What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Start a Business: Part One

Whether it’s something you’ve dreamed of since childhood, or it came as a total surprise later in life, good business ideas happen.

They come in all shapes and sizes, with their own unique sets of needs and learning curves. There are a few things we can do to secure a business’ potential to grow and thrive, but they must happen in those pivotal early stages of development.

According to Chris Guillebeau, entrepreneur-turned-author of the best-selling $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, getting a new idea off the ground has never been easier.

Forbes interviewer Dan Schawbel got Guillebeau to elaborate on how today’s technology has presented vast and far-reaching platforms that allow shared ideas, goods and services to coalesce.

Coupled with consumers being more primed to make online purchases, this new landscape creates what Guillebeau refers to as “a perfect storm of economic convergence.”

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

There are many ways your business can fail before it’s standing on its own, and getting hung up on minor details is a sure-fire way to halt progress.

Many agonize over the catchiest name for their business or the cleverest URLs, getting caught in a viscous and unproductive cycle without achieving anything to make the stress worth it.

Set a short, definitive timeline for your startup, and don’t let worry over website layout or logo design keep your project from growing past its infancy.

Your business will change rapidly as you learn, and names or web domains are no exception. Leave room to grow!

Baby Steps

A lot of startups lose steam not out of lack of creativity or capability, but by pushing too hard or too fast at the start.

We want our business to mature by leaps and bounds from the very beginning. But as we have to crawl before we can walk, also must we stumble a bit in the learning process before it’s possible to run and sustain a successful business.

Set small, consistent goals. Pursuing a career of your own creation can be one of the most rewarding journeys, but it takes many small steps to get to there.

Moves like attaining your federal Employee Identification Number to protect your private identity, making sure the relevant permits and licenses are acquired, or setting up a business bank account to avoid unnecessary liability are more important than even a name.

Jeff Haden, contributing Editor for Inc. magazine, goes into more detail about the manifold, yet fairly easy to obtain prerequisites for legitimizing your business. Haden is a big proponent of laying the groundwork and economizing on time in the early stages of development to allow for greater pay off in the long run.

“Instead of spending hours playing with accounting software, dreaming up potential expense and income categories and creating fancy reports with no data, spend that time generating revenue,” he suggests.

Budgeting

As children, it is difficult to envision the end game of a project when there is an insurmountable obstacle in our way.

One such obstacle facing today’s entrepreneurs in their adult life is the ever-dreaded need for startup capital.

The good news is, you can do your business an overwhelming amount of good if you can budget carefully, be mindful of resources and perfect your pitch.

Here are a few ways to nurture your business that won’t break the bank:

Know where you can consolidate

Starting a business requires certain concessions be made to keep the venture afloat. This can mean cutting back on luxuries like additional employees, office space or an entire service or product until the revenue can support it.

Resources can come from anywhere

While raising capital is never fun, we live in a time where there are multiple ways to acquire funding: angel investors, government grants through the Small Business Administration, bank loans, even friends and family.

Crowdsource

Don’t forget crowdfunding. Social media makes it simple to raise startup cash and connect with like-minded individuals who want to contribute.

But remember, there are plenty of cautionary tales of high-profile startups that have crashed and burned, so be sure you can deliver. Nobody wants to be the next Plastc.

Keep Working Hard

The best part of all this work? You get to invest in your business with the capital you’ve raised.

“Once you start realizing some revenue, you can invest in yourself and build the business you imagined piece by piece rather than all at once,” adds Jayson Demers, a regular contributor for Entrepreneur.

You’re bound to break a sweat, but the journey is a rewarding one and can mean a lifetime of constant improvement and success.

Come back next month for part two of our series on crucial startup mindsets.

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