start your own business,how to start a business

By Rieva Lesonsky

With the Fourth of July weekend just behind us, it’s an apt time to talk about the millions of Americans who dream about their own “independence day”—the day they shake off the shackles of employment and start their own businesses. A recent study by the UPS Store says nearly half (48 percent) of Americans who have never owned their own business dream of becoming their own bosses, while 21 percent are confident they will eventually own their own companies some day.

Why do people want to start their own businesses? “Being my own boss” tops the list, cited by 61 percent, followed closely by the desire to pursue a personal passion (60 percent) and have more flexibility (48 percent). What kind of businesses do they want to start? Not surprisingly, opening a restaurant is the most common business dream (18 percent), followed by starting a clothing/apparel business (7 percent).

The biggest hurdle to startup success, however, isn’t financial—it’s internal. The study also polled existing small business owners, and they said taking a leap of faith was the hardest part of launching their businesses (36 percent). To get over this hump, 25 percent say they relied on their own motivation and internal drive, while 20 percent turned to an external support system to get encouragement and inspiration.

Starting a business isn’t fast or easy. But the hard work was worth it: A whopping 71 percent of small business owners say they would start the same business if they had it to do all over again.

So what separates the dreamers from the doers?

  • Dedication. “Have faith in yourself” was the number-one piece of advice small business owners in the study said they would give to aspiring entrepreneurs. You’ll need faith to get you through the tough times of startup.
  • Planning. Nearly one-third of entrepreneurs polled say they spent over five years planning their business before taking the plunge, and 51 percent spent over two years in the planning stages. Creating a business plan helps you know where you want to go, and how to get there. Don’t try to wing it.
  • Support. Nearly one-third of entrepreneurs polled say they spent over five years planning their business before taking the plunge, and 51 percent spent over two years in the planning stages. Enlist your friends and family to keep you on track. Get free help from the experts at SCORE and your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Turn your dream into reality—start today!