So you’ve got an idea? Maybe you’ve seen it before and want to put your spin on it and improve it. Maybe it’s a gap in the market for you to fill. No matter what it is, it’s become the most obsessive thought in your head lately.
Anyone can start a business (it’s really not as difficult as it seems), but not just anyone can succeed at business. So then, how can you be among those few success stories? For starters, try redefining what you think success is, but that’s a different conversation and a different article to read. Let’s say you’re reading this because you haven’t started your business yet, but even if you’ve been at it for a while now, all of us could use a reminder on what to consider when jumping off the deep end in business.
Scope and Size
Knowing where you’re going is everything, but figuring that out takes careful thought. Be proactive in planning your business steps. Forecast where you want to see it in 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years and then practice it like you’re already there. If you know what the finished product looks like, you can prepare for it accordingly. The classic examples of IBM and McDonald’s hold true because they somehow saw their futures and kept pushing until it was reality.
You’ve got to pay to play. Once you know the scope of your business, you’ll likely figure out that it’s going to cost a bit more than you previously thought. So much in fact, that you may need a loan or at least some crowd funding. Don’t worry too much about it because it’s incredibly common. Make a list of what you want/need and price it out, for starters. Be creative and try not to bury yourself in debt, mostly because it’s not worth it. You can realize your dreams without choking out your financial future. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to crowd-fund your idea; you can always reshape your vision to fit your funding.
How much time are you going to need to commit to this every day? How can the company work without you? That’s the million-dollar question. Most people don’t create a business so much as they create a job for themselves. Read any book, article, or blog about business 101 and you’ll see a thousand stories of people who are 6 months into their little dream venture and realize that they hate it, all because the only thing they do is work. If you want to project longevity, you’ve got to envision and strategize for a future where you delegate the day-to-day operations.
Follow-Thru (Legal Stuff & HR)
When I started my first business, what I felt most inept about was the paperwork. The bookkeeping, the licenses, the laws, all of that felt like something I wanted to sweep under the rug and sort of ignore, which works until you get a letter in the mail or a violation notice. Don’t do this to yourself. Taxes and fines are very real and they will find you. With paperwork, being organized is the only way to go. Use your local city/county website to know exactly what licenses, permits and tax requirements you’re going to need. If you can get your initial legal documents in order, my advice would be to outsource it, which yeah, is going to cost more money but then again, tax reporting is no joke. Find a professional employer organization (PEO) or even an HR app to help keep you in good standing with all laws and regulations.
In my opinion, building your creative and supportive network is crucial to your livelihood. It’s so great to have a friend, who’s going through the same things as you, even if they only exist online. Don’t fret if you’re looking around your life thinking, “I don’t know a single person who’s also starting a business right now.” The Internet isn’t just a meme generating, hate-filled forum post; it’s also where you can find a supportive network of people who have succeeded and failed at exactly what you’re trying to do.
All in all, starting a business has a lot of components but it’s an incredible achievement. I hope you’re too driven to give up. I hope you told someone that you’re going to do it. Best-case scenario you might find a business partner. Worst-case scenario, you won’t want to back out because it’ll be too embarrassing! One of the best parts about the whole process is the people you meet along the way. Keep grinding, stay vigilant, and be creative. You can do it!
Have anymore tips to consider before starting your own business? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.