Do you have a desire to start your own business? Work on your schedule? Have unlimited opportunities for income? Aspiring entrepreneurs have endless opportunities but starting a business is not easy and outside of a franchise, the failure rate is quite high. With the emergence of ‘thought leaders and business coaches on social media, the advice is plentiful, but which strategies are actually effective and how do you execute them? Having a great idea for a product or service won’t help build a successful business on its own.
Here are 6 tips on how you can prepare yourself before starting a business:
Turn Your Idea Into a Plan
The difference between a great idea and a successful business is the business plan or strategic plan. A detailed business plan will help you understand:
- What the roadmap for your business is
- What the unique selling points are
- How to measure success year over year
- Who your client base is
- Financial proforma to understand revenue and expenses
- What marketing you need to support your revenue growth projections
- Your core values, mission and vision
There are myriad resources available to help you develop a plan. We highly recommend you don’t try to do it alone. Get advice and guidance from those who have successfully launched and operated a business so you don’t learn the same mistakes they did. Consider a franchise as they will offer coaching and support on building your plan, and much of the strategy has already been laid out.
Put Plan Into Action With Detailed Strategic Objectives
If your business plan is the roadmap, strategic objectives are the turn-by-turn navigation you need to migrate through the first year. Being an entrepreneur and launching a business is risky, but you will minimize the risk and potential fallout by having detailed objectives that identify what needs to be done through the first months, 1 year, and perhaps 3 years. Planning is a crucial component in bringing your business plan to life. It’s hyper-critical to lay out the details on how to achieve the objectives incorporated in the planning stage. For every objective, a plan is required. For example, when are you going to launch? When will you realize profit and how will you get it from now to then? What marketing campaigns are required? What are the signs of success of each objective and how will you measure them?
Note: Driverseat University was built with this framework in mind. Over the course of over 160 hours of online learning, you will start with building a launch plan and your first-year strategic objectives with the help of your franchise coach.
Working for yourself is liberating and has many perks – but it requires you to hold yourself accountable and to keep yourself motivated. Understand that there is nobody else giving you deliverables and performance criteria. If you don’t drive the business forward, it will not move. In the entrepreneurial world, you get to choose when you work, whether or not you make it to your child’s recital, and when you travel. You generally won’t, however, just take days off for the sake of doing nothing – there is always work to be done and competitors will be trying to outwork you. It takes discipline, accountability and mental toughness, but when done well, is all worth the effort.
Learn to Adapt Not React
Over the course of launching and running your business, there will be small failures, mistakes, misjudgment and a lot of learning. You will get feedback from clients, suppliers, employees, friends and family, all with the best of intentions. When times are tough and margins are slim, you may be inclined to abandon your business plan and ‘react’ rather than adapting to the feedback or knowledge you are gaining. Adapting your business plan is OK and oftentimes necessary, but doing so in a methodical and calculated way will ensure you don’t create other challenges implementing half-baked strategies that don’t align with your highest level vision for the business.
Know your passion. Follow your passion.
You don’t always have to be passionate about the product or service you offer, but you absolutely must be passionate about owning and operating your business. Passion fuels ambition and motivation to be able to push forward on the good days and the bad. All too often, people who are passionate about their trade or their job decide to branch out and start their own business that offers the very thing we’re doing as an employee. Running a business and being an employee are very different roles. There is no shortage of examples where plumbers or electricians start their own business, only to find out that they struggle with the administrative side, don’t like asking clients for money, aren’t capitalized properly to build inventory or negotiate supply contracts, etc. Understanding your role as a business owner and ensuring you are passionate about all of the things (good and bad) that come with it is critical to ensuring long-term success.
Find and Develop Allies
Running a business is tough, and no successful entrepreneur has done it without the help of others. Surround yourself with allies who will stand behind you, be your cheerleader, challenge you and allow you to be vulnerable with them. You will inevitably be faced with imposter syndrome, which is that voice inside telling you that you were delusional to think you could pull this off, you aren’t good enough, this is way beyond what you are capable of, etc. Being vulnerable and asking for help is critical, whenever you are faced with adversity, doubt or lack of confidence. Be prepared! Your family and friends may not be supportive and may cause self-doubt. That is not an indication that you shouldn’t move forward, it is only a reflection of the inadequacies they would feel if they were doing the same thing for themselves. Starting a business isn’t for everyone, so don’t take everyone’s advice.
For more detail on how to prepare yourself before launching your business, click the link below to watch Leanne Shanks, Director of Franchise Support, share some valuable tips for aspiring entrepreneurs!