Thinking About Starting a Business?
Thinking about starting a business? Why not, right? Given the fact that 80% of the millionaires in the great US of A are self-made means the odds could be worse. Don’t get me wrong According to Bloomberg, “8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn.” That’s a pretty large number of failures to consider before taking on this tough, but rewarding challenge. For perspective, that number is close to the drop-out, or failure, rate for US Navy Bomb Squad School and the US Navy SEAL’s. Though not a BUD’s graduate, I am obviously a qualified US Navy EOD Diver and the 14 months of school wasn’t easy but, it was rewarding and occasionally fun. The really hard stuff happens after training. The parallels in business are remarkably the same.
You start not really knowing what you’re getting into, at least in my case on both accounts, you figure it out or hopefully you figure it out well enough in time, you take your best calculated risks, learn a few more things along the way and hopefully within the first 3 years you’re running a stable and profitable business. As you grow the challenges grow with them; finding and keeping the right team, staying ahead of the competition, optimizing your operation…continually, etc., etc., etcetera. Sounds like both bomb disposal and business, right?
So, what should you consider when starting a new business from scratch? Well, too much to consider for this blog, but there are some “big ticket” things to bear in mind.
A Couple of Insider Tips for Starting a Business
- Don’t start your business with the wrong mindset. You probably shouldn’t go into it thinking you’ll be a kazillionaire the next day, but approach it with a passionate, marketable idea. Find something you can get yourself and others, easily behind, especially your spouse or significant other as they are your best support mechanism and ardent cheerleader.
- Have a viable idea to go to market with. Take the time do put together a business plan. In doing so you’ll quickly understand what your challenges and strengths are. Not to mention, you’ll need one anyway for a Small Biz loan.
- Poor management will undo you before anything gets done. Whether it’s you or the team you put together or both it has to be properly focused and adequately prepared. Misunderstandings due to bad communications or a lack of leadership or having your team counter-culture what your core beliefs and values are will surely undo any new start-up.
- Need a marketing strategy. Whether it’s a website, door to door, social media or all of the above…figure it out and do it fast. Often the biggest challenge is time and money, but both will have to be properly sorted.
- Capital…nuff said. How do you get it? There are small business loans, there’s friends and family, there’s investors, your savings…pick one or more it is likely you’ll need them all. Be careful though, as this is where things get dangerous. Whether it’s due to outrageous terms, stressing friendships or family, mishandling any funds through poor planning or judgement this list is long and less than distinguished.
Those are just five big topics and I could easily touch on location, location, location or over-expansion or timing, etc., etc., etcetera.
Next time you’re in a crowd of say…10 people, look around and see what two could be successful entrepreneurs. Hopefully you’re half of that exclusive club!
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