“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into smaller manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” –Mark Twain
On Tuesday we discussed the common types of businesses and some factors you should consider when figuring out what yours will be.
Concurrently knowing how, and what you need to get started is crucial to your success.
The Right Mindset
One of the best approaches is to ease into your new business rather than dive head first. For example, I know a writer for a major news outlet who also, as a freelancer or sole proprietor, proofreads college applications and essays. She takes the work when she can during her off-hours and gets lots of referrals. She knows that if she wanted to go out on her own or partner up, she could lead a successful business.
For her to just up and quit her full-time position, which includes health benefits, 401k and other perks, is not in the cards yet because there’s not enough regular work to stress her out.
In a way, this is supplemental to the discussion of why to get started. If you are turning down part-time work and your full-time job is unfulfilling, or you can identify with one of the many reasons we listed to start your own business, then maybe this is the time to bet on yourself.
Apply for a traditional bank loan or even try crowdsourcing and get some funding.
Even if you want to start a sole proprietorship, you need some money behind you, if only even for sake of appearances. Project an image of success. You don’t want to take clients in your apartment or to the back of a nail salon like on “Better Call Saul.” I could spew every cliche about first impressions but in dating and business, they are all true.
Another very important reason to have cash is to hire a payroll company to pay your employees, even if it’s just you and an assistant. For the few hundred bucks a month, you’ll have peace of mind and you won’t have any awkward conversations with your sole/few employees about a check that wasn’t issued/cleared. I know it seems tempting to do it yourself — I recently recalled how I entertained the idea for a half-minute. It’s a mistake to spend any effort or time doing it.
A Strategic Plan
How will you make money? If you have to answer that in more than a sentence, you may need to rethink the plan. Here are some short, acceptable answers:
“I will sell pizzas at a buck less per pie than most competitors.”
“We’ll offer college essay proofreading/editing services.”
“There’s a gap in the market for gourmet pet food that we’ll fill.”
Here are some unacceptable answers:
“We’ll start with our Facebook likes…”
“Once the sign is up, people will walk in.”
“We’re the thespian troupe that will bring ‘The Vagina Monologues’ back to the public’s consciousness.”
A social media presence does not guarantee you a revenue stream. It can help, but should not be seen as a primary source of income. This harkens back to the mentality of the tech bubble and we all remember how that went down.
In the “acceptable answers” above, you’ll notice the one about gourmet dog food. That was one idea a potential client had and I foolishly dismissed it. They make commercials now and sell everywhere. If you do see a gap in the market, that should be at the top of your strategic plan.
You should have a plan drafted before you meet with us to discuss launching your business. Your motto should be: “Make money, not movements.”
Contact Brinen & Associates if you have what you need to get your business off the ground or need extra guidance in organizing all the pieces.