There are many good reasons to start your own business. You’re the boss. You set your own schedule. You steer clear of the angst of a corporate job, like long commutes and insufficient compensation or appreciation for all your hard work. And, above all, you follow your passion.
The first step, then, is to establish solid reasons why you want to start your own business. You need a strong “why” to be able to stay the course, as there will be many challenges along the way.
Here are thee tips for getting off to a good start.
1. Write a detailed business plan
When creating your business plan, one of the most important things to do is to estimate your costs as accurately as possible. While it’s tempting to come up with a figure that you hope will cover all your expenses, you need to be as meticulous as possible. If you don’t raise enough money to cover your startup costs and overheads, your business will flounder before it begins.
Here are some costs to consider:
- Licenses and permits. You will need to pay for the paperwork to register your business. Find out what these costs will be.
- Equipment and Supplies. You will need the right supplies to run your business. If it’s a virtual business, then you’ll need basic office equipment. If it’s a service business, then you’ll need supplies to get the job done. Don’t skimp on supplies to trim your startup costs. If, for instance, you are starting a trades business, then you’ll need the equipment necessary to get the job done right.
- Depending on the nature of the work, you’ll also need the right resources to get the job done safely. This could mean the need for safety glasses, perhaps prescription safety glasses, safety helmets, safety gloves, safety boots, and so on.
- Office space. This will be one of your biggest expenses. When drawing up your business plans, get real quotes on office space rent.
- B2B services. Your business will probably need to use many B2B services. You will need janitorial services, legal services, accounting services, and so on. Make a list of all the services that you will need to effectively run your business.
- Operating expenses. You will have many operating expenses; for instance, marketing costs, raw material costs, and payroll for employees or freelancers. Figure out what expenses you will need to cover to run your business.
2. Schedule your own time well
One of the biggest shocks you will experience when you start own business experience if you’ve spent most of your life as an employee is that you are now completely responsible for their own time. Although you intended to your own boss all along, there’s a huge difference between thinking about something and experiencing it.
You will be tempted to wing it, to take each day as it comes, dealing with problems as they arise. This is a mistake. You’re not being proactive, but reactive. You need to focus on planning your time as if you were working for someone else. You can’t allow your exhilarating sense of freedom to get out of control.
You need goals. You need plans to accomplish your goals. And you need to break your plans down into manageable tasks. Finally, you need to get a calendar to schedule everything.
It’s only too easy to get distracted by superficial work—like answering emails, making phone calls, and managing staff meetings. But besides working on the business, you also need to work in the business. You need to reserve time to do uninterrupted work. For instance, if you have technical skills that only you can do, then you need time to sit down and get the work done. Essentially, your time will be split between doing administrative, organizational work and setting aside time for uninterrupted work.
3. Learn how to be a fair boss
Once you’ve got your own time organized, you’re now tasked with organizing other people’s use of time. If you hire people, don’t expect them to be fully engaged workers throughout the day, feeling obligated to you for a paycheck. You need to lay out your expectations without bullying them or trying to act as if they were co-workers who share your vision. It takes some time to learn how to motivate and lead people.
The biggest challenge to starting and running your own business is that there is no manual on how to do it. There are, of course, plenty of guidelines, but you must figure out the details.