Here’s the scenario…you decide you have something that will solve a solution for others. You’ve researched the market through surveys, focus groups and lots of connections. This is what you’ve been put here to do and so now you do as Nike as reminded you for decades and you “Just Do It” and voila you have a business…or do you? So-Is it a business or a hobby?
Let’s think about this…like almost anything else, the beginning of something can dictate how it will be in the future. If you’re in a relationship and the beginning is not good, you might be given a bird’s eye view of what it will be going forward. If you have a client that is less than desirable, you will probably see what that relationship will be for you. The truth is that this phase of your business SHOULD be the most exciting on one hand because rest assured, on the other hand it can also be the one that will try your patience at every turn. There will be people, even those closest to you, that will tell you that you are crazy for doing this while others have no idea how you can be so courageous. You’ll have times that you look at something that you’ve created or written and smile and know that is exactly what you were aiming for and then…you have to scrap it because it really isn’t solving a problem…only one that you are creating. And then there are those times when you are ready to just throw your hands up because this is NOT what you bargained for. So using my first thought, if the beginning isn’t good, should you just move along? To this I say No!
We’ve heard that if you have passion and heart that you can start your own business and be successful; you know “Do what you love and the money will follow”…unfortunately business doesn’t really follow that. What you want to determine is if you have a business or really only have an expensive hobby. You’re an incredible baker, but is that passion and skill enough for the million-dollar business you have in your head? Right look at Debbie Fields…the truth is she had a lot more than just a great cookie.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before you jump into the world of entrepreneurship that might give you a chance to succeed instead of hitting head first into a wall…and by the way, these were the questions that I asked myself:
- What do I do?
- How do I do it?
- What will bring in revenue?
- How do I decide what I want to be when I grow up?
My self-doubt was at an all-time high. In my case, I found a business coach who helped lead me on the right and best path. I made so many mistakes that most of us make and made so many that I even wrote a book about it “Famous Isn’t Enough: Earning Your Fortune As An Entrepreneur” I believed if I could save another excited entrepreneur some time and money, that would be perfect. Of course some of you will make the same mistakes or detours that I’ve made and that’s ok because sometimes you have to experience something yourself to truly understand. Just make sure you learn the lesson so you can share your wisdom with other budding entrepreneurs down the road.
The sad reality is that nine out of ten startups will fail. While this sounds like the end is near, if you work hard, stay focused and listen to those that have been there done that, your chances of success are greater
For those of you that would like some steps to take to be in the 10% success group rather than the 90% that aren’t, here you go:
- Do Your Research-While your mom and BFF will be true supporters of your newest venture, it’s probably better to do some of your own research. You can do this in person, via surveys or on social media. Make sure you do a wide enough circle of people so that you get true readings.
- Build Your Audience First-Ok you’re off…but there is no one there to receive what you are offering. If you are doing a launch and only 3 people show up, you will be frustrated but you will also realize how important it is to build your audience first. Start sharing content that is directly related to what you will be offering and make sure it is valuable and exciting. Don’t believe what some say that you should hold your best information and content for paying clients. How and why would people want to work with you if the only thing you are sharing is fluff? When you share and give right from the beginning you are letting others know that is your M.O. and to stay tuned for more of where that came from.
- Never Stop Learning-We all want to be known as the thought leaders in our circles. However, even if you own that title, you should always continue in the learning process. Reach out to those that are in your space or way beyond your space and ask…If you never ask the answer is always no. Also always remember not to hoard your experience and expertise. Remember those budding entrepreneurs that are ready to learn? Share with them. You too should be one of those because if you are the smartest in the room, you are in the wrong room.
- Don’t Be Afraid Of Technology-there are so many tools out there that can shorten your learning curve or enhance your offerings. If you are not tech-savvy, find someone who is. Maybe there is something you can barter that they need until you can both share financially. But, if that isn’t the case, technology challenges can cause you to be behind the 8-ball so find a way to stay as current as possible. There are so many tools that are free to use…and I bet that YouTube has a tutorial on that. When you are ready to add to your team, someone with strengths in technology would be one of the first to add.
- Think About Revenue From The Beginning-Some entrepreneurs are lucky enough to have investors that will help finance their businesses. Most of us are not that fortunate. Either way, have to think about “Show Me The Money” from the beginning. What is your cash flow? How will you pay your bills without dipping into your personal funds? You want your business to grow and like it or not, money is part of that. Be part of the 10% not the 90% of businesses that succeed.
Michael Dell said, “Ideas are a commodity. Execution of them is not.”