3 Things You Must Consider Before Starting a Business

Design Patterns Business Cards by Michael Kappel
Design Patterns Business Cards by Michael Kappel

Have you ever considered starting a business? Maybe, you’re considering starting another business? If so, I’m sure there have been a ton of questions going through your mind while deciding if it’s going to be a go or a no-go.

Making the decision to start the business is only half the battle. If this is unfamiliar territory, this is something you will learn early on in your startup. You can easily find yourself getting consumed with designing your logo, creating your website, making business cards, and much much more.

While these items have their place, there are a few critical questions to consider before diving head first into your new venture.

Here are the three questions to consider before starting a business:

  1. Have you defined the mission and vision for your business?

  2. Are you clear on your priorities and non-negotiables?

  3. Are you committed to put in the time?

I decided to first share the questions to consider to get you thinking. Now, let’s breakdown each question and how it’s relevant to ensuring you get off on the right track.

1. Have You Defined the Mission and Vision for Your Business?

It all starts as an idea of the product or service offering you would like to bring to market. You probably have a vague sense of what the purpose for product or service, however, being vague on something like this can be problematic.

Without having clear understanding of your WHY, it will increasingly become more and more difficult to maintain your focus as you continue your entrepreneurial journey.

When you a just getting started, it’s easier to plow through the uncertainty because it’s all new to you.

However, this approach starts to breakdown after the initial excitement wears off and you realize that starting this business is going to be more work than you initially anticipated.

Now, you are prime candidate for clearly defining your mission and vision for your business. In the early stages of starting a business, you will find yourself with the temptation of taking your business in a million directions, all at the same time.

This is extremely problematic. You will find yourself bouncing from idea to idea.

Starting everything and never finishing anything. This can and will cause you to burnout before you reach the end of your first month in business.

Your mission and vision will provide you with a filter that you can apply to every potential business opportunity that comes your way. This filter helps you to determine if you should pursue a particular business idea, table it for later, or even trash it all together.

Time is the one commodity that you can never get back. So, wasting time pursuing ideas that line up with your vision for you company is not an option.

I’ll outline how to create your mission and vision statements in later posts. For now, understanding that having a mission and vision for your company is a core component for guiding future business decisions and helping you maintain laser focus.

2. Are You Clear on Your Priorities and Non-Negotiables?

Starting a business has it’s rewards, however it also has it’s challenges. You have to be careful not to allow the challenges to outweigh the rewards. This is sometimes (actually most times) easier said than done.

You will constantly find yourself in positions that challenge you to find more hours in the day to get things done. The severity of this is determined by your current lifestyle. Are you married? Do you have any kids? If so, how many?

The general idea is that the more involved your personal life, whether it be family and/or friends, there will be times were you will have to make the hard decision to work on your business over spending time with them.

However, be careful. This can be a slippery slope, and this is where most people lose their footing.

Even though you will be faced with having to consistently dedicate time to work on your business, you cannot neglect those that are most important to you – your family and friends. In my opinion, it’s no fun achieving success and not having anyone to share it with.

I’m not willing to compromise and you have to be the same way.

That doesn’t mean, you have to choose one over the other. However, it does mean you have to be intentional about everything you do, every place you go, and every relationship you invest in and be sure it’s time well spent based on your priorities – what’s most important to you?

3. Are You Committed to Putting in the Time?

Starting a business requires a tremendous level of commitment. If that’s not understood from the start, you will find yourself frequently considering throwing in the towel.

The commitment required is not something that can be achieved on accident, you must be intentional about it. This is the only way you will have a fighting chance at achieving your goals in the business, without having to sacrifice everything else.

I would recommend scheduling time each week that can be dedicated to working solely on your business. Consistency is key here. You want to make sure that you are always making progress.

Remember, this is not a sprint. It’s a marathon and you are in this for the long haul.

I would recommend spending the bare minimum of 7-10 hours a week. That is an average of about 1.5 hours a day, which is pretty reasonable.

If you are able to dedicate more time, go for it. If you have a day-job and this is something you will be doing part-time, aim to dedicate 20 hours ore more.

When making your decision on how much time to dedicate to your business, remember you do have other obligations. If you take the stance that sacrificing your relationships and health are not an option, you have to schedule the time and commit to it.

My Questions for You

After reading about the three things to consider, I hope they have got you thinking. Answering these questions can put you in the proper mindset that will have a positive impact on making steady progress as you start your business.

Share your thoughts and feedback below in the comments below.

Doubt Will Come, Don’t Let it Hold You Back

Stricken with Self-Doubt by Luc De Leeuw
Stricken with Self-Doubt by Luc De Leeuw

I would have never imagined having so many thoughts of uncertainty about starting this blog. I find myself questioning my decision to jump out here and just go for it. And the thoughts – they are flooding in.

It’s like a roller coaster ride. One minute I’m amped up that I’m finally making it happen. The next minute, I’m questioning if I am taking the right approach with the blog.

My current blogging schedule is to publish 2 posts a week. One on Monday morning, and the other on Thursday morning. Here it is Monday night, and I’m finally getting around to typing up this post.

Is This Normal?

As much as I don’t like the thought of this, it is. It’s actually perfectly normal. I have heard other entrepreneurs explain how they have found themselves feeling paralyzed at times during their journey. You would think that knowing this is a normal thing would make it little easier. I’ve noticed that’s no walk in the park fighting through the negative thoughts.

And the thoughts won’t stop until you choose to stop listening – and that’s easier said than done. If you’re not careful you will find yourself feeling defeated if you don’t address your thinking. Let me share with you how I go about overcoming the doubt to get things done.

How to Overcome the Doubt

I have listed four mental steps to walkthrough to help you shake the doubt:

  • Trust your judgment. Trust yourself after you have done all the necessary preparation. There comes a time where you have to let the rubber meet the road and see what happens. If you felt good about the direction at the start, chances are you’ll be just fine.

  • Embrace the uncertainty. Realize the source of the doubt is rooted in the fact that nothing is guaranteed. Waking up every morning is included in that nothing, but you don’t find yourself doubting that every night. Focus on the things you can control and disregard the rest.

  • Stay positive. Focus on the positive “what-if” scenarios. Avoid entertaining negative thoughts like the plague. They only make things worse.

  • Keep putting one foot in front of the other. I know that achieving success in anything, is not an overnight thing (even though TV makes it appear otherwise). True success is built by consistently doing what’s necessary every day to push you one step closer to your goal.

Dust Yourself Off

I’m overly critical of myself at times when I don’t meet the expectations I’ve set for myself. I feel like kicking myself when I’m not on track with the tasks I’ve set for myself. When you find yourself in this place, make the decision not to stay there long. Dust yourself off, and get back in the game. What’s the worst that could happen – you might actually succeed.

My Question for You:

When was the last time you felt doubt trying to creep in and cause you consider throwing in the towel? Share how you overcome the doubt and found the strength to keep pushing forward in the comments below.

How to Start Any Project in 4 Easy Steps

Project Success by Ken Fager
Project Success by Ken Fager

Why is it so hard to start a new project or venture?

Well, it’s hard when you have to start anything new. There is a link between starting something new and the changes that the new venture will bring. If we are unaware of that link, it will be harder to overcome the feelings of overwhelm, which are perfectly normal.

Most people hate change. For good reason, it’s uncomfortable. Things are much easier when you know what to expect. The only way you can know what to expect is if you have some experience with similar projects. However, in those occasions where the project is new territory, you have to come up with a game plan. I know, some people are allergic to planning anything. If that happens to be you, hear me out. You might find this approach acceptable.

Let’s walkthrough the steps to starting any project:

1. Relax and Take a Deep Breath

This first step is key, because it allows you to set the tone for the remaining steps. It’s important to understand that the sky isn’t falling. If you are not careful, fear and anxiety will prevent you from ever taking that first step and getting started.

2. Brainstorm Tasks to Complete

The rule is that you must write down EVERYTHING that comes to mind for your project. Avoid analyzing your thoughts because that will stifle your creativity. The goal in this step is quantity not quality.

There are several approaches to brainstorming. So, pick the one that best suites you. You can go low-tech using a pencil and paper or high-tech using a digital tool like a word processor. Even though I’m more of a high-tech guy, I still find myself being more productive at times using nothing more than pencil and paper.

Give yourself a set time to brainstorm, for example, three minutes. If you happen to have a timer handy, it would be ideal to set it for your desired brainstorming time. Now you are ready to start. Check the clock for your start time, or simply click start on your time and start brainstorming.

Ok, times up. You should have a list of potential tasks to be completed for your project and you’re ready for the next step.

3. Create Your Action Plan

You have already done all the hard work of getting all your thoughts on paper. This is the easy part. You have to review your list of tasks and create your project outline. This outline will show the order your tasks should be completed.

There will obvious relationships that jump out at you from your list of tasks. Be sure to organize them in the order in which they should be completed.

For example, if you were brainstorming getting dressed in the morning. You wouldn’t place putting your shoes on before putting on your pants.

Keep it simple this first time around. This list of project outline has allowed you to produce your custom action plan for your project.

4. Just Do It

The planning is done, and its’ time to take action. This is where most people stumble. However, you have taken the necessary steps to increase your odds of completing this project. All because you have a plan.

We all have lives that make us feel at times that everything around us is spinning out of control. In most cases those feelings are true. However, there are ways to fight through the clutter and regain control and perspective. I know that overwhelmed feeling. I also know that if you completed each of the steps outlined here, you are ready to overcome your overwhelm.

Take Action

Focus on one item from your action plan at a time and forget about all the other tasks. This will allow you to have laser focus on the task at hand. Once that task is completed, you can move on to the next item. Repeat this process and before you know it, you will be ready to take on your next project.

I wish you the best. Please enter the project you are about to start below. I would love to see what exciting projects you are about to launch.