Starting a business can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. There are things entrepreneurs can do as they are starting out to build a solid business foundation and help ease the process.
There are numerous items to address, and each item should receive an equal amount of attention to help balance the process, as well as the business itself.
HAVE LIKE MINDED PEOPLE AROUND YOU
According to a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, professional networks and communities are vital to entrepreneurial success. Having like-minded people around can help you navigate the ups and downs of establishing a business.
“Starting something on your own, no matter what it is, comes with challenges that are likely things you haven’t been through before,” said Jenny Watzka, a former corporate consultant for major professional services firms turned business strategist for online entrepreneurs. “I highly recommend surrounding yourself with people who already live the life you are working for because they know what it’s like.”
The Internet and social media make it convenient to connect with like-minded people and build a community. LinkedIn and Facebook Groups bring together people with similar interests where they can ask questions, exchange advice and provide general support. Finding a group online or connecting with your favorite podcast host can also be a way to find people to later meet offline.
If offline connections are more your style, the local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary organization may host professional networking events or meet-ups for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
“If you have a network of peers, supporters and/or mentors prior to starting your business, it will be easier to navigate the process since you have a community of go-to people,” Watzka said.
“This doesn’t mean abandoning your friends, but new entrepreneurs often find it hard to only connect to people in the traditional world since they likely don’t understand your struggles or have answers to business-related questions.”
A STRONG MINDSET
Entrepreneurship will provide moments of exhilaration where you’re on top of the world. There will also be the exact opposite – times of self-doubt, financial struggles and client challenges.
“As an entrepreneur, you are taking risks and doing the unfamiliar daily. Some days will be so mind-blowing that you think you are on top of the world and it will never end. Then other days will be filled with doubts and fears as you are stepping into the unknown,” said Dr. Shannon Irvine, who has a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in neuro-psychology and neuro-plasticity.
“The moment you realize that you have 100% control over how you think and how you interpret those thoughts is the day you take the foot off the break and catapult yourself to the next level because you will start to hardwiring the type of successful thinking that will get you there.”
Determining what feels right to you for a break from your business. It could be meditation, journaling, daily positive affirmations, or a walk in the park to focus on the present moment, not what’s looming with your business.
PREPARE TO BE A BUSINESS OWNER
Most soon to be entrepreneurs (a.k.a. “wantrepreneurs”) get excited about following their passion and doing what their heart desires. Unfortunately, the excitement sometimes means they lose sight of important foundations of a business.
“Take care of the legal aspects of your business as well as the financial ones,” Watzka said. “This has to be done well initially to help prevent issues in the future. Then, entrepreneurs need to set a routine need of regularly monitoring both so they don’t constantly worry about it, or get caught off guard.”
This will help put entrepreneurs mind at ease providing time to focus the things that inspired them to start the business in the first place, Watzka added.
DO THE RESEARCH
You have a great idea for a new business or product and can barely contain your excitement. You were ready to act on your idea yesterday, but there’s something very important to do first: research.
Start by seeing what else is out there. Is your product or service needed? Are there similar offerings available already? What works and what doesn’t for those offerings?
I’m in a mastermind program with Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. He is the author os a book called Will It Fly and the book addresses all of these questions to test your business idea so you don’t waste time or money.
The book talks about being clear on who your target audience is and the problem you’re going to solve for them; approaching your target audience and asking questions to learn more about their wants and needs; and most importantly, what they think of your idea.
Test and tweak your business plan as necessary based on your research results.
HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE
Studies have found that writing a business plan makes startups more likely to succeed. Use the information you gathered from your research, along with your entrepreneurial concept, to write a solid business plan.
Jennifer Dawn, a business coach for high achieving entrepreneurs, says it’s one thing to write a plan, but another to do it strategically.
“It’s not a novel and shouldn’t be too lengthy or complicated. Drill down to the essentials so it becomes a workable plan to follow,” Dawn said.
“Another pair (or two) of eyes on your plan before you execute can be the difference between success and failure. An outside perspective from a business mentor or coach can find gaps in the plan, offer new insights, or more efficient ways of proceeding.”
Dawn believes this is ground zero for success and created a planner to give a business owner more time, focus, and clarity.
DON’T BE A BEST KEPT SECRET
How can people do business with you if they don’t know about you? They can’t.
As you go through all of the above stages to get your business off the ground, you need to be sharing it with your audience – on your social media, your website, to your email list, and friends and family.
Also, don’t be afraid to jump on media opportunities. You do not need to be a big brand to contribute to news outlets, be a guest on a podcast, or even appear in your local newspaper on your local TV station. You just need to be willing to share your expertise with others who can benefit from it.
Starting a business is an exciting time for entrepreneurs. It’s often when they are realizing a dream, envisioning their success and craving personal fulfillment. Setting a solid foundation with these aspects will make the success much more enjoyable and attainable.