Working a full-time 9 to 5 job can be a daunting task for many people. Not everyone has the stamina or the will to work for someone else on a long stretch. Rather, they are motivated by the idea of working for themselves. Running a business seems to be far more exciting than a boring job. A business owner’s mind is consumed by autonomy and decision-making independence.
However, as thrilling as it may sound, running a business venture comes with its set of challenges and risks. Starting and sustaining a successful business is not a sprint but a marathon. Therefore, aspiring entrepreneurs ought to consider certain realities before taking this plunge.
1. Have a Strong Vision
What happens if you start walking on a road without a destination in mind? You end up in the middle of nowhere. It is the same with starting a new business. Firstly, be very clear about what you want to achieve. Your vision will act as the driving force for every step you take in this direction. It will be the focal point of all your decisions.
2. A Detailed a Business Plan
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If You Fail to Plan, You Are Planning to Fail.” The importance of having a well-written and documented business strategy cannot be overstated. Again, it is driven by your vision and your end goals. Preparing a stable and reliable business plan requires knowledge of numerous business functions. Accounting and finance, marketing, law, leadership, organizational behavior, and other business management subjects can all assist you in coming up with a good business strategy. An academic background with a General Master of Business Administration Degree will set the right foundation required for the planning phase. A logical, rational, and workable business plan is not possible without a strong grip on the concepts.
3. Know Your Audience
Be sure of who your target audience is. Know their needs, wants, purchasing power parity, buying behavior, social status, and demographic factors that drive their purchase decisions. It will aid in the research and development of your products and services. Knowing your audience and target customer base is a crucial step for your business to sustain itself in the long run. Your offering has to be in line with the needs of your customers.
4. Analyze Your Competition
There is a definite possibility of other businesses operating in the same market and serving similar consumers as yours. Analyzing your competition is imperative to gain a competitive edge and become the business of choice for customers to buy from. Have robust research not only with your direct but indirect competitors as well. Thoroughly study their offering, online campaigns, supply chain, and overall marketing strategy for an in-depth understanding. Your goal as a business should be to offer a far greater value than your competition worth your customer’s time and money.
5. Build a Committed Team
Surround yourself with a group of committed people that believe in you and your vision. One person cannot be an expert in all the aspects of a business operation. Therefore, we need the services of professionals to keep going. Functions such as Legal, Financial Management, Planning, Research and Development, etc., require subject matter experts. Build a team whose members share the same passion, excitement, and goals and are willing to put in all the efforts to be successful. A dedicated team will trust your leadership and will always have your back.
6. Manage Your Funds
A strong vision deserves a robust execution backed by sufficient funds to sustain the test of time. Sorting your money matters well in advance to keep meeting the financial needs of your business. You will require large capital as a start-up. Remember, it will take some time or perhaps a few years before your business generates stable profits. Therefore, you should have enough cash flow to meet recurring expenses such as raw materials, taxes, payroll, rent, marketing, etc. Therefore, prepare detailed budgets for all your capital and operational expenditures. You can source the capital from your savings, friends and family, angel investors, or via business loans. This can also be helped with software once your business has gotten going.
7. Get a Mentor
You are likely to make many mistakes as a first-time business owner. Therefore, seeking professional guidance from a business coach and or a mentor is a good idea. A mentor will guide you in the right direction using his extensive business experience and knowledge. He will provide you with the support you need to broaden your vision, improve your business plan, and execute a successful launch. A mentor acts as a teacher and gives you the required skills to deal with specific leadership situations. You can seek relevant and useful feedback from your mentor that only an expert can offer.
8. Time Management
Time management is the key to running your own business. Set time-bound targets and goals and stick to them without fail. Things may be abrupt and all over the place at the start. However, the ability to manage the chaos will set you apart as a leader. Start with preparing a timeline of all your major targets and then divide them into small achievable goals. For example, your 5-year plan can spread over yearly, monthly, quarterly, and monthly targets. Setting a time against each deliverable will keep you and your team on your toes. It will make it easier to track your progress, map your growth, and manage your finances over time. When it comes to tracking progress and growth, you could make use of something like this Optimized Balanced Scorecard Management Software to help you identify any areas where you might need to adjust your strategy in order to get to your goal sooner.
9. Have a Plan B Ready
Despite a strong business plan, a dedicated team, and an innovative offering, chances are your business may not make the impact you expected. Every entrepreneur goes through a time when their plans for running a business do not bring the anticipated fruitful results. As a newcomer, it may feel overwhelming and stressful. However, you can efficiently deal with this situation if you have a contingency Plan B in place. A contingency plan defines the course of action your business would take in the occurrence of an unexpected event. It helps you to address any potential risks and unforeseen situations tactfully. A plan B prepares you for crisis management and empowers you to stand firm in the face of difficulty; and can be aided by the hiring of a professional like Insignia Crisis Management, who can use their expertise to help you navigate any possible oncoming troubles to your business.
If becoming a business owner drives your internal motivation, get ready for some reality checks before starting this journey. First and most important, be certain of your business vision. Your vision statement drives everything that follows. Next, prepare a well-documented business plan. Gain a deep insight into your customer base along with the existing competition in your chosen market. Build a team of loyal, reliable, and professional individuals who support you and your venture. Keep your financial needs under control to meet future business expenses. Seek the help of a mentor for comprehensive professional assistance and advice. Set your goals against a certain timeline to keep track of your progress.
Last but not least, have a Plan B ready to aid you in an unexpected or challenging situation. Running a business can sometimes be a risky and nerve-wracking experience. Nonetheless, it comes with its unique benefits and privileges.