Startups are an attractive, yet scary, proposition.
First the excitement! Working for yourself offers flexibility and independence that you simply cannot get as a cog in a big wheel. You also benefit more from the fruits of your own labour, get the chance to pursue a niche that you are passionate about, and will attain the added satisfaction of building something from the ground up.
And then there’s the scary part: you are alone. Your next paycheck is completely down to you. Right here are the pros and cons of starting your own business.
But fear should never be a reason not to. The fact is, by setting out on the right foot, there are actionable steps that you can take to running a successful startup.
1) Be prepared
Preparation is a key to whatever you do in life, but for initiating a small business, it can make or break your vision. Vision is the right word because this is the first thing you must have: an idea of exactly what you want to achieve. From there comes a business plan, which is at the core of everything you will do. Yes, a business plan can be adapted as you progress, but you must have something in place to start.
Next, you must ensure that you have the resources to do what you need to initially, be that capital, money to live off in those early days, equipment, and probably most importantly, time. Many students have held the dream of launching a startup while studying, and indeed many have succeeded, but what all will recognize is that the time spent on business activities infringes on time that should be spent studying. If you are prepared for all this, then you set off on the right foot.
2) Be passionate about what you do
Passion has already been mentioned, but you must really get a kick out of what you do because you are going to be doing it a lot. Setting up a small business takes an incredible amount of energy, so the last thing you want to be doing is pouring your reserves into something that you ultimately don’t care about. In fact, this will spell disaster because if you don’t care about it, nobody else will either. Find your niche, blanket yourself in it, and live and breathe it every day.
3) Surround yourself with the right people
Whether you are starting off on your own or with a small team around you, surrounding yourself with the right people, be it those who are actually working in the business, those who freelance for your startup, those who provide a required service that you have delegated (such as an accountant) or even friends and family who are there to support you, having the right people around you, who believe in what you are doing, can contribute, and can support you, is crucial.
Ultimately, if we succeed, we may feel we did it on our own, but we know, deep down, that there are always others who have helped us get us there. Constantly be on the lookout for dynamic individuals who you believe could contribute to your startup, and remember that character is even more important than skill in these circumstances – skills can be learned or outsourced where necessary.
4) Network like you never have before
Get yourself to business events, speak with people, network with other businesses, no matter what their line, because you just never know when a contact may become something much more important than that – an investor, a client, or just a great mouthpiece for your business. Connect with competitors too to see how they go about things, and seek advice from wherever you can get it. In short, get yourself out there.
5) Never stop the search for investment
There is never a time where you have enough; you may think you do but it quickly runs out, and that usually spells the death knell for small businesses. Seek investment at every stage, and explore the abundance of opportunities that are now out there for startups, such as small business loans, crowdfunding activities, angel investors, and even other businesses connected to your niche.
Content editor Harry Conley can be found at LuckyAssignments where he is involved in the development of training and workflow activities to enhance the ability of writers, always seeking to unlock potential along the way. Another string to his bow is his interest in the provision of supplementary materials and instructional support for contributors.