So, you want to know how to start a business and still be there in a year or two?
You need plenty of drive and determination if you want to succeed. While drive and determination are broad ranging concepts, I’m talking about the ability to get out of bed in a morning, not have that second cup of coffee, and not “just browse the internet” before you start calling potential customers or negotiating a price discount with key suppliers.
Evaluating your own personal character strengths and weaknesses as compared to a successful owner of a small business is a great idea. (If you don’t know any successful business owners then now’s a good time to find one). What else?
Now, where did I put that..
We’ve all been to the small workshop where the owner can’t find anything, didn’t know you were coming (even though you phoned last week) and hasn’t got your order ready. It’s far from impressive.
Being organized, following up on the details and managing projects is all down to you. Even if that means delegating. And while we’re talking about tricky situations, how well do you handle tricky situations or deal with different personalities? (I mean difficult personalities, but diplomacy is needed). Keeping your word and following up on your promises shows high personal integrity and is valued greatly by all the people you will deal with.
As a potential business owner, you will need to get yourself technically up to speed and develop successful working relationships with key professionals you need to make your business work. Customers, suppliers, staff (hopefully some day), accountants, probably lawyers, and of course the bank manager.
Let me think it over
I struggle with this one myself. Sometimes there’s just no substitute for straightforward – quick from the gut – decision making. As a small business owner you will often need to make rapid decisions under stressful conditions or tight deadlines without the ability to consult.
Ok, but what about when you’ve already been on your feet for 12 hours, your children kept you awake last night and the computer just crashed? Physical and emotional stamina is essential. This is because you can only live on the adrenaline and excitement of being an entrepreneur for so long. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to keep going, but having nothing left in the tank. It’s very important to know when to take a break
All that for that?
You’ve dug deep, you’ve made the calls, got the goods, delivered the product, collected the money, paid the supplier, the accountant, the taxman, the rent, the, the, the…
There’s nothing left. You’ve been a busy fool. Oh No. Better give up now. No not really. Resolve to learn from mistakes and make essential changes is critical. We’ve all heard research that shows poor planning is responsible for many failures, but not as many as running out of money. Cash is King for a reason. Without it you just can’t go on.
Many different operational aspects of your business end their life either in or out of your bank account. Things like managing inventory (stock), delivery and production schedules and quality control all need to be managed through your financial statements. A tight fist of control and mastery of your business dynamics will have you ordering that new car soon enough!
Get your credits into the emotional piggy bank first
The first few years of business startup is the hardest. It’s important that you brief your family so they know what to expect, but it’s as important to make sure you have their support during this time. You’re not going to be as well off as you used to be until you make the business profitable and trade above break even. You’re going to be short tempered, tired and crotchety at times and you’re not always going to be home in time for dinner.
There are no guarantees that you will succeed, and there are many risks when you start out. Careful planning can eliminate many of these, but even the best plan in the world cannot take everything into account.
Now you know you’ve evaluated your own personal character strengths and weaknesses and know you’ve got what it takes