Coming to the conclusion of starting your business is a tough yet liberating decision. The freedom is the ability to do your own thing, and that no glass ceiling earning potential is the icing. If you haven't done some serious planning and organizing you have already done yourself a huge disservice.
People start businesses thinking simply opening up shop or setting up their online stores is enough. Some haven't taken the time to see the inner workings or budget for the overhead cost. This is why so many first-time business owners end up back in the cubicle they longed to be free from.
Here's how to start a successful business and avoid all unnecessary set backs.
Before you even commit to the idea of having your own business, commit to the research. Somewhere out there in a world of 7+ billion is someone who is successfully doing what you are attempting to do. Find them. Follow their story. Take their advice. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Research your competitors. Learn their work ethics and systems they have in place to run their business. Utilize their demographics and your findings. And remember, the researching never stops. Business is ever evolving, so if you want to stay ahead of the ball, you have to constantly be immersed in the literature, lectures, and networks of your industry. The more you learn, the more you'll earn.
To be a successful entrepreneur you have to be 5 steps ahead of the game. Being proactive in business allows room for error and is also a motivator. So writing out your to do list and placing it on your laptop so it is the first thing you see when logging in. It is a way to help your future self make better decisions. Being proactive can be as simple as creating a contact form on your website even though your contact information is listed on the site. You foresaw copying-and-pasting your email into a new window may turn some potential patrons off. This move alone can increase your conversion.
Proactive is also planning for those rainy days. Through the ups and downs, how will you continue the business? Proactive is the solution to that question.
You have to find a system in which you not only organize your work space for success but your task and time. The organization will help you stay on task. If everything has it's place and time, you eradicate the time spent trying to figure out what to do or where you put those important documents. It doesn't matter if you work from home. Create an office space, a filing system, and a monthly budget. Stick to it. I know sometimes we might feel a little silly having office hours when we work from home, or allocating time for breaks, but you have to treat your business more seriously than any of your past employers treated theirs.
Tip: Create a password spreadsheet. Put all important passwords on it and update regularly. No more hunting for passwords or doing the reset password process.
You are not in competition with anyone. I REPEAT, you are not in competition with anyone. The quote,
“It's a marathon, not a sprint.”
accurately sums up the philosophy new business owners must adopt. If you lack endurance, quitting is inevitable. There is no easy way to start a business and get rich quick schemes are just that, schemes.There will be a long period of time of you investing into the business with no ROI. You will have to put your time, blood, sweat and tears into your business. Then one day all your hard work will pay off. This is not to say the mentality, 'if I wait long enough it will happen' isn't futile because your actions must align with your vision. Your consistency does the rest. So create a timeline of what long and short-term goals you have for your business and follow the in-between steps to achieve them. Don't forget to celebrate your milestones.
Welcome imitators. I know, sounds like a farce, but if you have a brilliant idea (and I know you do) people will jump on your bandwagon. They will market that they did it first or they did it best. Make sure you have an idea that can outshine your competitors. Find your uniqueness and be ready to shift winds when the imitators start copying.
Don't forget to pay yourself! You will need money on reserve for rainy days. I know it's hard when you are just starting your business to not take your profits and feed it right back into your business, but you should instead immediately start a savings account. You need untapped money that is set aside for desperate situations or much-needed upgrades. This is where being proactive kicks in. I always recommend 20-40% of all income be put into your stash. Enjoy watching your security grow.