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First Steps to Starting Your Own Small Business
by: Marjorie Geiser
Youíve been dreaming about what it would be like to start your own small business. It has been on your mind since you were in school, and there are times, especially on Monday mornings, that you daydream about it. But, youíre not really sure what it would look like. You donít have the first clue how to get started, and of course, youíre afraid that you would put your heart and soul into it, only to fail and look like a fool. You barely even talk about it out loud, because you donít want family and friends to laugh at you.

But, anything is possible! The only limitations we have are the ones we put on ourselves! With planning and learning the steps, and doing your homework, if this is something you really want to do, you can do it, AND succeed greatly at it, too!

Iím not saying itís easy! Nothing worth having is. I have had to learn a great deal; about myself, about business, about my clients and potential clients. And it never ends, because my interests and passions change with the years. But, how exciting!

When my daughter started kindergarten, I returned to school. It took me five years to get through school, but I had a vision: I wanted to help people become healthy and fit in the privacy of their own homes. After school, I didnít have that plan fully in place, even in my mind, but after six years of working in a hospital, I was ready. I opened MEG Fitness in June, 1996. Itís been an incredible ride! Iíll never look back at my life with regrets that I didnít pursue my dream. I really have learned that the only limits are those I impose on myself, too! So, I continue to dream bigger and allow my vision to become more grand. Why not? Whatís the worst that can happen?

Thatís what you have to ask yourself. If you never try, will you be happier? If you never try, how will you know if you could have done it? Consider some of the well-known names in sports, such as Michael Jordan, the basketball player; he has thrown more MISSED shots than those that have made their mark. What if he had not taken the chance to see what was possible for himself?

Okay, so now youíre ready to take the next step! First, in order to help you focus, I recommend that people start working on their business plan. The Small Business Association has invaluable resources on their website ( This was the route I took. A year before I quit the hospital, I started working on my business plan. It helped me determine exactly who I was, what I offered, why, who my ideal client was, who my target market was (at that time), who my competition was, where I would offer my services, how I would offer them, and so on. As I coach other health professionals who want this dream, I now use a 3-page business plan for clients who donít plan to look for outside funding. Regardless of the type of business plan, it will help answer many hard questions for you.

There are resources specific to most specific fields, too, including other professionals who help others get started. Do your research to see who you can contact for support and to ask questions of as you progress. Once you have your business plan in place, itís not time to celebrate, yet! How are you going to accomplish the goals you have come up with in that plan? You next need a marketing plan. Now, although the marketing plan is also part of a business plan, itís really just the intro! The marketing plan will become your template, your schedule, and will spell out the actions you will take to make those goals reality. If you use it seriously, it will be your day-to-day guide to making your dreams come true!

About the author:
Marjorie Geiser is a nutritionist, registered dietitian, certified personal trainer and life coach. Marjorie has been the owner of a successful small business, MEG Fitness, since 1996, and now helps other health professionals start up their own private practice. To learn more about the coaching services Margie offers, go to her website www.marjoriegeiser.comor email her at

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