The biggest fear of starting a small business is failure, but there are things you can do to limit your chances of failure and increase your potential for success. While most of the advice here is not new, we are going to remind you of them and try to put a new angle on them so they make more sense.
Have passion for your work. Having passion for your work does not mean that it is your only calling, but you need to be excited about it to the point where others see your passion. Starting a small business is not easy, and if it seems too easy, you might be doing something wrong. It is important that you enjoy what you are doing, because it will take a lot of work and personal energy to ensure that your small business venture has a chance of being successful. There are questions that you need to ask yourself before you even consider starting a new business as a ‘solopreneur.’
Are you self-disciplined and do you have the self confidence needed to carry on your business when things go wrong early? Are you ready to take on the responsibilities of being the person in charge who makes all decisions, without someone helping you share in those responsibilities and their potential consequences? Most importantly, do you have the passion to make the sacrifices and put in the hard work that it will take to get your small business going?
Don’t quit your current job yet! Unless you want to burn through your savings and nest egg, the best thing to do when planning and launching your small business is to keep working. This is until the business is off the ground or bringing in a cash flow that supports itself and you. Unless your job interferes with your business, the longer you keep working, the more money you can keep in your bank account. Keeping your existing job will also allow you to keep the money you make to live off of. Separate from the money that you have raised to start your business.
Plan, plan, plan. As we have stated in other blogs, the key to the success most small business ventures is in the planning. It is usually while creating and writing your business plan that you might might find problems that might encounter when you launch your business. A good business plan will not only act as a set of blueprints for building your business, it will also be a good measuring tool of what you expected and what is reality – and let you make course changes if needed. If you go back to some of our other blogs on starting a small business, you will most likely see us on many occasions quote serial entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin, who said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!.” Besides being a guideline for starting your business, a solid business plan is what you will need to attract investors or lenders to your small business.
Researching is not just for your business plan. Yes, you will need to do a bit of research in creating your business plan, but it does not stop there. How are you going to become an expert in your field or industry if you do not know the in’s and out’s of who the players are in the game, and what others have learned before you? You do not want to be spinning your wheels, unless of course your business is all about changing common practices. If you are trying to revolutionize an industry practice with a new idea, make sure you research others who have tried to do the same thing already.
Do not try to go it alone. Every first-time entrepreneur thinks that they have what it takes to do it alone. But most of the ones with that mindset have set themselves up for failure. You need a support system while you’re starting a business. This could be a spouse or other family members to bounce ideas off of, or even just to lend an ear so that you can hear the problem yourself when you verbalize it. Not every entrepreneur has the benefit of a mentor, but sometimes having someone to talk through a problem with (even if they do not understand the whole issue entirely), can be a great way to overcome a situation and help you to persevere.
Money spent on professionals can save you time and money. Bookkeepers, accountants and lawyers often sound expensive and sometimes they are, but trying to do something you are not an expert at can not only cost you more money, but also your business! Besides, do you really want to learn the jobs of these professionals while you are trying to start your business? You want to keep your focus on your core strengths, and not on wasting valuable marketing and sales time taking care of administrative necessities. This is also why you want to consider having your office at a business centre that offers no hassle office space, as well as on-demand secretarial and administrative services.
Do not just hire professionals, be one yourself! It is important to show potential customers and clients that you are not just some sort of ‘back-alley’ business that runs out of your car or from your garage. You need to have a polished look for your company (even if you are working out of your car or from your garage). When you are starting your business, office space might not be in the budget, but a professional business address should be. Office business centres like Telsec offer virtual-office solutions that can give you a mailing address and a telephone service at a prestigious business address, thus giving your small business a more professional look. Having an address like 1 Yonge Street on your business card and other marketing materials, tells your prospective clients that you mean business.
Having a professional address is not the end of your professional appearance. These days clients are going to investigate how professional you are as a business owner and as a person. The Internet is a great place to market your brand, product or service. But it is also where your clients are going to research you as the business owner. You need to look at all your personal social media accounts and interactions, to make sure that there is nothing that you have posted that might seem unprofessional or may be offensive to potential clients.
There are plenty of other tips out there to help you start your small business, as well as how to get over certain obstacles. Subscribe to our blog and our social media channels. Let us bring our advice and that of other experts to you.