In the latest in our series of guest blogs from experts in business, we asked author and leading business advisor Carl Reader for his thoughts on what it takes to build your business from scratch. Carl is co-owner of D&T and business improvement experts The Bear Group.
Many people dream of being an entrepreneur; however the comfort of their job, combined with the fear of the unknown, leaves them continuing doing what they have always done. It takes a brave person to step out of their comfort zone and do his or her own thing. Here are some of the things needed when running a business, which should help any budding entrepreneurs looking to make the leap.
First things first, any business owner has to love both their business, and the world of business. It’s important that both are considered, as far too often I only see people being passionate about the product or service that they are delivering. It’s all well and good being great at what you do, but you need to love being in business, and everything that goes with it. This includes being the sales team, the marketer, the bookkeeper, the cleaner and the tea boy – all whilst working 18-hour days!
Being in business is a lonely place, and at first you won’t have a team of colleagues around you to share a coffee and a chat. Think about how you can build a team around you, whether in a co-working space or even in an online forum (such as my “Startup Coach” Facebook page). You will also need to make sure that you have the support of your friends and family. As an entrepreneur, the days are long and the payment isn’t guaranteed. Everyone has a bad day at some point, and the last thing you want to hear is “I told you so”.
It’s all well and good writing a business plan and creating goals, but even the very best business plan won’t be achieved if you don’t take action. Make sure that you set yourself achievable action points: for example making 10 calls per day, and then complete them. Without action, your business will remain a dream.
Whilst business studies are taught in schools and universities, it doesn’t really prepare you for the real world. I would strongly urge every new business owner to read small business books, visit business websites, and most importantly get out and talk to business owners. In fact, a great opportunity for new entrepreneurs is to find a mentor. Many experienced entrepreneurs are only too happy to impart their wisdom, and it will often only cost you the price of a coffee or a lunch.
Perhaps the most important factor is motivation. As a business owner, it’s all to easy to take a duvet day, or finish early on Friday, as there is no “boss” looking over your shoulder. Motivation can only come from within, and it is essential for any entrepreneur to make sure that they stay motivated – whether to build their business to a certain point, avoid running out of cash, or even to take their family on a dream holiday.
For more business hints and tips follow Carl’s Twitter @carlreader. Carl’s books, ‘The Startup Coach: Teach Yourself’ and the ‘The Franchising Handbook: How to Choose, Start and Run a Successful Franchise’ are available on Amazon now.
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