Well, here's some great advice from Tim Knox, the founder of several software companies. By his own admission, some of these businesses were very successful, and others were outstanding failures. In his e-book, Small Biz Success Secrets , he offers the following small business tips ...
1. Let experience be your guide
Start with what you know. If you have spent twenty years working as an accountant or you love to build wooden toy trains as a hobby, consider how you can take that experience and turn it into a successful small business.
You might also find a great business idea right under your nose. Look around your workplace. Do you see needs that are going unmet or can you think of a better way of doing something? If so, you might have the seed for a viable small business
2. Build a better mousetrap
Many first time entrepreneurs assume that they have to come up with a radical new business idea to be successful. That simply is not true. Most successful businesses are born not of innovation, but of necessity. Instead of trying to come up with an idea that changes the world, take a look at the world around you and see where there might be a void that needs filling or an existing business concept that needs improvement.
Many successful businesses have been built by taking a traditional business and making it better. Domino’s Pizza was certainly not the first to offer home delivery of pizza, but they were the first to guarantee it would be delivered piping hot to your door in 30 minutes or less. Amazon.com was not the first company to sell books, but they were one of the first that would let you buy books from the comfort of your own home while sitting in your pyjamas.
3. Define your niche
Many businesses have gone broke trying to be all things to all people. The ability to offer a gazillion products under one roof is all well and good for Wal-Mart, but not for most new small businesses. Try to identify a niche that you would enjoy working in and then think about whether there could be a business opportunity there. If you love to work outdoors, consider starting a landscaping business. If you enjoy fixing things at home, then consider a "handyman" small business
You get the idea. Focus on a niche, do what you love and become an expert in your field.
4. Consider a franchise
Many new entrepreneurs consider buying a franchise operation instead of starting a business from scratch. Franchises are a good way to jumpstart the process because they have already done much of the hard work for you. They have proven the business model, established guidelines for running the business, spent millions of dollars on establishing the brand, etc. Buying a franchise can be a quite expensive and involved process, that is beyond the scope of this article.
It is imperative that you thoroughly investigate the franchisor and the opportunity, use your own solicitor to do the deal, and read the fine print in the franchise agreement. Talk to some other frachisees and see how successful they have been with the franchise model and how they describe the level of training and support provided to them by the franchisor
For more tips on starting up and running your small business, have a look at Small Business Tips
And a great insight into the challenges faced by small business owners is the E-myth