Succeeding at anything begins with applying certain principles. Career Planning is no exception. Planning and developing your career is as important as almost anything else at it determines not only your living standards but also your self esteem, motivation and overall happiness.

A lot of people choose include setting up their own business or Going it Alone as part of their career development plan. It is important, once you start a business, to not only know what you’re doing, but to keep up with changes in the marketplace. Last year strategies that brought you substantial profits may not work this year at all, requiring you to change your tactics. You can research general trends on the internet, but you should also keep close track of your customers and ask them what they want and prefer. Ask them to fill out surveys, and provide them with a reward, such as a discount coupon, for doing so. The feedback that they provide really needs to be honest, and not motivated because they need a discount or want to download a coupon. Your customers, or visitors to your website, should always fill out some type of questionnaire, which will help you improve your business and provide what potential customers are searching for.

If you start to market your business, you may want to do online marketing instead of off-line marketing because it has proven, in many cases, to be much more profitable. This is not to say that you need to stay away from all off-line marketing efforts. To try out off-line marketing, you could use business cards to get yourself going. Always remember to have your World Wide Web address for your website on the business card that you pass out. Placing an ad in classified advertisements across the nation can also prove profitable for your business. Businesses still use the Yellow Pages or other types of phone directories to increase the traffic to their website or Main Street business. Although the Yellow Pages have been eclipsed in many cases by online search engines, you can still get a trickle of traffic.

There are many reasons that you should set goals prior to starting your business as it can help you focus on what you need to achieve. This includes your own personal goals, and goals for your business, which are intimately entwined. Your ambitions are not general in nature, but are specifically focused upon what you want to achieve short-term and long-term. A 5 to 10 year goal is common to set for any business when looking into the future. When you set short-term goals, you want to make sure they are achievable in a short amount of time; this is usually 24 hours to 72 hours at most. Write down all of your goals, as this makes it much easier to focus on them. Once you have written them out, make sure that you can see them everyday and that they are in a location that you frequent often. You won’t always meet every one of your goals, but they can definitely help you focus.

There are both benefits and drawbacks to running your own small business. The upside is that you get to decide how everything is done and make your own schedule. The downside is the other side of the coin -you have no one else to blame if things go wrong. The best thing of all is that, after you have learned how to run your own business, your accomplishments will be very satisfying.