Starting a business takes a great deal of planning, researching and networking, as it’s important to thoroughly prepare before starting a business. Adapting to change is also extremely important but knowing what you don’t know before you go into it can be a big challenge.
Having started a business myself years ago, I understand the pains, frustration, uncertainty and excitement that goes into starting a new business. This is not to say that I didn’t do a great amount of research and networking to help with the ‘I don’t know what I don’t know‘ mindset.
3 years later and I’ve learned great many lessons, so to assist in the process, I have put together the following checklist of do’s and don’ts in hopes it helps my fellow business owners looking to fill in the blanks.
THE TOP TEN DO’S
- Save, Save, Save – Most entrepreneurs will live off their savings until their business is fully up and going. Determine what the goal amount should be and start saving!
- Be an apprentice & learn your business by working for someone who has a similar business & can teach you the basics.
- Evaluate how you wish to start – part-time or full-time.
- Identify the benefits of starting a family business.
- Understand the competitive landscape & determine how will you set your company apart.
- Understand roles & responsibilities to determine which can be outsourced.
- Create a focus group to get feedback on your products & services – truly listen to your customers. Feedback is crucial to staying relevant with your customers.
- Network with people in the industry – get to know your competition, vendors, pricing & trends to help stay competitive.
- Make a SWOT analysis of all opportunities you are considering – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
- Create a business plan, adjusting as you learn along the way.
THE TOP TEN DON’TS
- Don’t rush into starting a new business – be sure to do thorough research.
- Start your business without a legal business name, a website and social media to help build your brand.
- Don’t quit your job without first identifying a plan of action.
- Hire family and friends who have little to no experience in the industry or good work ethics. It never ends well!
- Open a business in a field you do not enjoy or don’t have experience in.
- Take unnecessary risks – have a plan and budget before starting.
- Select a business that is too high-risk, not recession proof or has too much of a niche market.
- Industry pricing is too low to be truly competitive or profitable – know your cost and expenses to help you learn how low in pricing you can go without losing a profit.
- Don’t go into business super-confident of success – always be ready to be flexible and revisit your business plan, industry trends and implement cost-effective measures when needed.
- Over-Promise, Under-deliver: Customer retention is imperative for any business, gain and keep the trust of your clientele.