Starting Your Own Business: Part 1
More people are forming more different types of businesses today than at any other time in American business history. Last year, more than 820,000 new businesses were incorporated and more than 1,500,000 sole proprietorships were formed. More than a million partnerships were set up as well. Tom Peters, the business author, says that the primary driving forces of innovation in America today is in the small and medium sized business.
In a time of rapid economic expansion, in all directions, it is easier and more possible for you to start your own business and to be successful than it ever has been before. The good news is that, every single different type of person, from every single background, with every single limitation has started and built a successful business. And so can you.
The most important single quality in starting and building your own successful business is courage. Like the Starship Enterprise, you have to have the courage to go where no one has ever gone before. No matter how many other people have started and built businesses, when you embark on your first business, you will feel like you are the first person who has ever done it. And, in your terms, you are.
I have a good friend named Ivan who came over from the Soviet Union about five years ago. He did not speak a word of English and he had everything that he owned in a cardboard box tied up with string. For his first year in America, he lived in the district in New York called “Little Russia” delivering pizzas out of a Russian pizza parlor to Russians in the neighborhood who spoke his language.
But he was determined to get a piece of the American dream. For his first year, he studied English as well as American business and success ideas. After one year of delivering pizza, his English was good enough so that he got a job selling printing from business to business. In this third year, he started his own business as a printing broker and sold one million dollars of printing, earning a 20% commission for himself. The next year, he sold two million dollars worth of printing and earned $400,000 dollars. Last year, he sold three million dollars worth of printing and earning more than $600,000 dollars for himself. He recently celebrated his fifth anniversary in America.
A Vietnamese couple arrived in the United States a few years ago, penniless. The only person they knew was a cousin who had a small bakery in Houston. He took them in and gave them minimum wage jobs working in the bakery. But he was getting older and he told them that if they could come up with $30,000, he would sell them the bakery. That became their goal.
They lived in the back of the bakery, sleeping on flour sacks and putting their two children in the local schools. They got up at 3 o’clock in the morning and worked 14 and 15 hour days. They earned $8,000 per year after taxes and they saved $6,000 per year for five years until they had the $30,000 to buy the bakery.
Today, they own a chain of bakeries, they live in a beautiful home, their children are in excellent universities and they are financially independent.
74% of all self-made millionaires in America today got there by starting and building their own successful businesses. And here’s an important point. Not one of these people had ever been in or owned a business before they started and built their own businesses. You do not need to have experience in entrepreneurship. You simply need to learn everything necessary and then apply it to your work as you go along. What hundreds of thousands and millions of other people have done, you can do as well.
Perhaps the best motto for small business success is the Michael Jordan advertisement for Nike running shoes, “Just Do It!”
Confucius said, “A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step.”
What does it take to start your own business in America? Absolutely nothing. You can start your own sole proprietorship, and name it after yourself, and you don’t even have to register it. You can decide, this very minute, that you are going to start your own business and you just did it.
You can now stop at the nearby bank, open a bank account in the name of your company, especially if you name it after yourself, make a minimum deposit and you are on your way.
If you pick a name other than your own personal name, you will have to register it for about $25 to protect the name. But if you name the company after yourself, you don’t need permission from anyone.
There is an important principle at work here. “If you build it, they will come.”
Nature abhors a vacuum. If you go down to the bank and start your own company, you will create a natural vacuum in your personal universe and business opportunities will emerge to fill that vacuum.
Of course, if you have a clear idea of the kind of business that you want to be in, that is even better. But the very act of starting your own company and opening a bank account for it will cause things to happen in your life that you cannot today imagine.
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