I recently gave a presentation entitled, “Young Business – Starting Your Own Business as a Young Person.” I thought I would post most of that information here on the blog. Within the series I’ll be letting you know what I’ve learned so far and some of my advice for starting your own business.
BEFORE THE LEAP – PLANNING
Have a reason.
There are two reasons I see to start your own business.
The first is that you have a deep and long-standing passion to follow a dream and start your own company. It may be for monetary gain, for personal freedom, or because you have an entreprenurial spirit. Whatever the motivation the result is the same – an excitement to create something yourself.
The second reason is that you really dislike your current job situation. You know you could do a better job than the person in charge, you feel continually miserable, or you can see that the ship is sinking and you need to get out. It may help to try to improve your current situation by changing your viewpoint; but there are many instances where things are beyond your control to change and you just need to leave.
Of the two reasons the first is probably better because it is a positive rather than negative reason for starting your own business. However, if you would consider Apt Design a success, then I’m proof that the second reason can work as well.
This may sound cliche, but it is very important. “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is a true maxim. Because really, if you are creating your own job, why would you choose to do something you didn’t love?
There is probably already someone out there making money doing something that you do just for fun. Look at how other people are making money from their passion and see if something similar would work for you. If you can’t find other examples, that may be a good thing! Figure out a way to create a job for yourself – the market is ripe for innovation.
If you try to start your own business doing something you love, what’s the worst that could happen? You will undoubtedly enjoy many parts of the adventure, learn a lot about yourself, and gain great business experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. In the end you may end up working for someone else again, but the rewards may be more valuable than just money.
Plan in detail.
Planning out every step of your new business is probably the most important thing you can do when starting a business. In fact, I’m not really sure you can plan too much. Planning forces you to think about every aspect of your business and decide how you will deal with it.
Some tangibles to think about:
- Who will your customers be?
- Who will your competition be?
- What are your weekly, monthly, yearly expenses?
- What are your profit margins?
- How will you market yourself?
- How will your business be structured?
There are also intangibles that you need to think about before starting:
- How will this impact my family/relationship time?
- What really defines success for my business?
- What are my goals and dreams for this business?
- What am I willing to commit to make this business make it?
There are of course plenty more things to think about, and I advise finding multiple books and websites that suggest other things to plan for – you want to make sure you have everything covered.
However, planning all this in your head isn’t good enough. You need to be able to write down all of your thoughts. If you have a thought or an idea that you can’t get down on paper, then it is not yet fully formed enough. That’s why creating a business plan is so important. It will also help immensely when you go to a bank or other source to get money.
Like planning, gathering advice before starting your business is something you can’t get enough of. Gather as much advice as you can from as many people as you can. Not all of the advice will be good but it may lead you to other ideas that could help. Talk to friends or relatives about what you are thinking and gather their input. Keep a list of the best advice you get and refer to it regularly.
You can find plenty of advice online, so go to some relevant blogs and see what they have to say. Most small business owners would also love to help out (especially if they are not direct competition); email a few and see if you can get some suggestions from them.
(What do you think so far? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and be on the lookout for the next installments of this series!)