Loretta Gallagher, Founder and Owner of Gallagher Associates in New Jersey, provides valuable insight into owning and operating your own small business.
One of the best ways to muster up the courage to take those first steps towards business ownership is through mentorship; finding someone who has overcome adversity. The digitization of the modern world means that everyone has access to tools, techniques and information necessary to start their own business—the difficulty is often in starting.
A fundamental element to starting a small business is to know your industry. Research your competitors, the current state of your industry, and establish what your advantage will be. This includes defining your vision, mission, objectives and basic strategies. Doing this initial research will not only strengthen your business model but will equip you with the tools to make informed and logical decisions in the future. This leads us right into the next tip: making a plan.
Loretta Gallagher states that writing a business plan brings your idea from concept to reality, creating a blueprint for your small business. It can be helpful to use a brainstorm chart, writing down every category and subcategory that needs to be fully considered before steps are taken. Flushing out all of the potential options for your small business will ensure that you have chosen the absolute best path forward. In this step, you might want to consider the following: Will you need capital? If so, how will you fund this capital? How will you market your product or service? Who will your primary suppliers be? The list goes on and on. It can be useful to condense your business plan down to one page, which will make it easier to plan and manage all of the smaller steps, like finances.
Getting your budget and finances in order are the next logical step before you file the paperwork necessary to incorporate your business. Starting a business costs money and determining a budget will set your expectations on how much you will be able to spend. This will be an important number that will aid in figuring out how long you can stay in business before you turn a profit. This will lead you to the next step: becoming a legal entity. You will need to account for city licensing, state incorporation, business entity fees and more. Once you get this tricky paperwork out of the way, it is time to create and start branding your business.
The exciting part is coming up with a name, logo and brand for your small business. Working with a graphic designer on these initiatives is a great way to ensure professional results. Additionally, as it has become fundamental to all businesses to have a website and social media presence, you will want to mimic the look and feel of your brand and logo onto these platforms.
When it comes to starting a small business, Loretta Gallagher knows all about it. She started her business single-handily and has been providing professional development services to hospitals and corporations for over eighteen years. With an undergraduate degree in Finance/ Economics, and a Masters in the Art of Teaching (MAT), Loretta Gallagher has had the pleasure of working with the Cooper University Hospital, Hackensack University Hospital, Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, and many more.