Building my own business was, for me, an exciting adventure to embark upon. But if you want to set yourself up for success, there’s a number of preparations that should be made.
So many people start their own business because they’re looking for an easier schedule and more free time. And while that can be an end result down the road, fulfilling the dream of building a business means hard work, long hours and an incredible investment of your energy, especially in the beginning. Here are 5 important things I wish I’d known more about before starting to build a new business.
A Very Strong Work Ethic
Whereas large companies have many employees, one person starting a business will find that they have few, if any, people to rely upon outside of themselves.
The same can be said for the lack of structure a person finds when they strike out on their own. Self-discipline is a vital trait I found I was lacking when those days came along when I needed to put my head down and push through instead of spending my time in more enjoyable pursuits. I discovered there wasn’t anyone outside of myself to enforce working hours.
That all being said, there are some great apps out there today to help with staying focused at least while you’re at the computer, such as Freedom and Focus At Will. I found apps like these helped me focus on my writing — especially when I worked by myself and had no one else to hold me accountable for my productivity.
A Viable Financial Plan
For some people like me, it’s easy to leap off the cliff of stability and into the unknown, whereas others find they need more solid planning in place before they can move forward. In this case, the latter kind of folk will find themselves in a better position to get a business up and running.
In the chaos that can define the beginning of a business, the last thing you want to worry about is where the money for next month’s bills will be coming from. Better to ensure you have a solid nest egg and a workable financial plan to get through the starting stages. When I was looking to manage my finances more efficiently, I found this Forbes article on money management incredibly helpful.
A Solid Business Plan
This obviously goes hand in hand with proper management of your business’ finances, but it also means building the foundations of your business on a solid product/service/idea that fulfills a need within a specific market. Personally, I always had plenty of passions and entrepreneurial drive, but sometimes figuring out what need I could fulfill was a challenge.
Of course, once you identify that need and create something to fulfill it, it’s all about figuring out how to deliver the product to that market and connect with potential buyers. And finally, a comprehensive plan should also be taking potential growth into consideration and, if all goes well, what direction you will move once your business begins to expand. I found that using a business coach was incredibly helpful to turn my ideas into a business plan that I could actually execute, especially when I felt stuck in the process (or in my own head!).
Knowledge in Computers and Security
The internet is the world today, quite literally. I was lucky enough to come into this world predisposed toward technology. Still, when it came to starting a business, I had more than a few setbacks due to technical issues.
With almost any business, an online presence is absolutely essential. That means creating a website, sometimes one that is even capable of processing orders and payments. While a website doesn’t sound too difficult, it’s actually a complex procedure that can require considerable technical knowledge if you don’t want to pay someone else big bucks to create and maintain it.
It also means heightened security for the computers and servers connected to your business as small businesses can be a prime target for hackers. In recent years people had used network-based services, such as Dropbox or iCloud, to host their data. However, various security incidents have driven some people to network data storage alternatives such as Cloud Clarity, a similar service but with HIPAA-compliant security measures in place.
Patience and Endurance
This might be one of the biggest necessities. Despite how carefree and easy some of the big online entrepreneurs can make it seem, starting your own business is a tough gig. For me, it took a lot of dedication amidst rough times and moments when my dreams seemed unachievable.
These occurrences are inevitable and you’re going to need the patience to see your investment through, which sometimes can take years. Trust me, for small business owners, perseverance and resilience are simply must-haves.
While starting your own business may be a challenging endeavor, it’s still an amazing experience for those who choose to attempt it and an incredible way to work if you hit it right.
Written by Kelly Clay