I've been in business for a long time now, and every once in awhile, I'll get friends and family asking me to talk through their business plans with them. It's one of my favorite things to do! Along the way, I've come up with a few things that seem to apply to every type of business.
If you're thinking about starting a business, or in the beginning stages, here are a few tips to help you start your venture.
1) Decide what your goals are, and how hard you want to work. There's a big difference between a plan that ends with you making a comfortable living vs. one with a $100M payout. Decide what route is right for you.
2) Do something you're truly passionate about. If it doesn't sound like an exciting adventure, to you, from the beginning, keep looking for the right opportunity. Starting a new business can be a rough road, and requires a certain level of belief and momentum to keep going. If you're not into it, it's hard to keep it going during the hard times.
3) Build a 3-year plan. Sit down with a financial spreadsheet and build a model for your business that takes into account expenses and revenue as you grow for 3 years. If you haven't done this before, get a help! This will tell you whether your idea is a viable business or not.
4) Have customers lined up before you begin. If you can't convince at least a handful of people to agree to try out and ultimately pay for your product and service once it's ready, then you should really think about whether it will work. Too many companies have failed because the founders put their sweat, blood and tears into something no one wanted.
5) Start. A major key to success with a new business is prioritizing. If you're doing it right, there will always be more to do then you can accomplish. The hardest part is deciding what NOT to do while making steady progress.
Hope that helps someone get started!
For those that are interested, I recently started a new company called HiringThing. It's easy-to-use online software that helps companies post jobs online, organize applicants and hire great employees. Check us out online, or feel free to get in touch.