By Nell Casey, REDBOOK
Starting your own business can be a little intimidating-to say the least. Here are some tips to make sure your entrepreneurial debut is a success.
1. Get to know your market: Surf the Web to research competitors and find out what they charge for their products or services. "Talk to your ideal core audience," suggests Ellen Parlapiano, cofounder of mompreneursonline.com. "Find out if they're interested in your product and what they'd pay for it."
2. Plan for your success: "To get financing from investors or a bank, you'll need to write a business plan-or at the very least, come up with a mission statement and objectives," Parlapiano says. For guidance on writing a business plan and more check out business.gov.
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3. Play by the rules: Investigate whether or not you'll need special certification or permits for your venture. If you're dealing with cosmetics, for example, Parlapiano says, you'll need a Board of Health license; opening a Pilates studio will require training and accreditation.
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4. Spread the word: "Mothers are great networkers-they have the PTA, fellow soccer moms, and the whole waiting room at the dentist's office," says Parlapiano. Twitter and Facebook are also great marketing tools. But it's not just about pummeling people with your brand, she explains. Use these platforms to build a community with customers by keeping them informed about news related to your venture as well as asking about their needs.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.