Article by Richard Houwing, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Starting Your Business: 8 Crucial Points to Consider
Before starting your business, I’d like to invite you to take some time to seriously reflect on some major milestones you’ve encountered during the course of your life. Perhaps it was moving far away from the place you grew up, having a child, or even taking a great vacation.
As you recall these events, rewind a bit and think about the time leading up to the event itself. You most likely had to pack for that move, set up a nursery for your child, or book accommodations for that vacation. How did the way you planned for the event impact the results? Looking back, knowing what you know now, you’d probably tweak a few things to get even better results.
Or maybe it all happened by chance. In life, sometimes we will get “lucky”. We will throw caution to the wind and go all in, or things will just come together for us, as if by magic. Maybe you moved because you were offered what was, at that moment, the opportunity of a lifetime.
You didn’t plan on having a child just yet, but it turned out to be an incredible blessing. Fed up with your day to day life, you took that vacation on a whim. For whatever reason, it worked out beautifully.
I promise you that starting your own business – and most importantly, keeping it in operation – will not simply work out somehow. Whatever your past experience, however excited you are to get started right now, fate will not throw together anything resembling long-term success in business for you.
Making Your Own Luck in Business
Naturally, what opening and growing your own business requires will vary. Your industry, your circumstances, and even your geography might be influential in starting off on the right path. However, the following points are worth considering for nearly anyone. While it doesn’t qualify as legal advice, or the end-all-be-all of delving into entrepreneurship, it can inspire you to ask yourself additional questions relevant to your unique situation.
1. Comprehensive planning
I don’t know of a single successful business that got by without some research and planning. When starting a business, don’t just make a plan – make three plans. Or more! Include market research, profiles on your competition, contingency plans for factors that regularly impact your industry, and more. If you want this business to work, conceive of it from every possible angle. When you finish one plan, start another; you’ll definitely think of something that you didn’t the first time around.
2. Level of effort
Are you ready to put in the majority of the work yourself? Are you prepared to make it happen without gratitude from anyone else, without instantly achieving the level of success you hoped for? If you’re prone to becoming discouraged and giving up, think twice. A lot of successful businesses started out with one person doing all of the heavy lifting, with no reward. But their patience and persistence paid off.
3. Emotional objectivity
Here’s one many new business owners don’t think about critically enough. Are you able to set your emotions aside, or are you always behaving according to your moods? Customers, clients, partners, and employees do not form stable, favourable bonds with an owner who has no control over their emotions.
4. Skill and experience
What qualifies you to run this business? Granted, there may be some areas where you’ll need to hire someone with particular expertise, and it’s important to know where these areas are ahead of time. Make a list of all the skills needed to pull it off, and be honest about which ones you don’t currently possess.
You don’t have to be a complete extrovert or social superstar to make it, but it helps to be realistic concerning your communication skills. Are comfortable and confident speaking to people from different backgrounds? Can you assert yourself? Can you clearly state what it is you want? Most importantly, can you adjust your usual communication style and meet people where they’re at? While we are all made of unique personalities scientists have shown that there are some key characteristics that are common among groups of people. Knowing these characteristics will enable you to communicate very effectively. See my blog on personalities for more insight.
While this will be short and to the point, be sure to spend as much time working on this part as possible. How will you fund this business? What will you do if funds run out? How much do you need to invest in equipment? What do you already have (savings, property, electronics) that could be used for the business? If you need to hire, how much can you really afford to pay?
7. The best idea in the room
No one doubts that this business is your baby. Hopefully, it’s something you are passionate about, something you’re committed to seeing through. But are you able to recognize that the smartest approaches aren’t always yours? Savvy, successful business owners listen to feedback, and are down to earth enough to admit when their choices or ideas are not the best in the room.
8. Personal support
The best laid plans can be tanked by a lack of support in your personal life. How do your loved ones feel about this new potential venture? If they aren’t on board or would feel neglected due to the amount of time and energy you’re putting into the business, address this straight away. Do your best to be honest and ensure that everyone’s expectations are appropriate. For instance, it probably isn’t reasonable for your spouse to expect that you’ll be home at the same time every day, or that you’ll immediately start turning an amazing profit.
It’s a lot to think about, but then, you’re just getting started. If addressing all of the above points is too difficult for you, or you don’t think any of it applies, you might consider taking a step back and putting this new venture on hold for the time being.
After all, this information is intended to help you. A huge part of success in business is knowing when you need help, and then accepting it. Always remember that not everyone shares your perspective, and this is actually to your advantage. By gleaning insights, ideas, and opinions from others you trust, you can expand how useful, how desirable your business will become to your target audience.