Starting a Business
No, this is not your average “Step by Step: How to start a business” Blog. SBA.gov has that covered. Rather, it’s a document to get you thinking and to keep you going.
Starting a small business is hard. You will need to be the owner, the marketer, the manager and the worker. You will need to make executive decisions, go out and advertise yourself and your business and you will need to get down and get the job done. You are on the clock 24/7, even when your business hours are 9 am - 5 pm. The reason? You are the face of your company and what you do in your spare time, directly reflects onto your business.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? Now, let’s talk positives.
You answer to yourself. You do things your way. You’re building something from scratch, something that you can say you’re proud of accomplishing. You will not be on the clock 24/7 forever. Is your goal to build a sustainable business and retire early? You can do that. You set your own goals, and as long as you can keep yourself accountable and focused, there isn’t much you cannot achieve.
Does that sound a little better?
Taking the entrepreneurial route isn’t easy. It is a very difficult decision to make. First, you have to be honest with yourself. Are you someone who can take criticism, roadblocks and loses and turn them into positive lessons? Do you work well under pressure? Are you someone who cannot see yourself working for someone else for the rest of your life? Are you open to taking risks?
Have you decided to start a business? Great, let’s do it!
What is the service or product you will be selling? Where do you and your skills fit in the current market? Is your concept new and does it need to be introduced to your current market? Do your research. Don’t just google it, go out there and ask around, hold some focus groups, go to organizations and businesses that do similar things and ask questions.
Chances are, if you have seen a void/need in your community from personal experience, there is someone else out there with the same needs and/or thoughts.
Never give up on your concept. You can always change your angle and try again, but stick to what you started if you truly believe in it. Because not sticking to it is like giving up on your dream. One main idea an entrepreneur needs to get behind is that you may fail, multiple times, before you get to where you want to be and that is okay.
You will not have clients breaking down your doors the moment you open. This may be discouraging, but stick to it. Be confident in your skill set. “Fake it till you make it”, as people say. You started this business because you have a skill set that you wanted to share with others. Show them your value. You may have 2 clients, your mom and your best friend. Are you helping them out? Is it working? Are you learning and growing in the process? When talking to people, you can say “My clients have really seen a benefit in a,b,c”.This statement shows that you are currently working with people and you know what you’re talking about. No need to say “I’ve been working with my mom and best friend and everything I’ve instructed them to do seem to be working”. See the difference in the phrases? Be vague, while showing the value of your product and/or service. Don’t devalue yourself. That is a mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make.
Always remember, what is common sense to one, may be mind-blowing to another.
Your product and/or service is valuable. I’m a big believer in “No one knows everything”.
With that said, another piece of advice is to read more. But don't only read your favorites. Read things that make you uncomfortable. Read things about ideas you disagree with. Open up your mind. Allow yourself to understand different perspectives. Try to understand why someone may think the way they do. You and I may read the same sentence and take away completely different meanings. This ties back to knowing your market. Knowing who you’re talking to and understanding their perspective will help you adjust your marketing campaign and capture your audience in a unique way.
Building a successful business comes with challenges. There is no cookie cutter for business. Yes, everyone should have a business plan, long and short term goals, marketing plan, etc. There is a lot of information out there on that, many blogs and websites are built to help guide you when first starting out. Which are great, and as a business owner myself, I am very glad they exist. However, none of these resources will fully prepare you for your businesses unique hurdles. What will help you out during the struggle is a positive and strong mindset, if you have that, you’ll be just fine.
Last piece of advice: Something worth having, is worth working hard for. And when you feel like giving up, work twice as hard. The reward will be worth the struggle.