complete business plan (exhausting, yet so worth it). Research what your competitors are doing. Decide how you're going to legally form your business (corporation, LLC, Partnership) and how you're going to finance it (the article recommends NOT relying on credit cards).

If you've done your research right, it's at this point that the dream becomes a reality. You see it on paper. You have a budget. You start to understand that being self-employed is something that you CAN make happen.

The article goes on to discuss how to market a new business. It gives good advice on building online exposure and using PR techniques to get the word out about what you're up to. The author suggests creating a blog to build credibility (again, we couldn't agree more!).

The article concludes with tips on how to choose the right location (for retailers).

All in all, good stuff! And, just reading it brings me back to those heady early days when RRW was but a dream. I sure never want to go back to Corporate America, and would love to hear more tips from entrepreneurs as to what made your business a success.

2 comments:

Ted Grigg said...

Interesting blog about how you and Nancy started your business together.

I launched my consultancy in 1987 as a direct marketing consultant specializing in the insurance and managed care (HMOs, PPOs) industries. As time went on, I expanded it to include multiple industries.

Over the years, I have moved back and forth between my own business and working full time for clients.

If you can find a partner who compliments your skills plus someone you can trust completely, then you have a rare thing indeed. I would love to find such a partner who understands the value of winning new business while maintaining existing accounts. But that was not meant to be.

Working for the other guy offers important benefits. But so does working as an independent. I am comfortable on either side if the employer is a good one.

By the way, do you have another blog besides this one, or am I dreaming?

Suzanne Obermire said...

Wow Ted, you've been doing this since 1987--good for you! I like how you've moved between client-side and consultancy, too. Keeps life interesting, eh?

Yes, Nancy and I are lucky. We complement each other and have different strengths. Yet, we both take the same client-focused approach, so it's been a great partnership.

In regards to blogs--well we've gotten a little blog-happy lately. You can find more of us at: http://analyzeyourcustomers.wordpress.com and http://askdirectmarketers.wordpress.com

We'd love to hear your thoughts on these :)