How to Successfully Launch your First Business
August 31, 2007 - Posted by Shama Kabani
Some serial entrepreneurs can practically start businesses in their sleep, but for the first time business owner launching a new venture can seem like a daunting task. Starting a new business does NOT have to be scary or hard-if you go about it the smart way. Oh yeah-huge proponent of doing things the smart way here.
- Go with what you know- Too many people make the mistake of starting their dream business as their first venture. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to open up a bed and breakfast or own your own bookstore. I see it done all the time. But when you are starting your first business-go with what you know! If you have been a chef all your life and your dream business is to own a restaurant-more power to you! But if you have been a hairdresser all your life and want to start a restaurant as your first venture, be careful. If you really want to build up some courage and understand how business works-Go with what you know. My first business was a tutoring service. I absolutely loved working with students, but it wasn’t my dream business. However, it did teach me a lot about how to successfully run a business.
- Find a Model Mentor- Find someone who has already done what you are wanting to do. If you have a rather innovative idea, find someone who has done something similar to that. By studying someone who has already created what you want to create you get the benefit of learning from their mistakes. You also get an objective take on the business. Make sure that the mentor you approach does not view you as a threat and always be ready to tell them what you can offer in exchange.
- Define your Goals- Most people think about defining their business goals AFTER they launch but this is a crucial mistake. Your business should be built around your goals. Try asking yourself questions such as: Why do I really want this business-To make more money or spend time with the kids?, What revenue do I need to bring in per month to satisfy my needs? How many clients do I have to get or how many widgets do I have to sell in order to do so?
- Forget the Business Plan- While I highly suggest that you focus on your goals, I do not recommend writing out a 100 page business plan (unless you are looking for investors and they require it). If your idea is strong and you already have certain goals in mind-your business plan should be no more than two pages long.
- Gather up the Troops- Your first business is bound to be an interesting experience and may be challenging at times. (It helps to remind yourself that it’s all a process). Be sure you have lots of supportive people around you. Before you launch, have a chat with your family about what this may require of them (patience, encouraging words, etc). If you have kids-get them involved. It’s the best way to teach them about business.
- Don’t be afraid to start over- You may launch your first business and realize that it isn’t what you expected. In this scenario you have two options-Re-Launch or Start Over.
- Don’t mistake having marketing problems or not knowing how to sell as reasons to scrap the business. These are things you can learn AND are supposed to learn in your first business.
- If you feel your idea is still good but the packaging and brand are lacking-get professional help-and then Re-Launch.
- If you are convinced (after looking at it objectively) that it just isn’t your cup of tea-either sell or scrap the business. And start over.
The most important thing to remember when launching your first business is that it’s a process and that it takes time. If you work smart, you can save a lot of time but you still have to let the business grow. Working smart is like watering your plant (business) and making sure it gets plenty of sunshine. This allows it to grow into a healthy plant (business), but it still takes time to grow.