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Business Start up Fears

Q:I know I'm ready to work with smaller 10 - 15 employee businesses, but just don't feel confident enough yet to handle large organizations. (BTW, I'm in system integration, not programming). Am I out of business? That's the impression I'm getting. I am excited and ready to work HARD at this, but I have a family to provide for and don't want to be unrealistic. I have a good business background in marketing, supported my own companies NT network, have achieved my MCP, and am on my way to my MCSE and I'm ready to learn all the ropes as I can.

A:Fear(or aprehension) is part of any business start-up. Of course, you need to analyze your market potential for your target. My experience and the success of my firm would put your fears to rest a bit. More than 75% of my business comes from small businesses, Mom and Pop operations who need professional help and small start-ups. I also have a smathering of law firms and such that round out things nicely. The only real problem with small businesses is that your income will also be small as you build your reputation (and confidence). Your company's success will be made or broken based on your reputation and the "word of mouth" advertising you accumulate from happy customers. Starting any type of business is hard work that few people will ever endeavor. Of course, if it was easy or something that was routinely placed in your lap, everyone would do it and there wouldn't be as much profit for entrapreneurs to reap. I would much rather depend on myself knowing my capabilities and ambition and skill, then to work a regular 9-5 job. The road is rife with failure and the carcasses of those who gave up or didn't have the skill to succeed. Remember, you need to have something people want to buy... Taking aim at the smaller businesses means that you need every job to be a resounding success. Otherwise, you'll be driven out by the same thing that can make you a success - word of mouth. Our company has grown from a $300K a year to proportions we never anticipated. We have never formally advertised and almost 90% of our contracts originated from referrals. (It took a few years) The key is to find out first what your customers or potential customers want...then fill the need. I have done work for Fortune 500 firms, and that is great. However, most business in the USA is small business...500 or fewer employees. What do these firms need? Find out by calling and doing a survey... Read a good marketing book and you will know what to do. Smaller business can afford to pay consultants. Look at the size and price tag of the dars driven by the people who own/run them. My observation is that somebody who started up and runs his own business does not like to pay what he/she sees as outrageous fees to somebody who has not met a payroll to will tell him/her the he/she has made some mistakes/not done the right thing/not done things right. And if you do have a good idea, their reaction is often "Thanks, but we will implement ourselves." I believe there are ways to do business with small companies (and we are working on it). But the answer is not classical face-to-face consulting.

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