7 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Own Business
“The road to success is always under construction. It is a progressive course, not an end to be reached.”
― Anthony Robbins,
Starting and owning your own business is the dream for many a young lad or lass. The financial freedom, the fame and glory, the hordes of fans eagerly snapping up your every product. But truthfully how easy is it?
The road of entrepreneurship is littered with clever obstacles and sticky traps that try to trip you up as you navigate this deadly terrain. Let’s clear some of the glitter & glammer from our eyes and go over some of the more common things that you need to think about before setting foot into this realm of start-up free-for-all.
“A clear description of users — their desires, emotions, the context with which they use the product — is paramount to building the right solution.”
― Nir Eyal,
Is there a need for your product? Who will want to buy it?
Take a harsh look at your product or service that you plan on offering. Would YOU buy it if it was someone else’s invention? Would your family? Better to be brutally honest with yourself before investing time or money into this venture and coming to terms with the disappointing truth later on.
If you can pass this test, then create a customer profile to analyze your customer. Age, sex, location, education and class are just some of the factors that you should consider when drafting this portrait of your ideal buyer or buyers. Best of all would be to find people who fit this demographic and poll them directly about if they could see themselves using your product/service or not. Who knows? You might even be able to shift your product’s direction after some of this feedback.
“What matters is that you master money and it doesn’t master you. Then you are free to live life on your own terms.”
Are you going to make a profit? How soon? Can you last until you can?
These are the kinds of questions you’ll need to know for the financial side of things. Profit is the fuel that a company needs to grow bigger and prove worth to investors. They want to see the potential for profit, not necessarily immediate profits. Everyone knows that for the first 3 years at least, most of the income generated will be fed right back into the business for continued growth.
Note: Even if your company is non-profit, there will still be bills to cover and staff to hire, so you’re not entirely off the hook there.
“Your wealth vanishes, the latest gadgetry suddenly becomes passé, your allies desert you. But if your mind is armed with the art of war, there is no power that can take that away.”
― Robert Greene,
Who is funding this business? You? Your family? Uncle Sasquatch?
Write down how much you think you’ll need to run the business for the next 3 years. Good. Now multiply that by 10. This isn’t overkill, it’s the experience of many a budding entrepreneur that the funds dry up before the ambition does. Make sure that you either have a source for additional funding or you have a plan for making some sustainable profits to feed back into the company before the fish goes belly-up.
Taking out loans is a risky alternative, make sure you will have a way to pay them back if things go south with your business. Despite your best intentions, weather, wars and women have ways of crushing the best-laid dreams. Just kidding, women would probably be a part of those dreams.
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
― Patrick Rothfuss,
Names are important. Pick a name that is unique and describes your business unconsciously to the consumer. You wouldn’t pick Shit-Crushers as a restaurant name but, hey, it might make a great moniker for a boot company.
You want something unique, yet instantly familiar and pronounceable. Don’t make things any harder for yourself. For my company, Brotato Games, I chose the Brotato part because it was a unique portmanteau of Bro and Potato, both things dear to my heart. Also, it hadn’t been claimed yet, unlike the first 500 things I thought of.
5: Laws & Regulations
“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.”
― Henry David Thoreau,
What do you need to operate this business? What tax files and codes will you have to pour over to make sure the money flows in correctly? It’s important to study up on this stuff beforehand before you’re swamped in E-13’s and W10’s.
Your filing system should be immaculate with every document separated into categories to make things easier to find. Remember that writing as a technology was invented multiple times in order to track land purchases but never stuck around until the ancients also developed a good filing system for their scribblings.
“A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people.”
― James C. Collins,
Can this business grow in a healthy way? You don’t want to spurt up too fast and then die because product can’t be fulfilled in time. Timing is everything and your business should have a clear pathway to bigger and better things. You don’t want it to stay small-fry forever.
Make sure that you have a solid plan in place for continued growth of your clientele, hiring of new employees and product expansion otherwise you could be caught with your pants down.
7: Hard Work
“If you try and lose then it isn’t your fault. But if you don’t try and we lose, then it’s all your fault.”
― Orson Scott Card,
You can only control two things in life: Your attitude and your effort. Effort is key for a new business. You’ll be wearing a lot of hats and juggling positions in the first 3 years of building from the ground up. There will be days when you don’t feel like pushing forward, but those are the most important days. Just remember that just because you don’t FEEL like doing something doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t. The feeling often goes away as you push forward with the task anyway. Just begin.
Unless you have some partners to help share the load, the bulk of the energy to push your business forward will be generated from you as main mover and shaker. Partnerships, however, are a whole can of worms for another article.
So, that’s our main seven: Market, Profitability, Capital, Name, Laws, Scalability & Hard Work. What else is there, you ask? Quite a bit more actually, but 7 had a nice ring to it and my fingers were tired.
Overall, there are a combination of things to consider when creating a self start-up and it’s not a decision made lightly. It will haunt you for the foreseeable future, keep you awake at night, sweating blood & tears, and be the best damn thing you ever set your mind too. It’s totally worth it to follow your dreams rather than someone else’s. That’s what life should be about.
About our company:
Brotato Games is a new innovative game-creation company dedicated to making games for you and your friends to enjoy. We create fun, unique products like 420 – The Card Game that make you laugh, think and stretch your comfort zones. Drop us a line at [email protected] for any questions, comments or love-notes.
This article was written by Eric, with the help of some dab monkeys.