What drives you to start your business should run parallel with a strategic plan.
Creating a new product, service or changing the way in which business is done is a noble path that many embark on, and find more challenging than they expected. Besides financial roadblocks and struggles, there are also emotional ones. Many entrepreneurs are told by peers or friends that this is not the time to start a business, with Covid causing so much uncertainty.
But if you are feeling deep down in your gut the desire to push forward and start a business, take into account these pros and cons and incorporate them into a plan to reach your goal.
What is driving your desire to start a business?
Why now? What will you do differently or better than what is currently being done? You are the one who will ultimately have to deal with the ups and downs, and if you have a family they also deal with this whether you are a two-income household or you now are the sole provider embarking on this journey. The drive and desire that burns deep for you to want to start a business and effectively execute it has to be enough to keep you going when things look bleak.
You can plan, execute and re-evaluate, plan and still come up short. Setbacks are part of being a business owner. Have a plan in place that is realistic and is conservative for estimating how long it will take to get your first customer, how much revenue you’ll bring in for the first 18 months, and then account for higher expenses for the first 6 to 9 months than what you normally would expect. If you do this, when you have those moments where you are thinking you made the wrong choice to start a business, you can revisit your plan and focus to keep going.
Start before you quit your job
If you are currently working in a career that allows you the time to build the basics of your company, start getting things in order with your extra time at home. Take care of things such as your business registration, website set up, phones and email contacts, etc.
Set up any supply chain accounts and partnerships, and be prepared to deal with new places asking for prepaid account status since many will not have a way to truly validate your history and may be risk-averse from seeing so many businesses close due to COVID. This may all be standard information you know already and it will begin to test your basic desire on how much you are really ready to own a business.
It takes time, this is not an overnight process. You have to been genuine in your business interactions to build relationships and give customers a deep sense you care for each one of them and that takes time. Just as important as getting this set up, research and find a very good banker. This is critical. It makes doing business much easier when you have a banker who can really help and understand your business.
Personally, I have found smaller local banks and truly vested in helping your business grow. They really take an interest in YOU, and your business with wanting it to succeed. They can assist with some type of small products to help you get your cash flow in place and annually reassess the need to increase your access to cash.
Whatever is driving you to want to execute your business from an idea to starting it and growing it let it be the driver that keeps you going when things get rough as they will. If you have someone who is close to you that can provide you insight and honest feedback, pass your plans or concerns to them.
Few people starting out have a good nucleus of people who truly are seeking their success which is why whatever is driving has to be enough that if no one around you thinks you will be successful or that you are doing the right thing it won’t deter you from pushing forward if you have developed a plan and done the research that makes your path forward a wise decision to start your business.
Consider the source of who is giving you feedback and the perspective for why. All criticism is not useless especially from someone who deeply cares about your success and in fact you need someone to be your buffer to temper natural desire to overlook potential devastating risks to reach a goal. It would help to have someone in your corner who knows how to effectively apply the break or help you let off the gas to help you navigate quick turns in your road map to success.
Be strategic and apply wisdom to assist in having a better chance at succeeding. Many entrepreneurs’ roads to success didn’t follow the exact same paths even though many follow similar sets of principles such as having a goal in mind, writing it down and then constantly looking at it and reassessing where to make changes all while keeping what is driving them at the forefront of their minds.
Many were strategic and applied wisdom because they wrote down a plan as a baseline to make educated and calculated risks. There is a lot of advice about starting businesses, take from what you read and apply it to what you are doing and remember to be truthful to yourself about your research, industry trends, where your product or service fits in and the timing for doing.
Your driving desire matched with a strategic plan and applied wisdom for when to time and execute could drastically increase your chances of executing an idea, product or servicing to a successful business. It not enough to have the desire and drive without something or someone to benchmark your effort to start a business.
If you truly desire and driving to build a successful business you will execute the not so glamorous things about building a business by writing a plan and researching enough to give you a comfort level to move forward. Remember, it’s your plan and your research. It would be better to build your own plan on your own research and then take it to a financial consultant such a CPA and spend the money to get their feedback about the numbers than spending money a business plan writing service if your funds are limited.
When your drive is strong enough you will do the things necessary to ensure you have a better chance to succeed. You won’t rush this and know it takes time. Learn as you go what to add and take away from your plan to aid in you building a successful business.
Embrace the journey
Believe in yourself, do your research and keep what is driving you at the center of what you are doing. You may create a path to success where others would have stopped, have stopped or failed. Like in school, it is difficult for most to pass a test on a broad range of topics if they didn’t prepare. Starting and being in business is similar to passing the test — it best to prepare by researching, reading and studying the information and applying methods that will allow for success.
When you have a desire to pass in school, that drive is there to keep you up all night or use your time wisely to reach success. Your drive and desire would be best suited in starting your business this same way. Your plan may have called out one way but after your research and planning, you find another better way to execute. Keep pushing and driving within the framework of making wise calculated moves and you will put yourself in a better position to succeed.
Paul L. Gunn, Jr
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor
Founder & CEO of KUOG Corporation