Going into business isn’t easy.
There’s always a learning curve, even if you know what you’re doing. Most companies die out in the first year, and that’s because the people running them don’t know enough to do well. A guy can have the best products in the world, but it won’t suffice to succeed.
Now, I’ve managed to get myself on my feet and do well. I did it the hard way – by adapting and trying to learn from experience whenever I could. I feel it’s only right to share some of what I’ve learned.
First, you need the right people.
What you’re looking for isn’t the best people, because the best people don’t necessarily adapt well. In a small business or one that’s just starting out, you want someone who can adapt.
Large enterprises are stable, static. What’s ideal for them isn’t great for you, because your situation is one where things are still being figured out. If the company’s people cannot handle change, you’re in for a rough time.
If you’re running a small business, you need to be opportunistic. However, you can’t be blindly opportunistic.
You can’t just let opportunities slip away. Every chance you pass up can translate to clients you’re not getting or more business you’re missing out on from existing ones. You can ruin your business that way.
At the same time, you should only go for opportunities that fit with what you’re already doing. Don’t go for a chance to cater to a party if you don’t have the kitchen for it.
Go for an opportunity that fits your business and will only stretch your capacity a little bit. Develop a list of key questions or competencies, so you know what would be the good chances to take and which ones are beyond your current scope.
Remember to organise. Starting a business is a chaotic endeavour, but don’t let it get to you.
You’re going to be juggling a lot of things. Someone has to keep an eye on the resources, keeping track of social media accounts and making sure the money is coming in. If you’re not very organised as a person, you either learn to be or drown in the details.
Technology can help. Note-taking apps to stay organised and remember things are essential, and there are online services that are ideal for project management.
Work with the government – especially when it comes to taxes.
The government usually has programs that provide assistance for small businesses. At the same time, the owners don’t know these exist. Get out there and put that government money to use. Any help would be welcome at the early stages, especially if it involves tax credits.
Finally, get money.
No, I mean a lot of money. More than what you have now. More than you think you could need.
Starting a small business is like going to war, and that means needing a war chest. If you don’t have a significant amount of funds ready to go, to cover all expenses for at least a year, you’re going to sink faster than the Titanic.
Incidentally, the Titanic didn’t sink all that fast, but you get the point right?