Options for Serial Entrepreneurs

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Drafting a business planBusiness startups are one of the most important parts of the world economy. Accordingly, most entrepreneurs state their ultimate goals as owning their own business. But the reality is running a business is complex, risky, exhausting, and does not necessarily HAVE to be the immediate end-goal for every actionable idea you seek to monetize.

There are other options. Here are a few of them:

Focus On Securing Additional Funding

One of the big challenges facing an entrepreneur or prospective small business owner is securing enough seed money to adequately launch the idea. Instead of immediately getting a business license and working 60 hours a week, it might be a better idea to shop your concept around to investors and potential future clients first in order to gauge the appetite for your idea. Market research will help you secure additional funding, but if you can’t interest an investor in the idea, maybe it’s not the best idea out there, right? Once you’ve got the market research established, another alternative for raising capital is to focus on personal loans from people you know.

Take the Freelance Route

With thousands of small businesses taking their business to the internet every year, it’s not hard to find a client base. Of course, if you decide to offer development services, you can increase your profits from each client. Before you can make any money, however, you need to find some clients.

One way to do this is through Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. Most of your potential clients will search with Google, Yahoo or Bing for companies offering your services. By using the different PPC advertising programs, you can put your ad in front of your target market. It’s possible to set up your campaigns for a specific country, state or city, if you only plan to offer services locally.

There are also freelance websites where you can bid on contracts from potential employers looking to subcontract out some work in your field. Check out eLance, for example. For programmers and other technology professionals, there’s odesk. Odds are, there’s something in your field where you can get some experience and build a client list before “officially” launching your business.

Furthering Relationships With Clients and Affiliates

Whether you launch a business or go freelance as a serial entrepreneur, you need to think about the suppliers or distributors that you’ll be working with. While they may get the job done, you need to consider long-term reliability if you want to take things to the next level. If you already have suppliers lined up, continue developing strong relationships with them. You might be able to secure better deals and better pricing for the products that you buy. As you become more established, you’ll be able to leverage your relationships in order to get competitive deals on the products that you need.

Creating relationships with other Internet businesses, such as SEO (search engine optimization) companies, advertising companies, and affiliate networks can help you gain a steady flow of business. As these companies take on clients, they may need your help redesigning their websites or creating a website from scratch. Many SEO and advertising firms outsource the design work, which is where your services fit in.

Going Back to School or Getting An Internship

There’s no shame in going back to school or getting an internship. In fact, many young entrepreneurs find this is a critical step in acquiring the skills necessary to transform ideas into business models. Taking an internship will mostly likely expose you to a vast array of new software skills and acumen. Whether it’s spreadsheets on Excel, video editing on Final Cut Pro, or just learning the vocabulary of an industry, a carefully chosen internship can do wonders for helping you realize what you have an aptitude for and what you truly enjoy doing. You can also use your experience in an internship program to set one up for your businessto provide yourself with cheap and motivated labor in exchange for real world experience.

On the other hand, if you get a formal education and degree from a school like Sanford Brown (http://www.sanfordbrown.edu) you may be able to take a direct step from academia to the business world.

Put Your Personal Finances in Order

If you do decide to go and start a business, you should pull your credit report very early. Ideally, your credit should be perfect. Make sure that you are current with all of your financial obligations. Most importantly, be sure that you are going to be able to afford the credit card bills that you will start receiving when you use your card. If your credit score is high, it would be wise to attempt to negotiate a lower interest rate. Work with several different companies. This is especially important if you plan on taking out a large cash advance to start your business.

So, to conclude, serial entrepreneurs have in their arsenals more options than just starting a business right off the bat. You can create affiliate networks, freelance, go back to school. A business is a complex thing that must be thought about from every angle, financially, logically, and emotionally. You may find that you want to pursue other options before jumping in with both feet and filing for a business license.

Business Plan photo from Shutterstock

Jen Smith contributed for this article. 

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