As a mentor to business owners, I see too many ‘me too’ businesses set up using money from an inheritance or a redundancy package. What I mean by ‘me too’ is that the ideas are drawn from what is already out in the market so the business concept is not unique or differentiated. Running a business looks easy, even with a business aptitude and a technical skill; experience has a nasty habit of teaching the business owner that it is not easy.
Do the research!
You would not walk into a car dealership and put £20,000 down for a car because it looked easy to use and you had seen other similar version on the road? You would go on the internet, buy a trade magazine, ask an expert or an owner with a similar car; you would compare it to other makes and models and take it and others cars for a test drive before you made the decision to buy.
So before you start in business, do the same level of research, question and review.
I am not only talking about the research required to write a business plan, although this is important in securing finance and communicating your business purpose, direction and expectations. Remember, the business plan is a projection!
The kind of research I am talking about will give the idea a shot of realism, which will not only influence the projections in the business plan; but may even stop you for starting the business!
Christina Morris in her blog, http://bit.ly/Ngsbn3, sets out some common unrealistic expectations some small business owners have:
§ “If I run my own business from home, I will have way more time to do the things I love”.
§ “I’m going to make a TON of money!!”
§ “My employees/ team have nothing else to do but work for ME”.
§ “Once I establish my business, people who need my skills will be knocking my door down to hire me”.
§ Last but not least, do not haveunrealistic expectations of yourself.
Interview business owners that are in the same sector or in the same location, ask questions of business owners that are in the start-up and/or growth stages of their business cycle. You want to know the highs and lows of running a business, you want their advice on the pitfalls and inside track and you need to know every aspect of being in business including the effect on your health and on your relationships.
Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Learn from the mistakes of others, you cannot live long enough to make them all yourself”. None of us can afford to make too many mistakes in business, so do your research so you can be realistic. Start your business with clear and realistic expectations to give yourself and the business the best advantage.
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Janice B Gordon: The Problem Solver Business Growth Consultant, Mentor, Speaker and Author. Business Evolution – Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing World will give you the guidance you need to evolve you and your business and exceed your customers wants and needs.