Always Dreamed of Starting a Business? Do These 8 Things First
Have you always dreamed of starting your own business, but not sure what kind of business, how or where to start?
If you’re thinking about making the leap from a predictable 9–5 job into the world of entrepreneurship, it’s easier now more than ever to do so. With startup and marketing costs being driven down by technology and immediate access to research and information, starting a business is not as daunting as it may seem. Even if it’s a side hustle, you’re still venturing out on your own and taking control of your destiny.
While it’s easy to start a business, keeping the business afloat takes determination, resourcefulness, tenacity, and patience. However, if you can get through it, it’s well worth the ride.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 17 years. I’ve started for profit companies and a non-profit organization. I’ve had employees, 1099 contractors, different types of corporations, and been a sole proprietor. As a certified business and entrepreneurship coach, I help people start and grow their own businesses and diversify their income streams. As a Life Coach, I help entrepreneurs and senior-level executives get past any limiting beliefs and mindset blocks, get unstuck, and discover their purpose.
In addition to that, I mentor students in the Paul Merage School of Business at University of California, Irvine in its Masters of Entrepreneurship program. I’ve seen people start a business and fail miserably, and I’ve seen people start a business and become a huge success. I’ve had my own ups and downs in business. Research has consistently shown that roughly 20% of businesses fail within their first year. Almost half of all businesses don’t make it past 5 years.
If you want to be one of the lucky ones who survives and thrives, here are some tips to help get you started and guide you along the way in your entrepreneurial journey:
- Figure out what you want to do. Make sure you are pursuing a business opportunity that aligns with your passions and purpose. Otherwise, you won’t be as passionate about building, growing and maintaining it. For example, if you love pets, consider starting a pet business. If you’ve always had a knack for working on cars, look into starting an automotive business.
- Choose the best opportunity that fits your lifestyle. I love event and party planning. I’m good at it. However, it would require me to work nights and weekends. That doesn’t fit my lifestyle, so a professional party planner I’m not.
- Do your research. Research the market, any competitors, trends, and where there’s a hole in the market that a new product or service could fill.
- Determine your goals. What do you hope/expect to achieve? You can expect to work practically 24/7 at first so be prepared for your new business to consume a great deal of your time and your life, especially within the first few years. This is your new baby and babies are a lot of work.
- Determine what type of business you want to start — an online business or a brick and mortar? Are you going to sell physical products or services based on an area of expertise? Do you want to be a sole proprietor, LLC, or S-Corp? Will you have partners? Do you plan on hiring W2 employees or 1099 contractors.
- Line item all startup costs. If you’re starting a brick and mortar ,what size space will you need? What’s the rent and cost of utility bills? Then there are the costs of products (if you’re selling physical products), a domain name, web site and marketing costs, business license, and other services you may need. Make a list of every single cost down to the last penny. NOTE: An online service-based businesses will require fewer startup costs than a brick and mortar, or product based business.
- Determine how you are going to raise the capital needed to start the business. SBA loan? Crowdfunding campaign? Investors? Savings? Friends and family?
- Invest in yourself. Sign up for courses that will give you guidance in business planning, budgeting, staffing, sales, marketing, and growth strategies. Also consider courses that help with leadership and communication skills. Hire a good mentor who specializes in entrepreneurship so you don’t have to go it alone, and you always have someone to help you with accountability, any mindset blocks or limiting beliefs. A good mentor can also serve as a sounding board and someone with whom you can bounce ideas off of.
Now that you have the basics down, you can move forward with starting your dream business. With hard work and dedication, and depending up your upfront costs, you can begin to see a return in your investment especially if the new product or service you offer are in a high demand market, or if they fill a void in the market.
Starting and owning a business comes with its challenges. Don’t get discouraged when you’re faced with roadblocks or obstacles. They’re going to happen. You just need to push through and remain focused on your goals and why you decided to start a business in the first place.
Being an entrepreneur means you are willing to take risks and ride the roller coaster of entrepreneurship. It is very rewarding, but it’s not for the faint at heart. With the right foundation and by remaining positive, focused, disciplined, and having an attitude of perseverance and a lot of grit, you can make your business a long-term success.