Becoming your own boss is many people’s dream. The appeal seems obvious – complete freedom over how you organize your time, and only having yourself to answer to. Successes like these make it tempting to think that with the right idea serious wealth is just around the corner, yet the stark truth is that most start-ups fail.
The following are steps that might help one in going through the idea of starting their own business and being in charge:
If you are dissatisfied with your current circumstances, admit that no one can fix them except for you. It doesn’t do any good to blame the economy, your boss, your spouse or your family. Change can only occur when you make a conscious decision to make it happen.
Give yourself permission to explore. Be willing to look at different facets of yourself (your personality, social styles, age) and listen to your intuition. We tend to ignore intuition even though deep down we often know the truth. Ask yourself “What gives me energy even when I’m tired?” How do you know what business is “right” for you? There are three common approaches to entrepreneurship:
Most people don’t plan, but it will help you get to market faster. A business plan will help you gain clarity, focus and confidence. A plan does not need to be more than one page. As you write down your goals, strategies and action steps, your business becomes real.
Before you spend money, find out if people will actually buy your products or services. This may be the most important thing you do. You can do this by validating your market. In other words, who, exactly, will buy your products or services other than your family or friends? What is the size of your target market? Who are your customers? Is your product or service relevant to their everyday life? Why do they need it?
The most important way to get this information is to ask your target market/customers directly and then listen.
As an entrepreneur, your personal life and business life are interconnected. You are likely to be your first–and possibly only–investor. Therefore, having a detailed understanding of your personal finances, and the ability to track them, is an essential first step before seeking outside funding for your business. This is why it is recommended that you set up your personal accounts in a money management system.
You’ve made the internal commitment to your business. Now you need to cultivate a network of supporters, advisors, partners, allies and vendors. If you believe in your business, others will, too.
Network locally, nationally & via social networks. Here are some networking basics:
Even though we purchase products and services every day, people don’t want to be “sold.” Focus on serving others. The more people you serve, the more money you will make.
Be willing to say who you are and what you do with conviction and without apology. Embrace and use the most effective online tools (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn) available to broadcast your news. Use social networks as “pointer” sites; i.e., to point to anything you think will be of interest to your fans and followers.
Even though social networks are essential today , don’t underestimate the power of other methods to get the word out: e.g., word-of-mouth marketing, website and internet marketing tools, public relations, blog posts, columns and articles, speeches, e-mail, newsletters, and the old-fashioned but still essential telephone.