Ready. Go. Set.
Last post I told you my brief story of how I started my business (you can read it here). For years I was waiting for the right plan and the right time to get started. Many would be entrepreneurs never get started because the are waiting until they have a 40 page business plan or they are simply afraid of failure. But there is no one-size-fits-all plan to starting a business.
Also, every business will deal with failure, and most of that failure is during the first few months or years of operation. We have to be willing to fail and build up resilience to keep going. Ultimately, entrepreneurship starts with taking a leap of faith and pulling the trigger, even if you don’t have everything planned out.
Being ready to start a business isn’t just about planning or even money. It’s about first having soul and passion for what you want to do. This will be the fuel that keeps you going when faced with failure. Soul is also a part of your brand. It will shape the culture and identity of your business. If you have that soul and passion then you’re ready to move forward.
While many would think it's reckless to start a business without a solid plan, the key is to think and start small. This allows you to start with little financial risk and less time commitment, particularly if you’re still working a full-time job. Doing this also allows you to be experimental with your product/service offering and test your target market with a few customers at a time. This approach is what makes startups advantageous.
Continuous learning helps you tweak your product offering without having to completely start over or sink your initial investment. The end result is offering a solid product/ service that there is a market for and you can scale the business accordingly. This also helps you to operate a business in times of uncertainty (like now). For more on this school of thought I encourage you to read Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup.
I want to clarify- I’m not telling you not to plan. In fact, far from it. However, planning should be scaled to the size of your venture. Consider a one page business plan like the one here. I will also include examples in future blog posts. Unless you are seeking investors, bank loans, or business partners, a one-page business plan will help you get started without getting overwhelmed in details. Also, as you experiment and learn in your startup’s early phase, your business plan will be a living and breathing document.
Your plan will change as you refine your business model and product offering.
Over the next few posts I will dive into the specifics of startups including: what type of business is right for you, registering your business with your state and county government, getting a Tax ID number, setting up a domain name, branding, building a website, and social media accounts. Whew!
For now, I just want to encourage you to not get frustrated or bogged down in too much upfront planning. This can lead to burnout and doubts before you even begin. Just “go” and be willing to learn and adapt as you move forward.
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