Affiliated Small Businesses: Tools for Success

For those thinking about opening a small business in this economic climate, it may seem like a daunting road ahead. First, do the homework. It is important to research the product or service provided to the consumer. Small businesses that thrive provide consistency in their product or service, which makes it easier to replicate – why reinvent the wheel when it isn’t broken?

Franchise businesses such as fast food chains are common, but many do not sell essential consumables, and in challenging economic times, they become luxuries that are often reduced or cut by consumers. Consider owning a nationally affiliated small business that is in a growing industry and that meets consumers’ basic needs. Owning an insurance agency is a great example of a growing small business opportunity that sells a state required product such as auto insurance. In fact, the opportunity for insurance agents is singled-out as one of the top three jobs for growth according to the U.S. Census Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The beauty of owning a small business includes the freedom to be the boss; however, every affiliated business owner is intrinsically tied to the parent organization. Be sure to pick a brand that has strong recognition and works to engage the customer with outstanding marketing and advertising. Working for established companies means they provide their business partners with essential tools to get started. These tools should include help with sourcing capital, education, sales assistance, marketing and performance incentives. This guidance will help the affiliated business understand the bigger picture while setting attainable performance goals.

Invest in an organization that will take a risk for its business partners. Selling a product or service is easier on work-life balance and productivity if it consists of something the owner believes in endorsing. And while hard work and long hours are to be expected, keeping a balanced distance from the job will help with overall satisfaction. This may include physical distance from the business location to the owner’s residence in addition to mental distance. The ability to set aside time for exercise and extracurricular activities is essential to any person’s well-being.

Also, remember that although it seems like a natural progression for the profession, not every sales person is meant to run a business. Sales prowess, analytical skills, employee management and budgeting are just some of the traits that make up a strong small business owner. The best leaders are those who are able to identify their weaknesses and harvest them in employees who model them as strengths. Invest in employees by providing them with clear expectations of their responsibilities and provide them with affirmation for a job well done with regularly scheduled updates on their performance progress. Providing development opportunities for employees will incentivize and challenge them to work harder while decreasing turn over.

Protecting oneself from potential mishap is essential and this should include lining up partners that will ensure you are viable. Consult with trusted professionals who can provide unbiased opinions on the business model. Consider insurance benefits for employees, worker’s compensation and other legal requirements for running a business in Nevada. Make sure that an accountant and business attorney are queued and ready to go. Be proactive in lining these partners up, because businesses will likely spend less money on the front end with preventative measures, versus reactive damage control on the back end.

The bottom line? Taking the plunge to start a small business requires capital and investment, both of which are weighted with risk factors. Be prepared for difficult financial times ahead and ensure a solid reserve of capital is set aside – no business makes money right away. The business planning decisions are ultimately up to the owner to determine what works best for him or her – and it all boils down to educating oneself and taking calculated risks.

  • Keymike

    Very rightly said that to start a small business you need to have calculated your risks and weighed your options