Whether it be while pouring time and effort into doing something we don’t love, or whether it be just sitting at home alone with our thoughts, most of us have probably stumbled upon a business idea that, at least in the moment, we would have really liked to pursue. When considering starting a business, however, it’s easy to get caught up in the magic of the idea and forget about the pesky details. Conversely, it’s easy to get bogged down by all of these details and decide the idea isn’t worth pursuing.
Whatever the case might be, letting these thoughts hash it out in our heads can only be so helpful before we need to look to other resources for help. That’s why we’ve put together some helpful things to keep in mind if you’re considering going forward with your business idea. Here are a few tips to help you start your own business.
Be Solution Oriented
A business needs to be sustainable, which means that it needs to make money. In order to make money, you need to convince customers that they need your product for some reason or another. As simple as it might sound, this isn’t always the simplest step.
Being solution oriented, in this context, means understanding that your product needs to solve some problem. Chances are that the inspiration for the idea comes specifically from addressing some issue or inconvenience in your life—don’t lose sight of that! Getting caught up in the design you have in mind and all of the cool features and benefits is great for motivation, but you have to remember that your future customers don’t have your same context. In order for them to see the solution, they have to understand what problem you’re aiming to fix. Remember that scene from Wolf of Wall Street? It’s corny, but it gets the point across: it’s not enough to offer someone a pen, it’s about making the customer understand why they need the pen.
Sweet n Simple
Again, getting caught up in your idea can be magical, but it can also lead to you fleshing out your concept with a lot more detail than you have the bandwidth to deliver. Make sure to keep it simple, at least at the beginning.
A simpler concept is easier to design, produce, and sell—especially to customers that don’t have a reason to trust your brand quite yet. Once your business and concept have taken off and have gained the trust of your customers, you can start fleshing out more complicated ideas and features, and gauging where these extra details will be successful and where they won’t. At least during the beginning, however, keep it simple.
Mind the Costs
A good idea and a whole lot of passion are absolutely essential whenever trying to start your own business, but they aren’t enough. Unfortunately, it costs money to make money, and if you aren’t careful with measuring the costs of starting your business before you get started, you might find yourself only part way through and running out of money.
Go through everything, from rent to utilities to wages and everything in between, below, over, in, and out. Don’t forget to consider your personal expenses, either. You might have everything planned out and doable if you’re only considering the costs of your business endeavors, but if you’ve forgotten the cost of living, not having money to pay your own rent or to eat are certainly going to be major roadblocks. On top of that, you should consider unexpected costs, which brings us to…
Have a Plan B (and C, and…)
So you’ve mapped out your expenses and are pretty sure you can cover costs moving forward. That’s good! But what happens if you get in a car crash? What happens if you have to go to the hospital? So many Americans are one accident away from a financial emergency, and if that happens while you’re trying to front the cost for your business, it could spell disaster.
The dream is to eventually be able to live off of your business. However, especially at the beginning, you’re probably going to want to keep your day job. Definitely don’t give up that source of income if you can’t comfortably front the cost of a Plan B, C, D, or E. We’d recommend tallying up costs and making sure you can afford at least twice as much, a lot of experts recommend making sure you can afford three or four times as much. In short: be prepared for anything.
Don’t Forget the Details
There are details to overlook in just about every aspect of starting a business. Make sure to be meticulous when you’re writing out costs, but also in everything else, especially when checking the legality of things. Everything from how you receive and handle money to how, what, and when you pay workers will need to fall under specific rules and regulations. Falling out of line in any of these can be a pretty big roadblock in continuing forward, if you aren’t careful.
These rules and regulations tend to differ from state to state, so consider talking to a small business accountant among other professionals to make sure you’ve dotted all of your I’s and crossed all of your t’s.