Nothing will completely prepare you for starting a business, but there are some things that you can do to set yourself up well. Some of the areas highlighted below are stumbling blocks in many businesses that I have observed. While they are relatively minor, they could make a world of difference if considered earlier in the journey of starting a business rather than later.
Like building a house, it always takes longer than you think. So make sure you have enough financial resources to sustain you for longer than you expect. While some new businesses are a roaring success from day one, this is the exception rather than the rule. In the start up phase, you will be investing funds into the business rather than drawing from it.
Running a new business is stressful enough on its own. You don’t need the additional worry of how to feed yourself and pay the bills. Have a buffer to cover your living expenses and whatever buffer you decide, add 6 months to that!
Expect the best but prepare for the worst ~ Muhammad Ali Jinah
Saying that you aren’t good with figures, isn’t good enough if you want to start a business. This is an essential skill. If you think it’s not an area of strength, then learn, whether it’s doing a course, getting coached or mentored. It’s an area that too many business owners outsource and delegate to their detriment. Do you know what cash flow means and what happens when you don’t get cash flow right for your business? You don’t? Warning…… red light!!
If you are going to run your own business, start getting comfortable with technology. Technology is your friend and is a huge time and cost saver. There are many free or low cost tools available that rely only on you being open with technology and willing to learn. Accessing some of these tools could save you thousands of dollars, either from improved productivity or from negating the need to outsource an activity.
Build your support network. If you have been employee all this time, the isolation of running your own business can come as a shock. You are it and the buck stops with you. Good peer support networks provide moral support and the opportunity to exchange ideas. They are also good networking opportunities.
You should work on your business plan BEFORE you start your business. The planning is the key, not the plan itself. The thinking and the research that goes into a business plan is the foundation of every good business. You should be considering the viability of your product/service, your target market, your competition, your funding requirements, your strengths and weaknesses, your risks, just to name a few.
Business Planning articles:
- Business Planning Myth – “I don’t need one”
- Business Planning – Clarifying your vision
- Business Planning – Core values are your foundation
- What the SWOT?
- One page business plan
- A quick guide to using cash flow in a small business
Perhaps this post should be followed by 5 more things you should know before you start your business, but until then, I hope these have given you some food for thought.