Becoming a business owner is one of the most important decisions anyone can make. The amount of time, money, and effort it takes to create and sustain a successful business is monumental. There are key questions you must ask yourself before diving in headfirst into starting a new business.
Understanding what motivates you before going into business is no small task. Starting a business involves a huge amount of risk. It’s also a marathon, not a sprint. Creating a viable and successful business takes time and will no doubt require many sacrifices. For most entrepreneurs hitting the ground running is easy, it’s sustaining that stride when the going gets tough which can be hard. Everyone will have different factors that motivate them to continue in business like money, fame, financial freedom, pride, or whatever else floats your boat. The important step is to identify your personal motivation before the going gets tough.
Miscalculating the financial side of your business is the single most reason businesses fail. I suggest you take a painstaking effort to create an estimated startup cost for your new business. Take the time to prepare the proper financial statements, cash flow analysis, breakeven graphs, and strategies for borrowing money. It’s incredibly important to be realistic in your analysis. Don’t sell yourself short by denying the reality of how expensive a new businesses. If this is your first business or first venture into a new market try to look for case studies of the businesses which have blazed a trail for you. Take their financial information and incorporate it into your plan for a more realistic picture.
If you have decided to start a new business and haven’t already started marketing it you might be a day late and a dollar short. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you must be marketing your new business before you are open for business to increase your chance for success. It is one thing to develop a marketing strategy your head, and a completely different thing to actually implement that strategy. I recommend new businesses have at least four contingency plans in case their marketing strategy falls short of expectations. Marketing your business is your plan of attack.
Think about how the Navy SEALs went after Osama bin Laden. They had contingency plans for every possible. scenario that could go down that night and things didn’t go perfectly. They crashed the helicopter in the courtyard for crying out loud. But they fell back on the other plans they had made and were still successful in their mission. You need to have multiple plans to get your business in the hands of consumers. And don’t forget when it comes to marketing, it takes a lot of money to get the word out. I can promise you it will take at least twice as much as you think to market your business.
Having a proper business plan in writing is one of the most basic aspects of any business, but you’d be surprised how often it gets overlooked by business owners. The business plan you create will be your road map for success. It must outline every intricacy you can think of for your business. Marketing budgets, employees, taxes, graphs, competition, and the list goes on and on and on. Your business plan must be a living document. If the market changes then so does your business plan. Don’t leave home without it!