Starting your own business may be your lifelong dream. Big believers in their product or service want to form their own name in the corporate world without being held back by big business or working for someone else.
While faith in one's self and a go-getter attitude is a positive start, there's much more that goes into launching a start-up or small business. A great portion of this comes down to personality type and what you've got to offer. Even the best ideas can fall flat without the perseverance and attitude that gets you past the finish line.
How can you be sure you're cut out for this venture and ready to roll? Ask yourself these "5 Ms" for a better idea if your goals are actionable, attainable, and as amazing as you think they are.
Motivation - Are You Passionate and Determined?
A drive to succeed is more important than you may think. Belief in yourself, your company, and your success is the first building block to your future castle. A positive attitude, strength of character, and a true love for what you plan to embark upon will give you the steam to push through every obstacle you'll no doubt encounter on your journey. Entrepreneur notes, while passion alone won't seal the deal, it's essential to be truly excited about starting. You'll need to be your own cheerleader before anyone else joins in. In this case, there is an "I" in "team."
Marketability - Is Your Business Idea New or Better than What's Out There?
A novel idea or a newer or better approach to an existing concept or business is part of what will make your potential start-up stand out from the pack. Do your homework and find out if you've got something the market is lacking. See if there are existing patents for a product or prototype, and search diligently online to the point of exhaustion. There's no reason to leap into something you won't be able to bring to fruition. If you think your idea is gold, then paired with your passion, bring it to life. People don't realize what they want or need until it's presented to them. We all got along just fine before cell phones, right?
Must-Have - Do Friends and Family (even strangers) Like the Concept?
While you may think you've got the brains and business sense to make your start-up soar, a little (or a lot) of validation is imperative. You're going to need clients, customers, and consumers, so get yourself a range of potential users or buyers to confirm that your concept is on point. Ask friends, neighbors, and even people on the street what they think of your idea. Would they buy it or utilize the service? What would they do differently or expand upon? A pre-launch, self-administered market research project will let you know if your idea is interesting to more folks than just yourself. As posted on Entrepreneur, sometimes the vision doesn't align with what customers want, so make sure there's a market.
Money - What's Your Budget Like?
You're likely going to blow through money like it's water while launching your start-up, and there's no guarantee you'll make it back (plus more) quickly. Talk to a financial advisor to plan intelligently and accordingly, and be realistic. It's important to do your research as to how much everything from parts, to space, to salaries, to advertising will really cost you. Plus, you'll need to be sure you've protected yourself from dipping into your retirement or other savings so you don't bleed yourself dry. As Money puts it, a good rule to follow if to limit your investment in a start-up to no more than 30% of your savings. Insurance is smart as well, and Money recommends a general liability policy for your business to protect yourself. With this in mind, make an appointment with your banker and work out a doable plan that will help you launch with enough gas to push through the start-up phase.
Management - How Are Your Time Execution Skills?
Before you're able to hire a part- or full-time staff, you're going to have to wear a lot of hats and juggle more balls than a circus clown. Are you the type of person who can multi-task, yet still get things completed? Are you versatile and knowledgeable about many, if not all facets of your business? Wall Street Journal warns that if you're not the type of person who can manage numerous roles, entrepreneurship may not be what you're cut out for. Self-discipline and strong decision-making skills are key as well. You're the boss now so the motivation comes from within. Entrepreneur suggests looking inside yourself and be honest if you've got the skills to do it all (at least at the get-go).
This is only the start, but with affirmative responses to these "5 Ms," you will better gauge whether or not you're ready to start up your start up!
- Business Startup Checklist ›
- Business Startup Checklist | MyCompanyWorks ›
- A 30 Point Checklist for Your Startup - Small Business Trends ›
- A 30 Point Checklist for Your Startup | Small ›
- Follow These 10 Steps to Starting a Business | The U.S. Small ... ›
- Business Startup Checklist ›
- Business Startup Checklist ›
- Checklist for Starting a Business ›
Between buying a new home and transporting yourself and your belongings to it, moving can be an expensive process. One often underrecognized cost of moving occurs before one's original house has even been sold, and that's staging the house. Homeowners often spend hundreds of dollars making a home appealing to potential buyers. To ease the financial burden of moving, here are several tips for staging your home on a budget.
Downsize Instead of Storing
The goal of staging a home is to create a blank canvas that potential buyers can imagine their own lives painted upon. To accomplish this, homeowners should depersonalize the home as much as possible, removing items that are specific to their family and eliminating clutter. This is where homeowners often incur their first costs as they rush to put as many older things in storage as possible.
To cut costs, focus on downsizing rather than storing items. Look for items that you can sell, donate, or give away. For remaining items, look for alternative places to store them, such as a friend or relative's house. This will also reduce the cost of moving your belongings when it is time to go to the new house.
DIY What You Can
There are times when homeowners should bring in a professional to manage home renovations and decorating, such as when a task requires specialized skills. These types of jobs, when done incorrectly, will incur even greater costs if attempted on your own. However, many of the home improvement tasks that go into staging a home are simple enough that the homeowner can DIY them, such as painting, installing a backsplash, or refinishing the deck. Doing these tasks yourself will save you a significant amount of money.
Don't Redo, Update
Homeowners are often eager to make their houses look as appealing to buyers as possible. However, recall that the point of staging is depersonalization, making a home presentable so buyers can mentally impose their own style onto it. When staging a home on a budget, focus less on completely transforming the space and more on making what is there look presentable. For instance, if you wanted to give your bedroom a facelift, trying to replace the furniture and flooring would be pointless unless it was damaged or unkempt. Simply organizing the space and replacing the bed's comforter would be sufficient.
Another way to update the space without entirely redoing it is to rearrange it to maximize the space that is already there. For instance, pulling the furniture away from the walls will make a room appear bigger and allows more space for those touring the house. Using window trimmings that maximize natural light and incorporating wall mirrors can also make a room seem more spacious.
Raising a larger family than most means that your lifestyle is going to change. Costs will continue to multiply as your family grows larger. However, just because your family is large doesn't mean your quality of life needs to suffer. It just means you need to make a few adjustments to help things work smoother and more efficiently. We've compiled a couple of money-saving tips for larger families to help you get the most out of your dollars.
Always Buy in Bulk
The benefit of having a larger family is that things you buy in bulk rarely ever go to waste. Smaller families can benefit from buying in bulk, of course, but your large family will see the most use out of shopping in large quantities. You'll want to avoid going to smaller stores for necessities such as groceries and clothes, as these places generally have higher markups on their items.
Buy Wholesale Items Online
If you want to take buying in bulk to the next level, one of the best money-saving tips for large families is to buy online from wholesalers. Buying online comes with a number of benefits that you won't get when you go to a physical store:
- You don't have to drag your kids to the store with you
- You have a lower probability of making impulse purchases
- You can search for exactly what you need
- Wholesalers sell in very large quantities for a lower price per item
Never Throw Away Something Useful
When you have to buy things for multiple children, your costs to replace items will be much higher. That's why it's so important to keep everything you can. Clothing is a big part of this. Hand-me-downs can prevent you from needing to replace entire closets every year. Try to repair or upcycle any clothes that may have damage, as this is usually much cheaper than buying brand-new items.
Stick to a Budget
When you support a large family, expenses can sometimes get away from you. Proper budgeting helps to keep the extra purchases that add up to a minimum. Budgeting correctly can save you a lot of heartache in the long run. It's up to you how much control you want to take; you can make your budget weekly or monthly, depending on how tight a ship you need to run. What's important to remember is that making the budget is only the first step—sticking to it is where you'll really need to enact some willpower.
- How to talk about money with your significant other - PayPath ›
- 15 Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping - PayPath ›
- PayPath ›
Sometimes there is no choice—a home needs to be sold in the winter.
Spring may be the most popular time to put your house on the market, but homes do sell in the colder months. With fewer houses available, your home may be someone's only choice when house hunting in your neighborhood. As your neighbors hold out until spring, you'll already be done and ready to shop for your next house!
Here are a few tips for selling a home in the winter to get you on the right track.
Keep Paths Safe and Landscaping Fresh
Landscaping is the last thing on a homeowner's mind in the winter. Everything was cut back in the fall and may now be covered in snow. Still, take a walk around the house and yard to check everything out. Branches may have fallen from heavy snow, leaving a mess in the yard. Keep everything neat and tidy.
The last thing you need is a potential buyer slipping on the ice-covered walk in front of your house. Buyers often consider those moments bad omens, and this can affect their decisions. Shovel, snow blow, spread salt—do whatever you have to do to keep the driveway and walking paths clear, and don't forget the porch and deck.
Make the Inside Warm and Cozy
In cold weather, buyers won't spend a lot of time examining a home's exterior. Instead, impress them with the inside by creating an atmosphere which causes them to want to move in.
When there's time, leave wintery types of snacks and drinks, such as hot cocoa and cookies, available on a table during showings. This gives your home a welcoming feel to buyers.
Light the fireplace (if you have one) for a lovely ambience and set your thermostat to a comfortable setting. A warm home in the winter is much more appealing than a chilly one.
Make Your Home Less Personal
Understandably, this can be a tough thought for homeowners. After all, you've spent years creating memories in your home. To buyers, though, they need to picture it as their own. Too much personality makes that difficult.
It's always important to stage your home in a way that makes it look clean, comfortable, and move-in ready. Don't feel offended by the idea of taking family pictures down and replacing them with generic décor. This will help your home sell faster by helping buyers envision their own things there.
Cleanliness and Maintenance
Clean, clean, and clean some more. Make appliances, counters, and floors shine. No matter how old your home is, it needs to feel like new to potential buyers. If you aren't into dusting, now is the time to try. Don't forget window coverings that might need washing.
Be prepared ahead of time for home inspections by taking care of maintenance now. HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical should all be up to code and running smoothly.
Use these tips for selling a home in the winter, exercise patience during the slower months, and your home will sell before you know it.