When it comes to starting a business, there are many hurdles and obstacles that you’ll need to overcome in order to succeed. To make sure that you’re prepared for anything that might come your way, here are the top 5 things you need to do before starting a business, that will set you up for success.
Things You Need To Do Before Starting a Business – #1. Master your mindset
You’ve decided to start a business. You’re excited, you can’t wait and nothing is going to stand in your way. After all, this is something you’ve wanted for a very long time. You’ve done your research, you know who your audience is. You’ve tested the market, you’ve got a clear vision of what you want to achieve and you’re off to the races.
Fast forward a few months down the road and things aren’t quite going to plan. It’s proving to be a lot harder than you thought it would be.
There’s so much to learn and so much to do. There just never seems to be enough time in the day to fit it all in. So you start comparing yourself to other people, which of course, makes you feel a thousand times worse.
Before you disappear down that dangerous rabbit hole, stop.
Why you need to master your mindset before starting a business
When it comes to the entrepreneurial journey, nothing is certain. There are twists and turns, risks to be taken, difficult decisions and a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Add to all this the weight of friends and family waiting in the wings ready to jump in with “I told you so” ( at least that’s how you feel), and the persistent voice in your head that keeps reminding you that 80% of all businesses fail, or has it risen to 90%? Either way, it’s no wonder that one of the most important things you need to master before starting any business is your mindset.
Your mindset can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. From self- doubt, to comparing and despairing, to issues with self-worth, there are myriad ways your mind can hold you back and stop you in your tracks when you’re trying to build a business.
So what can you do to master your mindset and prepare yourself for success?
Firstly, know that these challenges are normal. Mindset related issues are a common part of every entrepreneur’s journey. The key is to build strategies to deal with them so that you’re well prepared when they show up.
Here are a few strategies that can help you master your mindset so you stay positive and on track:
Surround yourself with the right people:
Surround yourself with like-minded people who are going through the same challenges. This way, when you do have moments of self- doubt or start to beat yourself up, there will be people who can support you and who understand what you’re going through.
Joining mastermind groups, attending networking events and investing in a coach are just a few things that you can to make sure that you have positive influences around you when you start to build your business.
As Emily Rawson said about building her own successful business –
Your friends are who you are. Surround yourself with positivity and positive energy. ( Listen to the full interview here)
Focus on the positive:
When things go wrong or you run into hurdles, rather than focusing on the problem, instead, try to focus on what might be good about the situation. Perhaps you learn a valuable lesson that will hold you in good stead moving forward, or maybe you spot an opportunity that you didn’t see before?
The benefits of developing a positive mindset can’t be ignored. When you’re stressed, your body releases “stress” hormones which cause a physiological response leading to things such as increased heart rate, muscle tensing and increase blood pressure.
Training yourself to focus on the positive will have the long-term benefit of reducing the amount of time you spend in a state of “stress”.
But that’s not all, studies have long shown that people tend to see what they want to see and experience what they expect to experience. Not to mention, when you focus on something the more you see it.
If this is the case then, doesn’t it make sense to focus on what’s going well and what’s good in your life?
So, if you want good things, expect good things and focus on what’s already going well.
If you’ve been wondering whether it’s really worth investing in that gratitude journal, then wonder no more.
Studies have found that practising and showing gratitude can reduce physical ailments
As well as increasing the quality of sleep and even improving self-esteem and mental strength. So, when you start to feel like it’s all going wrong, remember the things you have to be thankful for and better still, take the time to write them down.
5 Things You Need To Do Before Starting a Business – #2. Master Your Time
Starting a business requires you to wear lots of hats and juggle lots of competing priorities. Chances are when you’re just starting out, you won’t have the resources to outsource things and what’s more, you might be starting your business as a side hustle which means you’ll have just a few hours in the mornings, evenings and weekends to get things done.
This means you’re going to have to master the art of time management if you want your business to succeed.
There are lots of ways to organise your day and manage your time, from time blocking and batching similar tasks to using the Pomodoro timer method and working in short sprints. The most important thing is to find a method that works for you.
But whichever method you choose, there are a few key factors that will ensure you get the most out of your time every day.
Prioritise your tasks and take action on those that will have the biggest impact first. This might mean doing the thing that you least enjoy first thing in the morning because you know it will have the biggest impact. In other words- eat that frog. Remember, if everything is a priority then nothing is.
If you’re struggling to prioritise, remember the Pareto principle- which states that 80% of your results actually come from 20% of the activities. Figure out what tasks fall into that 20% and focus on doing those.
Learn to say no and say yes to fewer things.
The more you say yes to things the more you’ll have on your to-do list. Saying no to things that won’t move the needle for you, or things that can be done by someone else will leave you with more time to focus on high priority tasks.
As Warren Buffet famously said;
Leave a buffer
Resist the temptation to schedule things back to back. While it might make you feel like superwoman at the moment as you imagine the feeling when everything is done, in reality, tasks may creep and things may just crop up that you hadn’t expected.
But even if you’re being super focused and strict with start and finish times, you’re unlikely to be as effective or producing your best work if your working for 8 hour stretches non stop.
Make sure you leave a buffer of time for those unexpected yet critical things that can crop up as well as making time for breaks. That way, you won’t be behind the minute a client is running late.
5 Things You Need To Do Before Starting a Business – #3. Plan Your Finances
When it comes to starting a business, things don’t always go according to plan. That’s assuming you have a plan.
But even with the best plan in place, one thing that most successful entrepreneurs will tell you is that “it will take longer than you think” and that whatever timeframes you’re giving yourself to get things moving, “ you should double it”
It’s natural when you’re starting an exciting new venture to see things through rose tinted glasses and you can’t foresee every single challenge that you might come across before you start. Honestly, perhaps if you could, none of us would ever start.
But it’s important to go into it with your eyes open and which as much wiggle room as you can, where the money’s concerned. Things will be hard either way, without the fear of debtors knocking at your door to contend with.
Here are a few ways that you can start building a runway so that once you start your business or quit your job, you’re able to focus on building the business and not spending time worrying about money, or the lack of it.
Take a financial audit. Get clear on exactly how much money you really need to keep the important things covered. That’s rent, bills, food and travel costs. Consider what you can get rid of or scale back on. Figure out what your monthly expenses are so that you can set yourself a budget.
Cut back on the non-essentials.
This is the time to consider all of those services that you probably take for granted. Review your services and where possible, switch to cheaper alternatives or cut them altogether.
Try more flexible working.
Depending on your current job situation, this might mean that you work from home from time to time, so you’re spending less valuable time commuting, or perhaps there is a possibility of going part-time or condensing your hours. These options will give you more opportunity to work on your business on the side. Ultimately, if none of these things are possible, you may need to focus on it on evenings and weekends, which still means less risk financially.
Create a saving plan.
It might seem like an obvious one, but having a plan in place, including, how much money you need to save and a date by when you want to save it will help you to get focused and will make you more likely to meet your saving goals faster so you can finally quit your job and focus on your business.
Start a joint venture.
Depending on what business you plan to start, the upfront costs may be too much for you to want to shoulder alone. Starting a joint venture has more benefits than just the financial aspects. Going into business with a partner means you’ll have someone else to bounce ideas off, as the old saying goes “two heads are better than one”. More than one of you means you have the benefit of being able to focus on your strength areas so that you’re not having to do it all alone. Including the things that you’re really not great at.
These are just a few options when it comes to preparing for the financial risks and dealing with the costs associated with starting a business. The important thing to do is to make sure that before you start, you have a clear breakdown of how much you’ll need on a month to month basis and have a clear plan to cover these costs for at least a 6 month period, then double it!
5 Things You Need To Do Before Starting a Business – #4. Practice Discipline and Focus
As a business owner, regardless of what sort of business you own, you’ll have a million and one things crying out for your attention on a daily basis, making it critical that you’re able to be disciplined and focused.
From engaging with potential clients to building up your reputation in your niche to networking to running the day-to-day operations.
For everything you need to do, there’s likely to be a million other things you could be doing to drive your business forward.
Do you focus Instagram or Twitter? how many networking events should you go to? Should you start learning facebook ads or something else? …and didn’t you know that video is where it’s at!
In short, there will always be a million things that you feel you should be doing, learning, listening to, reading, watching, you name it!
When it comes down to it, the key to success is to master the art of focusing on one thing until it’s done. Because if you don’t, you’re likely to end up with hundreds of unfinished projects and a lot of stress to boot.
So make sure that you focus!
Or as Robert Kiyosaki describes it…
Follow One Course Until Successful
5 Things You Need To Do Before Starting a Business – #5. Know Your Why
You know the road will be tough and you’re mentally prepared for it. You’ve become well versed in the art of saying no and you’ve taken to working from home a few days a week to reclaim your time as you get things off the ground. You’ve even got a little bit saved up for those courses and events that you’ll want to invest in.
But are you clear on why you’re even doing this?
As trivial as the question might seem. This is the one thing that will keep you going and bouncing back, when you’ve been met with a hundred no’s, or when your website completely crashes and you have nothing but the white screen of death, or when 3 key clients unexpectedly cancel in a row.
When it comes down to it, in the end, it’s remembering why you ’re doing it that will keep you going, when you’re sat at the computer, on that lovely sunny day, when everyone else has long gone out for dinner or to the local pub.
So, before you get started, do you know your why?