Christian DesLauriers on the Top 5 Things to Know Before You Start a Business
For many, the launching of a business marks the start of a dream becoming reality. While the initial stages of a company’s development are both invigorating and exciting, they can also be filled with uncertainty and fear. With so much on the line, it is reasonable to want to be well-educated on the ins and outs of business management before you dive in. If you are considering taking the leap and finally starting your own business, there are a couple factors that you will need to understand and consider first.
Have a Sophisticated Understanding of Your Market
If you have done any research into what it takes to launch a company, you have probably already heard the words “know the market” (or their variations) at least once. There is a reason that successful entrepreneurs, how-to articles and business books all reiterate these same three words. It is true: success in any industry requires understanding the market.
If you want to compete for a shot at success, you will need to know and understand the competition. Before launching, research the lay of the land: what businesses are in this industry? How do they operate and what are their marketing methods? Who are their customers? Gather as much information as necessary and use it to add depth and strength to your own comprehensive business strategy.
Understand that Progress is Slow
As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day; your business empire will not blossom overnight, either. Understanding that progress is often slow will not just help sustain your motivations by keeping your expectations in check, it can also prevent you from jumping into risky business decisions.
It is true that some companies will launch with overwhelming, immediate victory; and it is okay to hope that your business will be an overnight success but expect and plan for it to be a slow-moving, gradual process. In accepting this, you allow yourself the time and patience to build a strong foundation which allows your company to grow and expand for years to come.
One of the biggest mistakes that new entrepreneurs make when they launch their business is taking on too much, too soon. In the initial stages of any company’s growth process, starting small can have big rewards.
Overzealous entrepreneurs may be tempted to make leaps and make large investments in office space, hired employees, etc. Early on, it is best to keep your operation as small as possible. Allow your company to grow in proportion to its success. This does not just help minimize the stress placed on your shoulders as the founder, it also helps ensure financial success by minimizing risk.
Craft a Solid Business Plan
Jumping into an industry with no plan or outlined vision is a great way to have a young business fail quickly. For founders seeking funding outside of their personal bank accounts, an airtight business plan is a must to draw in investors. However, even if you are a small startup looking to launch with no outside investors, it is advisable to construct a solid business plan.
Besides helping keep you focused, a good business plan will also allow you to make smarter decisions and measure your growth. Putting your goals and vision for the company into writing along with concrete, measurable success metrics is an essential way to keep your business on track from start until finish. Keep in mind: although it might seem an unnecessary measure for fledgling companies, the best business plans also include effective exit plans
Accept that You Might Fail
All business ventures involve risk. There is a possibility your new company could fail; recognize that and realize that it is okay. While it’s essential that you do everything in your power to ensure success, sometimes things don’t work out.
When you truly realize that success is not inevitable, you are encouraged to do all you can to keep from failing. Furthermore, if it happens you won’t be caught off guard; you will know what to do. In many ways, accepting that failure is a possibility may ultimately help you succeed in the end.