So you decided to start your own business?
It can lead to a great life or it can lead to a great migraine.
It all depends on how you start. That is what many of my blog posts are for – to help you start well and finish even better. I have learned a few things from having started my own business and I want to share them with you.
(Another way to put that is I have gotten the crap beat out of me and I want to help you avoid it).
1. Do your homework
Naivety is the mass murderer of invention. Don’t presume you know it all. Be humble.
Talk to others who have gone before you. Gather input from as many as you can before you throw up your website (Its embarrassing when you have to change your homepage and vision statement multiple times while your customers watch).
You are going to hear things you won’t like and you may even be told “You aren’t ready”. Listen up! Ask yourself if those people who are telling you these things stand to lose or gain at all from their comments. If not, pay attention. If so, listen anyway.
2. Remember your dream is only a dream
The couple who fantasizes about having children is always a little disturbed and delighted by their first child. It can be the same with business – nothing like you planned, but better than you imagined.
Reality always looks a little different. Church planters are the world’s worst at this one. If I had a nickel for every time I have heard a planter tell me that their church is going to be “just like the first church” I’d be rollin in the dough.
There is nothing wrong with a dream. Dreams are good. But remember that your dream business is going to look different than your real business. Don’t let that discourage you – it will be better than you could’ve imagined it, if you handle it carefully and wisely.
3. Remember no one cares about you.
I know, inspiring huh? People care about one thing – themselves. Remember that. No one will give two licks about your business and all its bells and whistles. They will care about what it can do for them. So when you begin to post on social media and tell everyone about your launch; don’t be surprised when only your mother clicks the “like” button.
When your business pokes its little head out of the birth canal make sure it isn’t squealing “Look at me! Look at me!”. Instead, begin to talk about people’s needs and unmet desires. Stir the pot of desire. Get them excited and gain an audience before you start asking for a “sign up” (to read more see my Digital Marketing guide).
When they know that you care, then they will care what you know – then you will know that they care.
4. Don’t be afraid to beg
You heard me right.
Don’t expect the heavens to open and success to rain down on your face. You are going to have to swallow your pride and ask for help.
When it comes to outside services – everyone is going to want to charge you. Can you blame them? Don’t insult them by asking for freebies, rather be a part of conversations and forums where they are already mingling and join in. You’d be surprised what you can get without having to loiter.
Everything else is carefully calculated groveling. But instead of asking for money and time, be original. Ask for things that would benefit both them and you.
Maybe your small business could do a service for them and gain awareness and traction in the community.
Participate/serve in existing events hosted by a larger company.
Add links/mentions to businesses you want help from (trust me they will notice unless they’re celebrities).
Ask for interviews from those already way ahead of you. Give them publicity and you get the knowledge.
5. Don’t forget to play
It’s amazing how fast we fall out of love in this culture. Do whatever you can to play during business hours.
Read those exciting books that first stirred your affections.
Surround yourself with those in the same boat as you are and don’t forget to laugh a little.
Talk to yourself. I have been amazed how excited I can make myself from just monologuing in the car in traffic.
Really play. Go hit a few golf balls. Go fishing. Do something else and do it often with those you love. The minute your business is a burden to everyone else it is only a matter of time before it is to you also.