Getting ready for your ‘second act’

Many Americans dream of starting their own small business. A lot of these dreams are simply that, but anything from an unexpected layoff to finally gathering the necessary business training can lead people to finally transform their ideas from wishes into reality.

If you decide to make owning a small business your next career, it’s important to make the right preparations so that your “second act” is successful. Coming up with a good idea for a small business and dedicating the time and effort to making it work are two completely different things.

Many business owners will tell you that running a business is more work than you might imagine, with most business owners working more than your standard 40-hour work week. However, with the large workload also comes freedom that you are unlikely to find in any other job – the ability to be your own boss.

Once you’re ready to take on the responsibility of owning a business, the best thing you can do is develop a business plan. This critical document will give you an idea of whether your concept is viable in the market you are considering. It will also give you something to show banks and other investors when you are exploring ways to finance your business.

If your business plan passes muster, the next thing you’ll need to worry about is taking care of necessary legal and tax obligations. If you need help, check with the U.S. Small Business Administration as to what type of documentation and registration is necessary for starting a business.

And of course, simply opening up a storefront is not going to get customers in the door. Even small businesses need to market themselves in order to be successful. But when pretty much every function of a small business falls under the jurisdiction of the business owner, especially in the early stages, it can be difficult to devote the appropriate attention to marketing your business.

Certain marketing services, such as those offered by Deluxe, are aimed directly at helping small businesses distinguish themselves within the market place. Whether it’s providing unique touches on traditional materials such as business cards or offering affordable logo design, small-business marketing services can help you spread your message while you focus on the day-to-day operations of your business.

There’s no tried-and-true recipe for a successful small business, as the business world is full of variables. But by doing your homework, you can help ensure that your next career as a small business owner is just as – hopefully, more – rewarding than the career you are leaving.