Tuesday, 11th December 2012
REALITIES OF STARTING A BUSINESS - Of my ten best friends I am the only one who runs their own business. Now you might think that’s because I’m way smarter, well thank you for the compliment, but the harsh reality is all of my friends are way smarter than me, some with multiple degrees.
No, in fact I’ve got to be the dumbest bugger in the group, because instead of having a cushy 9 to 5 job, with the weekends off and having fun, I’m stuck on a computer writing articles just like this one.
If you are thinking about starting your own business, either online (that’s creating and running a website) or offline, for instance running a retail outlet, then you need your head examining because you are one those breed of people that relishes on stress, hardship, over 80 hours a week, you don’t mind being poor 99% and you are content with foregoing any real social life. Welcome to the world of the average business start-up… oh and did I mention that in 8 out of 10 cases your efforts won’t amount to squat diddly as your business is most likely to fail within the first 12 to 18 month.
The realities of starting a business are:
Forget Your Social Life
It’s just the nature of the beast. If you really want to see your business succeed then you are going to have to put aside those nights out and time with your friends and family and work. Last Christmas Day I got a number of phone calls from my friends asking me to come and join the festivities. What did I do? I stayed home, on my own in my little room, sat in front of my computer and worked for 19 hours.
This is the one reason any sane person does not start a business – it just requires so much sacrifice on your social life. I have to admit that over the years my friends have disappeared, well not all, but my social life is not what it once was. The old saying; ‘It’s lonely at the top.’ carries more truth than most can imagine.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you get into there are always costs, and without careful financial planning these can spiral out of control and ruin your business very quickly.
Many entrepreneurs opt for the cheapest possible route to market simply because they don’t have squillions of pound, dollars, Euros or yen to plough into the business. Yes, some business models are cheaper to get into than others, but it doesn’t alter the fact that once you are up and running the costs will begin to pile up.
I actually started Meebal.com for the grand sum of US$200. The sum included a WordPress Theme, Hosting and a Domain Name and that was it. Obviously once I was set to go the costs started to jump out – such as internet connection, developer costs (WordPress Themes are ok, but for the most part the coding and back-end systems are going to need serious tweaking), Search Engine Optimization and the list just goes on.
Money… nope don’t have any of that stuff and this is a reality of almost all start-ups. Cash is the life blood so any that you can get will go straight into the business and trust me… your new baby is one hungry little so and so who will always be crying out for more.
So, forget those nights out on the town with your friends because, A) You won’t have the time and; B) You won’t have the money.
Get Some Sleep
Sleep is for wimps and those who work a 9 to 5. You don’t have time for sleep and even when you do manage to lay your head down on that lovely soft pillow your mind is going to be racing at a million miles per hour, coming up with new ideas and ways to deliver more to your potential customer.
Accept the fact that you are going to feel exhausted most of the time due to sleep deprivation Also accept the fact that part of your operations costs is going to be taken up buying lots of coffee so that you can stay awake and work three times harder than any of your friends on a wonderful 9 to 5 with a big fat pay check at the end of each working month – slap yourself and stop dreaming, the last thing you are going to see for a while is a pay check and certainly not a big fat one either.
OK, take a break and going and pour another coffee! Back to the realities of starting a business…
Get Some Help
Don’t, whatever you do, ask your friends to help you – this is WORK and it’s likely they won’t want to spend time working when they should be socializing and having fun. Work means getting paid and it’s likely, unless you have a trust fund, that you’ll be poor, so paying a friend or two to help is out of the question.
Now on that note, you are at some point going to need help. Take Meebal.com, I can write the content and manage the website on a daily basis. However, I haven’t got much of an idea when it comes to coding the back-end to increase the load speed of the pages, and SEO, considering how fast it moves, is a mystery in most instances. Therefore I do have to pay some people to do things that I simply cannot do or do not have the time to do. In order to do this you will have to figure this in to your initial start-up costs, regardless of the type of business you intend starting, you will invariably need outside help.
The only other solution, which I now have to do, is to learn new skills. It’s not pleasant and adds a huge amount to your already overloaded work schedule.
Love, not loathe, what you do.
You have to love, with all your heart, what you do. For me I love to write. Whether my writing is any good is always up to the reader and I have had my fair share of critics and fans. I love to write about what interests me, and hopefully will spark the interests of those reading my work – this is the passion you need.
Without having a passion for what you do then you will never succeed at it. Anything that does not hold and keep your interest is hard to produce motivation and when it comes to selling it to your potential customers this will show. So love, not loathe, what you do.
Be an optimist, a pessimist and a realist
You must be optimistic about what you are doing. Your optimism will shine through when it comes to your potential customers. You also have to be a pessimist without losing site of your optimism. Remember that most small businesses fail within the first 12 to 18 months and your pessimism could well prevent this from happening. Pessimism allows you to carefully watch what you are doing and will allow you to stand back and be critical of your work. Remember there is no Ying without Yang – where there is Light there is Darkness and without the balance of the two elements you can achieve nothing.
Finally be a realist. Think carefully what type of business you want to start and why. Be prepared for the worse but plan for the future carefully. Remember to set aside a healthy budget for COFFEE!