So, you want to start a business, do you? I’m all for it, by the way, if you’re ready.
Starting a business requires stamina and a non-wavering belief in yourself and your business idea. In addition, it requires research, planning, strategy, and clarity. Lots and lots of clarity.
Starting a business requires you to have the guts to step outside of your comfort zone, be flexible, and shift and change as needed.
Starting a business requires a fire in the belly with a steadfast vision.
Starting a business is not easy.
However, because most “entrepreneurs” do not even have a few of the traits I just mentioned, we know that there is a failure rate of over 90% of all start-ups. Think about the emotional and financial damage done. So, how can you change those odds?
I’ve personally been a part of over 14 start-ups and over 400 business turnarounds. In addition, I’ve been the business coach of hundreds of entrepreneurs and executives who needed help with personal and business growth.
And through all of this, I’ve learned a few things about starting and growing a successful business. Here are a few of the many lessons I’ve learned over the years.
- Remove your blinders. Never be “in love” with your business idea so much that you are unwilling to change, adapt, or even see the flaws in it.
- Believe totally and entirely in your core idea and vision. I could care less about whether random people liked my concept or not. I always believed in my idea without a doubt. Your business idea may have its best fit within a unique, niche’ category. So, what anyone thinks, other than the potential end-user, just doesn’t matter.
- BASIC VALIDATION of your concept! Start with the task of discovering if there is an actual need for your business.
- FULL VALIDATION. Write a business plan, PLEASE! No banker or investor will touch your business idea unless you have a business plan. The act alone of developing a business plan indicates that you’ve actually thought about the opportunity and the risk. The simple act of writing a well-researched and thoughtful business plan BEFORE committing to the idea will force you to answer critical questions. This step will save you tons of time, money, and effort.
- VALIDATION: Clarity Questions 1: Can you describe your idea’s “emotional” value in 20 seconds or less? Look, I don’t really care how it works. I want to know what problem your idea will solve for me. How will it make my life easier? How will it help me be more successful. If you can’t answer this one, go back to the drawing board.
- VALIDATION: Clarity Question 2: What makes your idea so crazy unique that it would even have a market and beat out any existing competition?
- VALIDATION: Clarity Question 3: Who, specifically, would be your perfect customer?
- VALIDATION: Clarity Question 4: Repeat; the critical question you must answer is what problem or need you would be solving to change a specific market or consumer group dramatically.
- VALIDATE, VALIDATE, VALIDATE – Today, you can effectively research anything instantaneously on any of your favorite internet search engines. Talk with everyone that you can who might already have experience selling into your specific business categories.
- Know what might go wrong. Be sure to look at the potential challenges. A SWOT assessment where you honestly look at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats your concept might face is absolutely essential.
- Protect your money. Don’t spend a ton of money on your concept until you have Validated every phase
- Be Committed. Many times, investors, bankers, and supporters alike will base their willingness to help you with ideas, advice, and counsel strictly upon their perception of your level of commitment to the concept. If they can’t see, hear and feel your passion and dedication, your coachability, and your willingness to listen, they won’t give you the time of day.
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur and build a thriving business, take the time to validate and develop a strong business plan. When you have total clarity and a focused vision, then you’re on your way. Now all you need is to have the backbone to launch, step out in faith with your plan, and adjust it as you go.