No one ever said that starting a business would be easy. There’s so much to learn. Technology is constantly changing, and so are people’s way of doing business. With everything that has to go into a business these days, it’s no wonder people who are constantly growing become successful. They understand that things change, and that they have to roll with the punches. If you want to be in business, you better like change.
Owning a business can be one of the most rewarding things that anyone can ever undertake, but beware: it’s not for everyone. You can’t just jump in and hope for the best. But, that’s how most people do it. Planning, timing, and being quick on your feet are everything. You have to be willing to sacrifice, and be willing to fail. If not, don’t even start. Failure is part of the learning curve, and there will be many curves along the way.
Do you have a mentor? You know that person that has done it before you? The one that can warn you of potential pitfalls? The been there, done that guy or gal? If not, then find one before you start. Get the skinny on what it’s really like. Dreams are one thing, reality is a morale buster if not anticipated. Notice I didn’t say “prepared for”. You can’t really prepare for failure, but you can try to minimize it.
Are you excited about what you’re doing? It’s one thing to dream about it, it’s quite another to put it into action. The day to day grind of a business can be both fun, and exciting. But that’s not enough. There will be days when you don’t feel like working, customers and clients complain, the whole day is a bust, the stars aren’t aligned… Whatever. Just be prepared for the downside of a business. Not all of it is fun, much of it can be tedious, and if the business fails: it’s your fault. Period. You can’t blame anyone but yourself. Why? Because ultimately you are responsible for the outcome. Whether it’s a hit, or it bombs.
Do you have a back up plan? If the business doesn’t work out, don’t give up. You may need to re-frame, revamp, or just go in another direction. Is it going to be easy? No. Will it worth it? Yes. All businesses have ups and downs, no matter how successful. So beware that there will be changes over the horizon. If you don’t like change, you need to rethink being in business. Being stuck on a idea, a way of doing things, or because you’ve put so much into it, can spell disaster.
Are you listening to the people who encourage, respect and believe in you? This is a big one. I tried several businesses in the past, and I had one person in my life in particular that was highly invested in seeing me fail. They’re gone now, but there’s always someone to take their place. You have to be your biggest cheerleader, but if you have people in your corner constantly pointing out everything you do wrong, sabotaging, and otherwise making it painful for you to succeed it’s going to be difficult. If that person is a significant other, it’s going to be damn near impossible. They will stop at nothing to undermine you and your business. Find people on the outside that will take up the slack, you can confide in, and get advice from them. Let them be your power partners, and success buddies.
Are you really a business person? Successful business people have a see it through attitude. If you are used to chucking things for whatever reason, then business is not for you. People who have a hard time with failure, disappointment, who blame others by not taking personal responsibility, refuse to be held accountable for anything negative, and aren’t good with finding solutions are not a good fit for business. You just can’t quit when the going gets tough, that might be the very time you need to buckle down and really get to work. It’s also expensive, you’ll lose your investment. If something isn’t working, you need to start by looking at what you are doing. If you’re not an introspective person, your dream business will become your worst nightmare. A failed business is a public humiliation on top of everything else. Can you survive that if it happens? If the answer is no, then you need to rethink if going into business is truly for you. You are completely responsible for 100% of it’s success and 100% of it’s failure.
Owning a business will really show you what you’re made of. Highly successful business people know this. Being in business for yourself is a calling that not many are called to do. Many try, and many fail. But for those that succeed, there’s a feeling of satisfaction that you just won’t believe. They understand that their business is run by several bosses: customers and clients. If your bosses aren’t happy, then you’ll be out of business. Fast. They are the ones in control of your business whether you want to believe that or not. You’re not in the business of selling a product or service: you’re in the people business. People have the money, and they run the show. You just add value and they’ll keep coming back for more. Never forget that.