You might decide one day to start a business. Great! Now what?
The decision itself is the biggest step, but before you open for business here’s what you’ll need to help secure success.
- A Willingness to Accept Risk and Make Risky Decisions. You can’t start a business without some risk. And, entrepreneurs are constantly required to make tough, risky decisions. You need to draw a line in the proverbial sand and cross it. We’re not talking about making stupid or haphazard decisions; but there has to be an acceptance (not just a recognition or understanding) that risky, tough decisions are inevitable, and required for success.
- A Benefit Statement. What benefit will you bring your soon-to-be customers? Crystallize that into 1 or 2 sentences. Your benefit statement will be the center of everything else you do; it will be your focus. And, it will evolve into your mission statement, business plan and sales pitch.
- An Understanding of Your Strengths and Weaknesses. You need to know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. You need to recognize where your weaknesses will hamper the success of your business and find ways to improve on them. You might not have all the answers right away, but if you fail to recognize how your weaknesses will impair your success, you’re going to fail a lot faster. Ways you can shore up your weaknesses include: partnerships, alliances, training, self-learning and outsourcing.
- Money to Survive for 12 Months. Bootstrap till your heart’s content, but make sure you can survive at least 12 months without having to break even. A year should give you enough time to get the business on solid ground. Any less time than that and you might burn out too quickly and be forced to close down just as things are taking off.
- An Early Customer. Find a “guinea pig” customer even before you open for business and that’ll bring multiple advantages. They’ll be a great sounding board for both positive and negative feedback. If all goes well, that first customer will be your staunchest supporter. An early testimonial and referral can go a long way to future success. Some might call this a “partner” which is an apt term; you might not be charging them. They benefit from your product/service, you benefit from having that first customer under your belt. Everyone wins.
Get these ducks in a row and you’ll be giving yourself a better than average chance to succeed. And when you’re first starting up, that’s a great place to be!