Are you tired of the 9 to 5 grind? Maybe your industry or the company you work for are headed for failure. Or maybe you are just tired of working for other people and want to manage your own destiny. Whatever your reasons for thinking about making a drastic change in your career, there are tons of career alternatives that you can consider. The best place to start is to focus on products and services that you know a lot about. There are many things to consider when starting your own business (which we will cover in a future post). First you need to know what business you are going to start.
If you don’t really know where to start, then consider one of the following ideas:
Manufacturing Business -Starting a manufacturing business can be challenging, but if you have a great idea you want to bring to market, then this may be your business. One really big challenge is making a business as efficient as possible if you want to be competitive and profitable. Keep in mind that the systems that are used to manufacture products are not always checked during the production phase. There are software platforms that can help to check on these systems, and manufacturing software will make it easier for you to note successes and flaws in the system (and correct them where necessary).
- What You Need -Efficiency is a key component of the process. Plan out the entire process before you build it so that you can have the maximum efficiency in place from the start. A key component to being efficient is to log and track all expenses.Producing items costs money, and you need to be careful with your cost of production as well as the cost of your raw materials. Location is key, create a plan before starting to build you manufacturing process. Leverage as many experienced individuals as you can, learn from their mistakes.
- Education and Training Requirements -No specific education is required. Of course engineers have a great head start. More important is your understanding of the product you are creating (materials, refining, etc.) as well as the level of skills require to manufacture (technology products versus furniture).
- How to Get Started – As with real estate, location is key. The old “starting from your garage” would be ideal if practical (just make sure you don’t run afoul of any local laws). Make a list of all of the materials and equipment you will need. If possible, rent equipment rather than buying from the start. Finally, you must have a plan, the most important part of which is a “cash burn plan”. You must fully understand how much real cash you will need over how many weeks/months to cover all expenditures (including your own) until your new business is cash flow positive. Setup bank lines of credit where possible.
- Book Corner – How to Start a Manufacturing Business – A Step by Step Guide to Starting a New Small Manufacturing Company
Business Planning Service -Business planning is a form of consulting (see below), which is specifically focused on helping individuals and business to plan. Specifically, Business Planning services help individuals focus on the type of business they would you like to open, the types of activities will their business will be performing, the timing as to when do they plan to start their business, where their business be located, the type of business structure to be used and, last, but not least, what the business will be called.
- What You Need – You need to be well versed in basic business models and all of the aspects required to start a business and run a business. This includes familiarity with finance, accounting, law, project management and budgeting.
- Education and Training Requirements – If you start your own practice, no specific degree is required. However, if you specialize in any one area such as human resource management, financial services or technology, having a degree in one of those areas certainly helps. Having an overall business degree will help as well.
- How to Get Started – As with some of the other careers in this post, you must be good at marketing yourself, leveraging your networks. Join professional organizations such as the Association for Strategic Planning (www.strategyplus.org) – there are some great resources here. Create an Internet presence for yourself by creating a website. Link up with some business partners who offer complementary other services.
- Book Corner – How to Work for Yourself: 100 Ways to Make the Time, Energy and Priorities to Start a Business, Book or Blog
Consulting -Consultants leverage their knowledge and experience in a specific professional field to help clients in need of specific expertise. Consultant should be able to demonstrate and leverage experience and accomplishments. Consulting is very broad and can cover many areas of business. Consultants are sometimes hired to supplement staff at a company. Consultants are sometimes used in restructuring and strategy related activities at a new or existing businesses.
- What You Need – You need excellent interpersonal skills, great marketing skills and the ability to summarize information for senior executives. Great presentation skills are also a plus.
- Education and Training Requirements – Most consultants typically have a bachelors degree in a focused subject, such as technology, accounting or finance. Experience is a huge plus, as this is what most companies will look for when deciding whether or not to hire a consultant. Project management experience is also a skill set that is expected.
- How to Get Started – If this sounds very similar to Business Planning, it is. Marketing yourself and leveraging your networks will determine much of your success. Join professional organizations such as the the Institute of Management Consultants or Association of Management Consulting Firms. Create an Internet presence for yourself by creating a website. Link up with some business partners who offer complementary other services.
- Book Corner – Getting Started in Consulting
Financial Planning – So you want to be a financial planner? Financial planners provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They also help their clients with managing their money like, reviewing your plans for saving, investments, insurance, taxes, retirement, estate planning, children’s education saving, buying that new house and getting out of debt. They understand and review their clients specific situation and come up with plans (and sometimes solutions).
- What You Need – You need to be really good with numbers and you must work well with people. When it comes to money (as in “other people’s money), people can be a little difficult. You should have a good grasp on Finance, business management and accounting.
- Education and Training Requirements -Here too, certification is a definite help and becoming a Certified Financial Planner is probably the way to go (check out CFP’s site or see if there are local schools that offer the program). You should also be familiar with what you can’t do without the proper licenses (every jurisdiction has its own requirements).
- How to Get Started – This is a fast growing career, one of the fastest growing in fact. The good news is that most of the growth is as a result of demand, mostly from aging Baby Boomers who have not planned well for their retirement or have substantial wealth but don’t know how to manage it. Great sales and marketing skills are key, but more importantly, your network is the most important. Starting your own practice / business can be a bit challenging, but is not impossible if leverage networking and financial planning events. Hooking up with another professional as a “complimentary” business (such as with a tax accountant who does not manage finances) is also a good business model. Most importantly, find some aspect to specialize in and create a niche market.
- Book Corner – How to Become a Successful Financial Consultant: Making a Living Investing Other People’s Money
Personal Trainer -So what is a personal trainer? A personal trainer is an individual who helps create a personalized fitness and training plan for clients based on their needs. They setup goals and provide regular feedback to their clients.
- What you need – Having an interest in health and fitness is a given. There are many additional traits that are required to become a personal trainer. In addition to good interpersonal skills, you need to be able to both motivate and nurture your clients. It obviously helps if you lead are knowledgeable health and fitness and, while you don’t need to look like a body builder, being in good shape goes a long way to getting your clients to have faith in you.
- Education and Training Requirements – Education is not as important as becoming certified as a Personal Trainer. To do this you need to find the right certification course for you. How and where you receive you certification will have significant impact on your ability to get and retain clients. There are a number of recognized and respected certification programs (such as those offered by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America).
- How to Get Started – Once you’ve got your certification, it’s time to get clients. Creating a plan regarding “client acquisition” is a great start. Word of mouth, friends, family, etc. If you are great with the gift of gab, the health club is one of the best places to do this (just be careful they don’t toss you out!). Another great option is to start out working for a fitness club to “learn the ropes”, and then break off on your own and create that business!
- Book Corner – How To Become A Personal Trainer
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Good luck in your search,