If you are planning to start a business or have recently started one, you have a four in five chance of failing. Research by Bloomberg reveals that 80% of small businesses fail within a year and a half of starting. If you're like most budding entrepreneurs, leaving a steady job for such uncertainty is a huge leap of faith. You would stand to lose not only the money you put into the business, but also the overall financial security of your family. However, there are things you can do to give yourself a fighting chance.
The First Step is Always the Hardest
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers offers some sound advice from personal experience on how to start anything. As he points out, "there's ALWAYS a gap between what we know we SHOULD do and what we ACTUALLY do. For any goal you have - such as starting a business or addressing one aspect of it, like social media - the first step is "to simply get started." Many people go months or years before even doing this step, and in fact, often never start at all. In his video, he shares the "Before I go to sleep tonight" technique to help you get over this hurdle. It's pretty straightforward. But first, some paradoxical advice: start with the end.
"You read a book from beginning to end. You run a business the opposite way. You start with the end, and then you do everything you must to reach it." - Harold S. Geneen, telecommunications entrepreneur, as quoted by the Small Business Blog
Obviously, you should have an end goal in mind. The problem with end goals is that they are often so big and all-encompassing that they seem hard to break down into doable parts. Derek suggests starting with something you can do without too much effort TONIGHT. Do this before you go to sleep, without having to stay up much later than you usually do. Take up his challenge and comment on his post about one thing you will do tonight before you sleep. Rinse and repeat.
Remember When to Quit for the Day
Entrepreneurs will always have more to do in a day than they can do. It can become a source of guilt or sleepless nights if you don't finish everything you want to do today, even if it's just plain impossible. The key is effective time management. One of the biggest obstacles to proper time management? Learn to say no - no to people, things, events, vices, etc. that do not help you run your business. Most importantly, set boundaries as to how much of your day goes to the business, and when to set your quitting time.
In starting any business, make sure you thoroughly plan the kind of time and money you will need to reach the breakeven point. This is easily two years down the line - more likely around five. Then just as the old catch phase goes, do it. But at the same time, remember to set boundaries to prevent it from consuming your entire life and affecting your family. These simple tips are often overlooked and taken for granted by a lot of people. They can also be some of the biggest reasons a vast majority of small businesses don't take off.
You can read and comment on Derek Halpern's article on how to start anything here: http://socialtriggers.com/how-to-start-anything/
To learn more about how to say no, check out the article on "How the Power of No Saved My Life" here: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2013/09/how-the-power-of-no-saved-my-life/
If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about small business issues and how to deal with them, check out http://www.retellityblog.com
By Kate Teng