Is now the time? Time to start the business you’ve always dreamed of? Time to refocus your current company? Is the timing right to turn your hobby into something bigger?
The events of the last year or two have brought about such ponderings as many people have re-examined their values and priorities. But if not now, then when?
The most recent clients who’ve hired me have taken the leap to start the business they’ve thought about for so long. They are jumping in and swimming in the place of not knowing what they don’t know, and in addition to excitement, they are experiencing some common challenges for new business owners.
Challenge #1 – Where to start and focus first
This is a challenge for most business owners but can feel especially overwhelming to those new to the game. Everything is important – and unknown. Start with the high-level reflections of why, how, and what your business is about. Next, I recommend getting started with small, manageable pieces. Prioritize what really matters, and map out specific steps to accomplish with defined deadlines to keep you on track. For those feeling lost defining a starting point, reach out for resources such as a business coach or the Small Business Development Center of the Small Business Administration.
Challenge #2 – The right amount of start-up cash
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see in start-up businesses. Too many business owners get off on the wrong foot by miscalculating the investment needed to get their business up and running, as well as not putting aside the right amount of money to sustain living expenses as their business gets off the ground. It’s also easy to miscalculate how long it could take to generate the amount of money “needed.” Start by defining what those numbers look like. What are the fixed overhead costs such as equipment, storefront, materials? Don’t overlook the importance of marketing, building a brand, and investing in help to set up systems and processes to build a real business rather than a hobby. It’s also important to assess how much money is needed to be able to quit your day job. Determine how much you can tighten your belt on expenses without cutting corners on the quality of goods and services you are providing. Afterall, you are building a brand, so spend some time with the numbers to make sure you are saving and investing in the right places. Check out the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz for a great perspective on paying yourself first and adjusting expenses to fit what’s left.
Challenge #3 – Analysis Paralysis, the perfect derailment
One of the most common issues I hear from new business owners is a lack of confidence in what they are doing. It makes sense they feel that way, since confidence usually comes from experience and that’s what’s lacking from most start-up owners. A common trap I see is what I call analysis paralysis – getting stuck in a quest for perfection. Research, data, and start up tasks are very important, but it’s also imperative to get into imperfect action. Getting into action, even when making mistakes, is where the experience comes from to help you tweak and improve. So, get some foundations in place, but get out there and start doing it! Start selling and start building relationships with peers and prospects. Begin establishing some systems and processes for how you do business and what defines your company.
There is a lot to starting, running, and thriving in your own business. I encourage you to get started, stay the course, and enjoy the ride! Reach out to me if I can be of support to you whether you’re new in business or are looking to grow a more seasoned company. Also, I have two spots left in the upcoming Strategic Business Mindset Academy on August 20 in Atlanta. Let me know by August 10 if you’d like more information or an application.
Kim Ellet uses her unique approach and experience to inspire leaders and organizations who are committed to continuous improvement and professional growth beyond the usual limits. She has earned her Certification in Cultural Mastery (CMM) and her Certified Professional Coach credential (CPC.) Coach Kim is the owner of the Atlanta office of The Growth Coach