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7 Ways to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

7 Ways to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

It’s widely known that a significant number of start-ups fail because of financial problems or poor management decisions. While this may alarm you, you shouldn’t let it discourage you; there are plenty of ways to put the odds in your favor. If you heed the following seven tips, you can dramatically increase your chances of success as an entrepreneur.

Go From Hobbyist to Entrepreneur

Perhaps you can launch your career as an entrepreneur by way of one of your hobbies, especially if there’s a huge demand for it. There is nothing quite like going to work every day and doing something you love. For example, are you a karate expert or comic book collector? Then open a karate school or comic book store. You already have expertise in your field of choice, which is a necessary ingredient for success. You also don’t have to open up a brick and mortar store if you don’t want to. You could always just start your business online and move into a brick and mortar store later as your demands and needs change when your business grows.

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Provide a Needed Service

If you have a hobby that consequently provides people a needed or wanted service, then the real question is, “Why haven’t you turned it into a business?” You already have a customer base if you are doing something that people need or want. For example, people often need others to install blinds, walk their dogs, repair wash machines or move them to new homes. Each of these services –along with many others– can become platforms for launching new businesses. You need only start thinking like a successful entrepreneur

Create a Business Plan

Create a business plan that includes details about your company’s product line, organizational structure, marketing strategies, and sales goals, according to the U.S. Small Business Administrations. This provides an entrepreneur such as yourself with a blueprint for reaching your objectives. A well-developed business plan can also help you get financing if necessary.

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Study Your Competition

Before an entrepreneur opens up his or her doors for business, it is important to learn who the biggest competitors are. Study their strengths and weaknesses versus your own and exploit your advantages. You want to know what they provide and what their customers think of them. This will give you an edge as it will help you understand the services you can provide that they might not be able to. It can also give you an idea of how to price your products or services. Maybe you can offer packages or other deals that will make your pricing more competitive than your competitors’.

Know Your Target Audience

If you aren’t aware of who’d be interested in your product or service, conduct some surveys. That will help you determine which buying groups would most likely purchase your offerings, whether you’re basing your target customers on age, sex, income, or lifestyle. You can also better target promotions to these people if you know who they are.

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Educate Yourself

Many colleges offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in entrepreneurial studies. Better yet, try enrolling in an online MBA degree program. You can obtain your degree from home while getting practical knowledge of all the key functional areas of a company, including finance and product development. In either case, educating yourself will certainly benefit you as an entrepreneur.

Turn Your Business Into a Franchise

If you have the money, purchase a franchise. The advantage of owning a franchise is the brand recognition. Most franchise companies will also help you get started by sending experts in the field to work with you.

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Any of these strategies can help you launch a successful business. But make sure you enjoy what you’re doing because you’ll likely work a lot of hours in the early days. Such is the life of an entrepreneur.

Featured photo credit: shutterstock.com via shutterstock.com

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Kara Masterson

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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