Thursday, January 13, 2011

Parents Just Don't Understand...

Image: Grant Cochrane /
...And Neither Do People Who Have Never Owned A Business.
  • THEY said "should you really be starting a business in this economy..."
  • THEY said "the timing's not right for you to start out on your own..."
  • THEY said "what if it doesn't work out, you won't be eligible for unemployment benefits..."
  • THEY said "you've never owned a business like that before..."
  • THEY said "what about your competitors, they've been in business a lot longer than you, they probably have the market all wrapped up..."
  • THEY said "why don't you call your (insert long lost relative here) he would probably hire you..."
  • THEY said "you could always go back to school and finish your degree, then you could get a good job with a good company with a good retirement package..."
  • THEY try make you feel like you've got a bulls-eye on your back and the enemy is surrounding you, waiting to attack.
However, business owners and entrepreneurs typically disregard what THEY say.

If entrepreneurs waited for the "timing" to be right, there would no longer be any entrepreneurs. If a potential business owner waited for the "economy" to be favorable, there would be fewer business owners in the marketplace.

Entrepreneurs start a new business often times in spite of - or because of - the competition in the area. They do so because they believe that they can supply a better product or service (or a better price on a similar product or service).

And after all, competition is what keeps a free market economy honest.

Starting a business typically falls into two categories.

A full-time endeavor that is intended to pay your bills and feed your family from the first day you start. This may or may not require a storefront or formal office space. Frequently these can be run from your home if you have a ''designated area you conduct business from'' (i.e. a spare room you turn into an office).

A sideline business or money making hobby that you use to fill in the gaps created by a lack of income from your ''day job.'' These are almost always run from home and sometimes a sideline business can grow and evolve into a full-time endeavor.

For those with the heart of an entrepreneur that want to start a business that will be a full-time endeavor please consider the following...

If YOU believe that you can make it work, then you can make it work. A wise man once said "He who believes he can and he who believes he cannot are usually both right."

Research and study everything that you can on the business and the area that you live in to develop an understanding of what it will take to be successful in your market. However - as a word of caution - do not become victim to the "paralysis of analysis." Sometimes you just have to dive in head first with the information that you have and make adjustments as you go.

Buy a copy of Frank Betteger's book How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success Through Selling and read it a couple times. Even if you are not going to be selling a product per se, you are definitely ''selling yourself'' to your potential client base. (For the guys out there - also go buy a copy of Wild At Heart by John Eldridge and read it. It may open your mind to a few things that you never realized about yourself.) If you have previously read these books, go read them again.

Have a ''get the job done'' mentality embedded in your mind. That means no vacations... no season tickets to the local baseball team... no ''dinner and a movie'' with the spouse more than once a month... until you have your business established and generating enough revenue that you will not be stressed out over the mortgage payment if you take more than three days off in a row. You have to be focused and committed to doing - not just "your best" but - "whatever it takes" to be successful.

Realize that you are going to lose some sleep. You may lose sleep because you are adding the finishing touches to your latest and greatest piece of marketing materials and you simply lost track of time. You may lose sleep because you have a mountain of paperwork to go through before you can go to bed. And you may lose some sleep because you are not sure where the next client is coming from.

If you find yourself in the latter situation, whatever you do, do not toss and turn and let stress and worry consume you. Go pick up a book (like Wild At Heart or How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success...) and start reading it. You may discover something you missed the first time. You may remind yourself of a concept that you've been meaning to implement but haven't done so yet. You might even find yourself still reading when the sun comes up and the alarm goes off - in which case grab an extra cup of coffee and hit the ground running, you will definitely get some sleep the next night.

Understand that people who have never owned a business before can't understand what motivates and drives someone to take a leap of faith and charge into the realm of uncertainty by starting a business. It doesn't make them bad people (they may be your parents or your grandparents or your brothers and sisters). It just means that you can't go to them for advice about growing YOUR business. And after all, at the end of the day it is YOUR business and YOU are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of it - not your parents, not your neighbors, and certainly not the government.

Lastly, to use a familiar cliche, "Work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God."

Good luck. I'm pulling for you.

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