Starting a small business initially can be scary, overwhelming, exciting, and stressful. Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed, unprepared and doubtful. There are many do’s and don’ts involved in starting your own small business, but here are a few basic ones to keep in mind throughout the entire process, as well as after your business is up and running:
- Develop a thorough business plan. A basic, strong plan contains a description of the product or service, the customers you plan on serving, an agenda that includes financial forecasts, principle management roles and descriptions, capitalization and investments. It also never hurts to include your reason for starting your small business. Logic, knowledge and preparedness go a long way, but passion is what keeps the owner motivated and committed.
- Consider a business partner. Two efforts are often better than one. Plus, financial institutions are more willing to lend capital to partners than they are to a lone owner. Also keep in mind that each person you go in to business with brings unique and important assets to the business. A business partner may not be right for everyone depending on personalities, backgrounds, etc. Should you decide to partner, seek someone you know professionally, first and foremost, and that you’re fully aware of their background, skills and expertise, strengths and weaknesses. Approach your choice in a business partner like you would approach choosing a spouse. It’s a serious commitment.
- Do your homework. It should be a no-brainer to conduct in-depth research on the industry and market you wish to start your business in. It’s better to already have at least some experience or a base of familiarity in place, that way you at least have a basic or higher understanding of the market, the economics, demographics, past issues and trends, as well as current, so you are able to forecast and prepare your business for any future economical and demographic changes that may occur. Plus, understanding your customers is crucial!
- Don’t be afraid. Remember: with achievement comes risk. Every entrepreneur has been in your shoes; it’s scary starting out, but by having full confidence in yourself and your business, you’re potential is high. . Yes, you will make mistakes; those are inevitable. When you fail it’s because you failed to learn from those mistakes. Don’t be so afraid of failing that you miss your opportunities to succeed. With self-confidence, an open mind, innovative spirit and an optimistic attitude, you are a force to be reckoned with.
- Don’t get ahead of yourself. Focus on one thing at a time. Determine your final decision on individual tasks and aspects, then move on to the next. Baby steps! Some characteristics of the business you can’t decide on until another prior decision is made anyways. You will only overwhelm yourself if you try to tackle everything at once and decide on important elements without clearly thinking them through. Determine the important basics first, then move on to the details.
- Don’t forget why you started in the first place. After the start-up process has begun and things begin to become more chaotic, stressful and overwhelming, remember to take a deep breath and reflect on why you wanted to start your business in the first place. Your passion is what drives your business. There will be hard times where you may doubt yourself or feel like you “just can’t do it.” Take a step back. Remember what’s most important to you and the reason for your entrepreneurial spirit. We guarantee you’ll rediscover your motivation, passion, confidence, and optimism all over again.
Every single business owner has felt how you’re feeling when they started out. Sometimes, it even helps to simply sit down with another small business owner and express your concerns and fears. Since they’ve been where you are, they can lend a comforting ear and wise words.