This article was submitted by Ed Carter of Able Futures
For many, the American dream is to start their own business. It's a chance to build something you own, play by your own rules and provide a livelihood for your family on your own terms. For advertising professionals with disabilities, there's just as much to gain by starting your own agency. So here's where to start with a smart plan of action and resources to start your business and make it a success.
Create a Business Plan
In order for your new venture to succeed, you need to create a business plan. That's just as true if you're going out on your own as a solopreneur or starting a multi-person agency. According to the ZenBusiness guide on how to start a business, this plan should be completed before any work begins.
Your plan should provide specifics for every step of your business' growth, from what you plan to sell to how you will secure your initial capital to your target demographics and marketing strategy. Advertising professionals usually have plenty of experience with those last two, but write 'em down anyway to help you create and maintain clarity.
Running a business can be overwhelming, which is why it's so important to have a business plan that you can act on, step by step. It helps keep you on track, even when things get a little crazy. And having your plan in writing gives you a chance to truly consider any changes. It's a decision you shouldn't take lightly – and one where you need to weigh the pros and cons of any adjustment.
Funding and Financial Resources
When it comes to finding money to launch your business, you have many options. Those with disabilities can find several resources, including the Small Business Administration, where there are many funds and assistance programs available. You can also check online for grants that can help you get off of the ground. If you are unsure of what exists, then complete a search online. You'll be surprised by the resources available for those who qualify.
Don't forget to check out AAF.org for member discounts on other things every business needs – like travel, insurance and supplies.
Create a Marketing Plan
Most entrepreneurs don't think about marketing until way too late in the game. And while advertising professionals may have an advantage in that regard, it still pays to create a formal marketing plan. That's everything from your targeting strategy to your media plan and budget to your email approach to your social media profiles. And much, much more.
Creating a formal marketing plan as part of your business plan makes it easier to stay on track or bring in help because you have an easy way to communicate where you've been, where you are and where you're going.
Manage Your Time
One of the most frequently reported challenges for entrepreneurs is balancing a new business with family. It can seem overwhelming at first, but you just need a plan. For instance, you can schedule client meetings and detail-oriented tasks for when your kids are napping. Either that or you can start a smaller business and complete your work early in the morning or at night when your other family members are sleeping or otherwise occupied. You might also talk to your significant other about switching off responsibilities when you need to go out of town or are otherwise glued to your desk. Of course, you can also reach out to family on your busiest days for assistance.
In the end, starting a business will have its ups and downs, but by creating a detailed business plan, finding the right financing, being diligent about your marketing and asking for help when you need it, you can succeed. And when the time is right to grow your team, AAF District 4 has your connection to talent throughout Florida and the Caribbean.