I remember when I first quit my job to start working for myself (this blog is part of that venture!) In the months leading up to my resignation, I stared out the window, thinking about the freedom that being my own boss would bring.
Now, there are many reasons for wanting to start your own business. You might want to work at your own pace, or perhaps you have an inextinguishable passion that calls to you from beyond your office cubicle.
Whatever your reasoning, starting your own business is both a challenge and a highly rewarding adventure. If you’ve decided to take the proverbial plunge, then this article is for you. I’ll leave you to discover the joys of entrepreneurship on your own. The challenges though – these have to be laid out lest you get eaten alive before you see the fruits of your labor!
Before you take the proverbial plunge, here are a few helpful tips to ensure your business succeeds:
Get an Education
Some of you may have been business majors in college. Others may quake at the mention of an excel spreadsheet. Either way, a good grounding in the fundamentals of economics, business and accounting will lay the foundations of your business. If you don’t want to pick up a textbook, don’t fret. There are tons of free resources on youtube teaching the subjects. Khan Academy is one of my favorites for business and finance tutorials.
You might think that an academic education has little bearing in the real, cutthroat world of business. You’d be quite right. The practical details of business are more difficult to master. However, just being exposed to these subjects will prime your mind when the situation comes up. This will allow you to learn the important stuff quicker.
Research, but not too Much
You wouldn’t jump head first into a lake unless you knew how deep it went, of if there were any nasty creatures laying in its depths. Similarly, it’s “look before you leap” when it comes to starting your own business. Doing market research before you start your venture can help immensely in increasing predictability and reducing risk.
For example, you might ask for validation of your business idea on Reddit. It’s a great place for anonymous feedback. Therefore, you can bet that people will be truthful about their advice. It’s also a good way to gather market sentiment from a group of strangers. Sometimes, asking for business idea validation from friends and family can have the negative effect of them being “too close”. Their perceptions may be colored by want they know of you, or what they want of you.
However, beware of over researching. This can lead to over analysis. And could see you forever researching and never starting in fear that you don’t have that perfect idea. Truth is, most ideas don’t need to be perfect to earn you a living!
Organization Leads to Success
Many of today’s big businesses have rich founding stories. This may lead you to believe that many companies grow organically, working out how to divvy up tasks as the business matures.
While this may be the case in many instances, you can drastically improve your chances of success by designing an organization that can scale. Look at some of the big corporations of today. How are they structured? They probably have clear roles for each staff, with standard operating procedures. All this enables them to run in a consistent and predictable manner.
These organizational features are can be duplicated. Meaning that you can as easily manage 10,000 customers as you can with 10 customers. All because you have systems in place that grow with your revenues.
Early business decisions can make or break a new company. Make sure that you have created a sound business plan and a budget. Keep in mind that there is no shame in restructuring your plan as needed. However, you should be as organized and meticulous as possible to help avoid mistakes.
Lastly, know that You are not Alone
There are many websites and tools that are geared towards new small business owners. Whether you are wondering about how to start an LLC, or are looking for tools to help you complete your LLC online filing, you can find sites that help you streamline the process. You can also find plenty of low cost, or even free business organization tools.
Yes, starting a business is a challenge. But so is everything in life. You wouldn’t start your new job without reading up before hand. You also wouldn’t start haphazardly. Education, research and organization are keys to success whether you’re running your own career or your own business. Think about that!