Starting a business can be scary.
But it’s not as scary as you think, especially if you prepare yourself at the start.
Sure, there are lots of things you have to do and understand or learn. But you can learn this!
In fact, I’ve written a report and checklist on all the steps you need to take when you start a new business which you can get here.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about this week.
I wanted to talk about how you have to get you ready!
What do I mean by that?
One of the scariest thoughts you will have – from time to time – is “can I do this?”
You would not be human if you did not have self-doubt.
Even for the most confident amongst us, they will still wonder if they can “do this” because they will be thinking about whether they have enough capital or if they can make the sales targets.
For many, it is a question about themselves – “can I do this? Do I have what it takes?”
And indeed, that is the most important piece of preparation you can take when you start a new business, to check your personal readiness.
By personal readiness, I mean do you actually know what you’re in for, are you realistic about the time and emotional commitment and your ability to withstand stress? Because once you ask yourself those questions, you can prepare yourself accordingly.
Once the unknown is understood and expected, you can do this.
Let’s talk about the type of character you will need to develop.
Please, be yourself in whatever you do, but also be aware that to be in business you cannot be shrinking violet.
You will need to be able to talk to people you don’t know, to market yourself to others, and to be able to negotiate sales and purchases.
Let me tell you that I am not the most outgoing person. My personality profile under the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator is INTJ. I won’t go into the whole analysis but the “I” stands for Introvert. It means, pretty much, I’m shy.
So, I have had to find ways to look to others as if I were as confident as I actually feel inside – a form of fake it until I make it to the outside world!
You will need discipline and determination so that you stick the course. You cannot afford to give up at the first hurdle because there will be plenty of those!
There will be sacrifices to be made as you start and indeed run your business. You may have to sacrifice weekends, time with kids, even family holidays. You may have to sacrifice some personal asset so that you can afford to invest in the business when it needs additional capital.
This is where your discipline and determination will help, where you keep your eye on the main goal because trust me, it does become easier and as you establish your business and, in time build on it and grow, you will find that time you can take off to spend with friends and family.
However, if you give up too early, that will never transpire.
Where does the need for discipline come in?
When you are your own boss, there isn’t someone there to tell you what to do and to “punish” you if it isn’t done. There isn’t anyone to check the quality or completeness of what you do. There isn’t anyone else to “reward” you for hitting your targets.
So, you need to be disciplined to keep doing the small things consistently every day by yourself.
You can, of course, ask someone you know who has “been there”.
Ask them what it’s like being in business for themselves, especially in those early years.
They will be able to give you a lot of information about the highs and lows, and of course, you need the information about the lows so that you are ready for them.
You also need to be prepared to learn a lot of new skills.
A small business owner cannot run a business just by knowing all the technical stuff about their product or service.
They have to be bookkeepers and develop a commercial sense. They have to be marketers and customer service representatives. They have to recruit people and build teams. They have to understand ordering and timeliness of deliveries and how to stay organised.
You do not need to be an expert as long as you are aware of the need to think differently from just thinking about how to make your product or provide service.
Once you see the need, you can learn some of these skills, or you can hire people or contract professionals.
The important thing is to understand the different types of skills your business will need, and decide before you even start on how you will find them – in yourself or through others. Be prepared!
Ultimately, it is about your “Why?”
Why are you doing this? Why are you potentially putting yourself through some pain? What is it you are ultimately wanting to achieve?
It had better be a good enough reason because sometimes it is the only thing that will drive you to keep going!
Your “Why” is your purpose.
It’s not just money. Money is simply a vehicle to allow you to fulfil your purpose.
In some, their purpose is to shine bright amongst their peers and be recognised. In others it’s about doing something for the world, like inventing the best mousetrap. In yet others, it’s about proving something can be done like the Wright Brothers and heavier-than-air flight.
Most of all, I have found that a driving purpose is to look after your loved ones.
Once you find your “Why” and it is strong enough, you will find that it drives you through thick and thin in business, not just to succeed but to succeed brilliantly!
So, before you worry about tax registrations and what type of company you should start your business in; before you worry about how many people you will hire; before you think about systems and procedures and business plans, ask yourself what is your “Why?”
Make sure that you understand it and it is strong enough to keep driving you, then define from that purpose a vision of the kind of business you want to start. What will it look like when you have finished? From that, make sure you know what your personal goals and objectives are so that these can form the basis for your business’ goals and objectives.
Make sure you understand what will be asked of you as a business owner, what it may take from you before you “make it”. Make sure you are prepared to learn and to adapt.
But, it’s not as scary as it sounds, it truly isn’t.
It’s only scary because it is still part of the unknown to you.
Know that, and research it and yourself so that you are ready.
Then have fun as a business owner, that really special breed of people who just want to do it for themselves!
To help you get ready, I have written a checklist on starting a new business. You can get it here for free.
Good luck, and have fun!