Because my business is working with small businesses, people come to me with their ideas and hopes and dreams of starting their own business. I enjoy listening to the various ideas and thoughts for I am truly amazed at the level of genius some owners’ exhibit. It is fun and exciting for me to learn from others and to help them pursue their dreams.
I was recently introduced to Brazzlebox, a community network for small businesses, who suggested that I give advice to would-be business owners about starting a business. The assumption being that many people would start a business if they knew where to start. My personal viewpoint is that the problem isn’t knowing where to go when you are ready to start a business, it is knowing if you are ready to start a business. Here are three questions to ask yourself:
What is stopping you?
People have various reasons (notice I did not say excuses), why they have not moved forward with owning a business. Going from having an idea to turning it into a business is about as big a leap as going from sitting on the couch eating potato chips to running a 5K marathon. There is a lot of intention behind it. Everyone has great intentions, it is the actions that turn those intentions into something.
Money and time seem to be the biggest reasons why people don't move forward with their business intentions. However, those are the two things that you will never have enough of when you start your business. Behind all of those success stories come hardship, stress and struggle. It doesn’t matter how big your company gets. You, as an owner, will always have to deal with the ups and downs of ownership. So if you are waiting for the perfect set of circumstances, you will always be waiting.
The majority of successful business owners I know, have a passion for what they are doing. There is some underlying belief that is driving them to a certain level of success. It is passion that keeps them going even when circumstances seem bleak. It is also why business owners get started in the first place. If the reasons outweigh the passion, then you shouldn’t get started until the opposite is true.
Do your research.
I started my law practice out of necessity. I was more of a reluctant business owner. I had no clue what it took to run a law practice or what I really needed. If I had the knowledge that I have now, there are so many things I would have done differently. But the big difference maker would have been researching my industry. By the time that I actually started doing this, I was ten years into the business.
If you are opening a restaurant, you should join a restaurant association and learn what it really takes to run a restaurant. Just because you (or your mother) are a great cook, does not mean that you can successfully run a restaurant. Other than great food what do you need to make a restaurant successful? Why do some survive when others fail? You need to know these things before you get started.
A great place to start is the Small Business Administration’s SCORE. Most cities have one and you can utilize their library to research your industry and find specific information. You can also research industry specific information online to answer many questions you may have. More importantly, you need to talk to people in the industry. There are so many groups out there for business owners, you just have to look and you will be surprised at what you find.
Build your business with your team in mind.
As a business owner, you need a team of professionals; attorney, accountant, financial planner, and coach. You also need people that will help you build and grow the business. You may not have enough money to fill those positions right now, but you should be thinking about it. You may even have some people in mind, talk to them about what you are doing and see if they are willing to help.
Your team should be people who are knowledgeable about different aspects of the business. Figure out your own strengths and weaknesses. Start with the weaknesses and get to know people who can help with those things. In areas that you are strong, get to know others in that area as well. They can become advisers and help you work through issues that you could not do on your own. No one knows everything, it is always good to be able to work through situations with other people.
If you want to successfully start and run a business, be open and willing to change your mindset. Starting a business isn’t difficult. Running a business is. Begin the journey with the end in mind, and map out the road you plan to take to get there.
Brazzlebox is a new social network designed specifically for the needs of mom and pop stores and other businesses that often have to plan carefully just to buy a new office chair. Brazzlebox was created to make this process easier and allow people to connect with even more entrepreneurs than just in their close proximity.
Shahara Wright is an experienced and highly sought after business law attorney and business strategist. She is the author of From Entrepreneur to CEO and host of the CEO Collaboration Circle. Shahara founded The CEO Effect, LLC to work with small business owners who want to implement strategy to build capacity.