Starting a business might sound like fun but the reality can be so very different. Think sleepless nights, stressing over finances, and having to get out of your comfort zone every day and you’ll have a much more realistic view of what it’s like to be a business owner. But the good news is that it’s not all doom and gloom. Once you are prepared for what’s ahead, the difficult days will be replaced by rewarding – and dare we say enjoyable – days. Before you set out on the road to creating your own business, there are some truths you should know.
Equipment & Software
There is certain equipment and software you’ll need to keep operations running smoothly. Depending on the niche you’re operating in, you will not be able to escape these upfront costs so it’s important to know what’s involved before you start investing money into your idea. If you are entering the logistics market, fleet management software will be a key component in the smooth running of operations. You can review a full guide from Samsara.com on everything you need to know about fleet management – including the cost – so you know how much you can expect to pay. Likewise, if you’re starting a graphic design company, you’ll need Photoshop, Indesign, or another expensive graphic design software package.
Self-Belief Is Essential
If you don’t have a belief in yourself and your brand, the truth is that no one else will either. Everything you do will be unconvincing and potential investors and customers will be able to sense that you’re not 100% behind your idea. You should love the ship you’re sailing in and be prepared to weather the storms in it.
You Have to Be Different
Don’t be a copycat. Stand out from the crowd by doing something different than your competitors. But don’t stray too far as you just need to find an idea that’s working for another company and put your spin on it. Improve the product/service, offer a bonus with each purchase, or be innovative with your branding and social media marketing. All three strategies will get you where you want to go.
Selling Isn’t an Option
At least in the early days it isn’t. A lot of eager entrepreneurs create a business with the goal of selling it to the highest bidder when it starts to yield a healthy profit. While this may seem like an attractive prospect, in the beginning, holding on and owning your business will serve you better in the long run.
Playing Nice Will Get You Places
The old attitude of its business has long passed its sell-by date. No longer will you get away with treating employees badly and undercutting competitors just because you want to secure more contracts. Today, customers see the person behind the business and that person is, essentially, the brand. Everything you do must align with how you want clients and customers to perceive your business. Do you want to be known as a brand that gives back to the local community? Sponsor the local baseball team for their upcoming season. Is your brand serious about helping cut down on carbon emissions? Be more environmentally friendly by improving manufacturing processes and replacing all packaging with biodegradable materials. Playing nice – and we don’t mean showing weakness – will highlight your brand in a positive light and you’ll be treated nicely.
You’ll Have to Compromise
To succeed, you’ll have to give your start-up 110% at all times, especially in the early days. Making compromises will become the norm and you’ll have to sacrifice so much to see your idea through. Things like family vacations, getting a new car, and nights out clubbing with friends may have to wait until you weather the rocky days that are normally associated with getting a business off the ground. It might hurt at the time but you will reap the benefits later on when you can step away from operations and enjoy the fruits of your hard labor.
Stress Will Become Normal
Stress is something you’ll have to learn to cope with early on. Working so much with very little play may put stress on your personal relationships with family and friends. Missed payments might keep you up all night wondering how you’re going to pay the next invoice. Building a team of talented people takes time and a lot of effort and, like all entrepreneurs, you will stress out that you’re making the right decisions when it comes to hiring. That said, it’s important to know how to deal with stress. Identify the specific triggers that make you feel anxious and have a plan in place to get rid of the negative feelings before they become too much. Chill out with family or go for a long walk on the beach – do whatever you need to do to relax and re-set.
You’ll Need A Support Network
Rome wasn’t built in a day and you need people there to help you realize that when the going gets tough. Look at your inner circle of family and friends – do you have people you can trust to be honest with you? Are you able to bounce potential ideas off your family members? Can you count on them to give you the emotional support you’ll need when things start to get difficult? Identify these people and start building a support network around you. Once you have a personal network in place, think about creating a business network. Can you afford to hire a business coach that will help guide you to success? Is it possible to reach out to someone who has been where you are in business – someone who you can learn from and avoid the mistakes that they made? Network as much as possible in the early days by going to events and reaching out to other entrepreneurs on social media sites and forums. Be open to telling your story and hearing theirs. Do this and you will see huge benefits when it comes to leveraging the connections you’ve worked so hard to make.