It’s funny. I’ve mentored entrepreneurs from every generation from Boomers to Millennials and they all share one commonality: an excitement for something new. Most entrepreneurs are starters and love being on the ground floor of a venture that might be a big success.
Many have something else in common: impulsivity. Quick to try new things and take risk is certainly an important part of entrepreneurship. Beware however of the act first and think later syndrome.
I’ve personally experienced and seen plenty of hiccups in the early stages of business start-ups. So, if you’re one of those act-first-think-later entrepreneurs, please take a moment to consider how to avoid the hiccups that are typical of start-up businesses.
Ask yourself the right questions
Before you go all in on your idea, there are at least 10 questions you should ask:
- Why do I want to start a business?
- Am I willing to take risks and try new things?
- Do I understand that it is not a once and done proposition but a forever state of recalibrating?
- Do I have the energy?
- Do I have the support of my family?
- Do I have the money that will get me started and keep me going while my business grows?
- Do I have the confidence and skill to run a business?
- What is my business?
- Who is my potential customer?
- What is it that I am going to promise that will be different than others?
The reality is that a lot of entrepreneurs have attempted to leap tall buildings without a safety net to catch their fall. Many times, they have not spent the time to write down their business idea or construct a plan. Answering these questions can help you start your business on a firm foundation.
Take baby steps
There are some simple steps you can take to avoid the typical hiccups of a start-up. These will probably feel like time suckers, especially if you’re the kind of entrepreneur I described earlier. But they are exercises that could make or break the success of your start-up.
- Write down, in 100 words or less, what makes your business unique
- Describe your target customer and what needs you will address
- Consider how to reach your target customer and develop a long-standing relationship
- List the influential people who can help you and identify ways the connection can be mutually beneficial
- Identify the competition, how they go to market, and what they say is their competitive advantage
- Decide how you will make money
- Create a start-up budget
- Make the ask for money, for time, for connections
These steps will crystallize what you want and help you develop the path to get there. Trust me. Whether it’s a Boomer or Millennial, or someone in between, these steps work for entrepreneurs, their start-ups, and businesses that have survived the ages.
Susan K Spaulding is an Author, Facilitator, Researcher, Strategist, Consultant, and Coach.
I work with businesses and leaders to take inventory, uncover the possibilities and navigate a path forward.