The decision to start a business is exciting, but don’t get caught up in the fairytale. If you want your business to succeed for the long-term, have these three essential elements in place.
1. Enough capital for six months. The time it takes to turn a profit will vary between industries and individual businesses, but the rule of thumb remains the same: have enough cash in the bank to survive for six months or more before you launch. Developing a realistic personal and business budget can help you survive the first few months, and sticking to this budget will be crucial to success.
Develop a list of potential expenses early on so that you have a good idea of what monthly bills plus extraneous expenditures will add up to and how this spending will affect your bottom line. Know that you may not receive a paycheck for months or even years after launch, so a hefty cash reserve will ameliorate the growing pains of starting a business.
2. Marketing and sales strategies for early-adopters. Coming up with an outstanding product or service is great, but your business will likely fail without those crucial first few customers. Develop a marketing plan with an allotted marketing budget that will get your product or service in front of key early-adopting clients. From the start, prepare ways to engage with and nurture clients to develop a loyal base.
Next, build your sales infrastructure: think about sales contracts, proposals, product listings or anything that a client will see when he or she wants to purchase from your company.
3. Endurance. I tell people this all the time: one of the hardest parts about being an entrepreneur is having the stamina to keep up with the daily demands of running your business. A lot of people mistakenly think that it will be a walk in the park.
Sure, there are major benefits such as working for yourself, having a flexible schedule and enjoying the successes of your hard work. But each benefit comes at the cost of putting your own capital and reputation on the line.
Before starting your own business, make sure you can mentally and physically ensure the journey. Be prepared to work long days, do things that are outside of your comfort zone, make personal sacrifices, work hard for what you believe in and dedicate yourself fully to the businesses success. If you aren’t in it 100 percent, the business won’t achieve its full potential.