Business Do's and Don'ts to Help Your Startup Succeed

Everyone has a dream -- it's the one thing they would rather be doing more than anything else (and are sure they could succeed at). Yet, it's something entirely different from what it is they do to pay the bills.

What many fail to understand, however, is that enthusiasm for a product or service may not be enough to guarantee success when starting a business.

"So often, would-be entrepreneurs believe they have that one idea that will make them a millionaire, and in fact it may be a very good idea, but what they don't understand is that there's so much more involved for a business to succeed," says Heidi Ganahl, CEO of Camp Bow Wow, a dog day care franchise and boarding authority. The business saw 20 percent year-over-year growth last year in revenues across Camps (individual franchise locations), which opened pre-2011.

"Unfortunately," Ganahl adds, "passion alone will not dictate or ensure success."

To this end, the following do's and don'ts may help you assess whether your idea is ready:

* Do your research and prepare. So often, failure comes from a lack of preparation. According to Ganahl's book "Tales From the Bark Side," every good idea must come with the right support to make it profitable, including writing a winning business proposal. Ganahl says that lending or investing individuals will only consider an investment after a thorough review of your project.

* Don't go into business if you're not committed. Convinced that they have a good idea, but unprepared to be completely committed, people will try to have their feet in both the corporate world and their new business venture. If you feel the inability to put your all into your new venture, cut your losses.

* Do ensure you have enough capital. Business analysts report that poor management is the main reason for business failure and that poor cash management is probably the most frequent stumbling block for entrepreneurs. Understanding the basic ideas of cash flow will help you plan for the unforeseen eventualities that face nearly every small business.

* Do consider owning a franchise. With thousands of systems operating in dozens of industries, there is no shortage of choices here for the would-be entrepreneur.

The down side? The plethora of choices can make that decision a challenge, so be clear about what you want, what you're willing to do and how much you need to make. For more information about franchise opportunities, visit www.campbowwow.com/franchise.

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