Congratulations on deciding to make the shift from employee to entrepreneur. It’s a big deal to start a business. But now that you’ve decided to take the plunge, there are many things you need to think about.
The hard part about business ownership is that you are solely responsible for the startup and growth of your new business idea.
What might start out being a lot of fun can quickly turn into a grind if you aren’t careful.
Don’t Start a Business Until You Learn These 5 Startup Lessons
Rather than get caught with your back against the wall and pulling your hair out, be sure to follow these lessons on how to start a business.
And don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time and space to figure things out.
1. Don’t go it alone.
One of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to avoid going into business alone. Everything’s better when more people get on board.
Whether you decide to outsource your content writing, bookkeeping, and sales, or you decide to hire a full-blown staff and go all-in on your idea, it’s important that you have help and support every step of the way.
Some business owners prefer to start out slow and build to capacity with employees or remote workers later.
But the sooner you can get butts in seats that are willing to help you, the sooner you’ll be enjoying the entrepreneur lifestyle instead of just wishing for it.
2. Make lists of what can wait.
You’ll feel the need to do everything at once, but that doesn’t help anyone, including you.
As you begin to figure out the moving pieces of your new business, consider what you need to do now and what can wait until later.
For example, if you have a small business IT company and your goal is to find local clients to serve, then one of the first things you need to do is test the market. And find out if there is even a need for that kind of service.
Or, perhaps you are trying to create an operations manual so all of your ducks are in a row. It doesn’t make sense to create an operations manual when you barely have an operation, to begin with.
So shelve that until later. Finding clients: important; operations manual: not so much. At least for now.
3. Pace yourself.
It’s easy to go all-in on a business idea that you are excited about, and your excitement will fuel the excitement of people around you.
But you aren’t a machine and you can’t work 23 hours a day and eat and sleep in the other remaining hour.
You need to be realistic about what business owners will really look like and how it will not only impact your health, but your social life, family responsibilities, and things you love to do, like binge-watch Netflix four nights a week.
Contrary to popular belief, your business idea isn’t going anywhere and you have time.
It feels like a mad dash to the finish line, but there are lots of evidence these days that first to market is not always best. And given more time, products and services can be perfected and grown.
4. Seek professional guidance.
If you decide that you want to remain a one-person operation, for the time being, be sure to invest in some kind of mentorship or coaching.
And even if you decide that you want to have employees, it’s not a bad idea to find yourself someone who is higher up the ladder in life who can give you a few pointers about how to do this thing called a business.
It’ll never be perfect, but you might be inclined to think it needs to be in order to launch or grow.
A good mentor will help you see that is simply not true and will give you space and support you need to make things happen for yourself.
Whether your mentor is down the road or across the globe, having someone you can count on during the tough times and help talk you off the proverbial ledge, can go a long way in ensuring your continued success and development.
5. Save some money.
Even if you just raised millions of dollars in capital for your new startup, you need to commit to saving some of it; or, some of your own money.
Regardless of the stage of development, your business is in, it is always a good idea to have a rainy day fund for your operation and life.
It may take you 10 times longer to get your business going than your originally anticipated and that can be costly.
Having money in the bank to protect yourself and your time when trying to build a business is essential. Every penny counts.
When working with investors, don’t be shy about asking how they balance saving and investing, growing and scaling their business.
Investors often act as mentors and want to see that their money is put to good use.
A coachable entrepreneur is like a great birthday present to an investor: they want to see you succeed so their investment pays out.
Don’t be shy when it comes to taking advantage of the knowledge and experience in the room.
For all the wonderful things entrepreneurship can offer a person, it comes with a lot of responsibility and needs in return.
Being a business owner can offer you many amazing things, but only if you lean into it and put in the work.
You don’t have to kill yourself to build a great brand and lucrative business.
That is especially true is you play your cards right. Be smart about your choices and how you use your time. Invest your money properly, and surround yourself with people who have been there and done that.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel on your own dime, so don’t do it on someone else’s.
Follow these tried and true rules of business ownership and you’ll have a solid foundation for getting your business off the ground on the right foot.
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John Packham writes about business and entrepreneurship.