10 Steps to Start Your Business in 2018

 

 

  1. Know the success equation. Passion+Talent+Action+Association=Success. I can’t remember where I first heard this, it may have been Tony Robbins.  Identifying what you are passionate about and centering your business around this passion is key. It will help get you through the tough days when things are not going the way you envisioned. Passion will get you up early in the morning and keep you up late at night moving your business forward. Talent can be any natural or learned skilled. We all have a talent we can tap into to generate income. If you are going to work every day and getting paid you have a talent or skill that someone will pay you for. Waiting for perfection…forget it. Get started taking classes, reading, learning to increase your skill level. In a Forbes article: Why Perfection Is The Enemy of Done, contributor Deep Patel states, ” Too often, people mistake progress for perfection. They spend more time staring at the weeds than they do assessing the forest. They get lost in the details instead of asking whether their work is moving them in the right direction. And most of all, they are confused about the meaning of “done.” Read the full article here

Action-the paralysis of analysis is real. Great ideas are nothing unless put into action. Procrastination costs you time and money. Keep moving even if that means flipping a coin. New entrepreneurs resources are often limit and decisions must be made carefully, but they must be made nonetheless. It is only by taking action and making decisions can you start moving forward. Association– You must associate with people whom you can learn from and understand the entrepreneurial journey. Stay away from people who are negative. No one can see your vision but you. No one will believe in your vision but you. People will talk to you sarcastically when you tell them about what you are working toward. Some people have been conditioned to depend on others for their personal and financial well-being. You are fully aware depending on someone else for your well being is not a good decision.

 

Steps to take before you go into your business fulltime

 

2. Proof of Concept- Take steps to demonstrate that you can generate income. Will people pay you for your product and/or service? What problem does your product or service solve? Business is about solving problems real or perceived. For some people, finding the perfect pair of shoes to go with an out is a serious problem. Research your competition what are they doing well and what can be improved upon. Identify gaps in the market that can be capitalized on. Generate a couple of sales this will improve your confidence and provide data needed to move forward.

3. Develop a Business Plan-  The business plan can be as short as one page. Here is a one-page template from 100Startup.com. One of the purposes of a business plan is to provide a gauge to measure success and provide a plan of action. A business plan should be fluid because nothing ever goes as planned. Marketing-how will you acquire customers this is one of the most critical aspects of any business. Family and friends are great starting points but you must build out your marketing efforts. Identifying where your potential customers are is critical to not waste marketing dollars.

4. Personal Finances – Before you take the plunge to pursue your business fulltime it is critical to have your personal finances in order. Starting a business is stressful enough compound that with problems paying the car note and mortgage is a recipe for disaster. There is not a magic number it varies for everyone. Steps, I took prior to leaving my corporate job: I refinanced my mortgage and saved a few hundred dollars per month. Traded in my Lexus for a more economical Toyota that didn’t need premium gas and had lower repair cost. Switched my cable tv provider and saved a hundred dollars a month and paid down my one credit card. My goal was to maintain the lifestyle my family had become accustomed to while I pursue my dreams. Because I wasn’t depending on income from the business to pay living expenses it relieved a lot of stress. Income generated could be put right back into the business to help grow the business. After getting your personal finances in order, if needed work part-time or freelance. I continued to work the part-time job I have had for the last 17 years.

5. Business Finances- How much capital will it take to get you up and running with the right tools and equipment. Know what you will need to produce your product or deliver your service. Going into business not having the tools you need to produce quality work will lead you to work much harder and longer. Doing the Proof of Concept phase you should be accessing what you will need. Some items you will need right away. Other items you will not need until you get your first customer or to grow. Be prepared financially to pay for these expenses when you need them.

 

Take care of  yourself

 

6. Keep a Journal- At least twice a week if not daily write down your goals and why they are important to you. You must remain focus on your goals and the actions needed to move forward. Review your journal when seeds of doubt and frustration creep in. You will want to give up and give in at times. You must stay the course and give yourself time. Does that mean to stay with a losing enterprise? No. It might mean you must pivot short term while you recalibrate. You must not give up forever. Les Brown, the motivational speaker, has a great story in which he imagines what if on your deathbed it wasn’t your family surrounding you but all the dreams and talent that you didn’t pursue and develop.

7. Take care of your health- Your health is your most important asset. It allows you to pursue your business at full speed. Workout  3 to 4 days week, you can use this time to listen to podcasts and think through issues you are having. You won’t feel like it at some days go anyway. You must get in the habit of doing things you don’t want to do but you know will benefit you long term.

8. Serve others- You must have sincere desire to help others. It is only by being of service to others will you reach your goals. As business owners, we are directly dependent on others finding value in our product or service. We must give more value to our customers than we received in the form of payment. That starts with listening closely to what our customers need and working proactively to resolve problems when they arise.

 

You are in business to make money

 

9. Stick to your prices- It is so tempting when starting out to reduce your prices in an effort to attract business. This often leads to a downward spiral and leads you to take on more business at a reduced price which affects your bottom line. There will be projects you take on at a reduced price or free to gain exposure and experience. These projects must be strategic and planned and not out of desperation. Everyone is not meant to be your customer and that’s okay. Just make sure your price is competitive with others in the market.

10. Get Paid! As a new business don’t extend credit. At the very minimum take a deposit. You can read here, my experience taking on a project and not getting paid. Cash flow is the blood of your business, you must keep it flowing. You can explain to potential customers that your prices are affordable because you don’t have expenses related to collections. Send over the invoice via e-mail with an electronic payment option. Most business customers will understand.  Under no circumstances should you extend any credit in business to consumer transactions.

I hope you will be able to take something away from this article to help move you forward on your journey. You owe it to yourself to pursue all of your dreams.  To quote Colin Powell, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” 

 Jef Scot focuses on providing solutions to small businesses in the areas of website design and hosting, direct mail and online marketing. We would love to work with you on creating your vision. Please check out our solutions page and use the discount code: business2018 for $50 off. Feel free to contact us at info@jefscot.com with any questions or special projects you would like a customized quote.   

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