Having your own business and being your boss certainly sounds enticing. There is no doubt that many people would agree: each year, hundreds of thousands of new businesses open just in the US, and only between March 2019 and March 2020, we saw over 800,000 new startups trying their luck in the volatile economy. It can hardly be debated that today, it is easier than ever to dabble into entrepreneurship and start your own business, even from your home. Resources abound, and with the world being as connected as it is, no matter what industry you are in, your customers are out there; you just have to find them. However, just because it is easier than ever to start a business does not mean that it is easy.
Out of the hundreds of thousands of fresh and new businesses that start with great ambition, 50% are forced to close their doors within the first five years of their operations. A third of new startups do not make it through their first two years. Starting a business is a huge endeavor that requires extensive planning, and even then, you are taking a risk when plunging into this world. If you have a solid idea that you want to share with the world and build your empire upon, you first need to arm yourself with knowledge and all the tips and pieces of advice you possibly can. Here are a few that will help you on your journey to becoming a business owner.

Plan, plan, plan

As we already mentioned, the first step to starting a business is extensive planning. First and foremost, you need to have a solid idea to build your business upon. It is not enough to have a vague idea about your product or services; you need to be as clear and precise as possible. Think about what problem you are targeting particularly and how your product or service will provide a solution to it. Almost half of the startups that fail do so because there is no market need for their offering. Basing all your hard work on an unstable idea is a sure way to be a part of that 50% that does not make it far. Honing your idea, thus, needs to be accompanied by a lot of market research. Research your industry, your future competitors, your local market, and your target audience. This knowledge will give you the power to make the right calls on your business journey.
All in all, don’t set out before having a clear plan of your mission, short and long-term goals, and all the steps that will lead you to achieve them. Make sure your goals are SMART, and you set yourself appropriate deadlines. At the same time, your plan should allow for some flexibility. The business world is unpredictable, and you should make sure your plan will not shatter when facing something unexpected, such as a pandemic. Start slow and test the waters before making a huge plunge, and you will eliminate some of the risks this way.

Get your team together

An important step in your journey to having your own successful business will realize that you cannot possibly do everything by yourself. Even a business that starts from your bedroom will sooner than later require some reinforcement, or else you will be risking your sanity and health. Did you know that the third most common reason for business failure is reportedly not having the right team? A lot of companies are realizing in retrospect that having one more person on their team would have filled a gap, and it could have meant the difference between success and failure. So, think about your capacities and capabilities from the start. Perhaps you have the right idea but lack the business skills, and teaming up with someone who makes up for this could mean the perfect partnership.
You will also need to find the right people to hire. As a startup business, you cannot afford to invest in people who are not suitable for their position. It might sound harsh, but do not skimp on this aspect of your business. It might be more expensive to find qualified employees, but they are what will take your business forward. Work on creating a team whose members have skills and strengths that complement each other’s and work together like a well-oiled machine. Make sure you have a dedicated person for all of the most important tasks so that your team provides solid pillars for your business.

Keep on learning

Another important piece of advice for prospective business owners is to keep their minds open for continuous learning. Those with no previous experience at being a business owner might find the task hard initially, but that does not mean that they have to give up. You are bound to make a bad decision from time to time (this is especially true if you are starting a business from scratch), but it is incredibly important not to beat yourself up about it; after all, this is all a big learning journey. Those who decide to look for a franchise for sale will get additional help; franchisors often offer training to their franchisees which will help them get started with their operations without obstacles. Those with no such backup will have to find their ways of learning the ins and outs, and often, it involves some trial and error. Make use of that network you worked so hard on creating and turn to trusted professionals when you need advice.
Make sure to nurture a mindset that is always ready for growth. Don’t be reluctant to further your education; if necessary, enroll in courses that could give you invaluable insight or participate in seminars to widen your knowledge. Study your industry and keep track of all the news and relevant issues to stay ahead of the curve – being one step ahead will allow you to anticipate changes and trends that might affect your business.

Maintain an optimal work-life balance

While planning for opening your own business, you will likely already find yourself over your head. Rest assured, this will only get worse as you open shop and begin your day-to-day operations. Being a small business owner is one of the most demanding jobs out there, and you will find that your day and night all turn into work hours with no break in between. While this may seem like an inescapable part of the beginning stages of your business, an invaluable piece of advice that you should live by is keeping a healthy work-life balance. Well, as healthy as possible.
Your business is important, but so are the people in your life. You also have to nurture an identity outside of your business and enjoy activities in your personal life. Spending all your waking moments working on your business will result in your equating business success or failure with personal success or failure, which can be very hard on your mental health if not tackled. So, don’t glorify that “no pain no gain” sentiment and get enough sleep, spend time with your family, and simply stay away from your desk when your work hours are over. Do sports and nurture your relationships – it will help you regain your energy and vigor, which will be so important on Monday morning.

Keep close track of expenses

Finally, starting your own business is a major financial investment. The reason why all this preparation is so important is that most people cannot afford to make a mistake on this front. From the get-go, keep a close eye on your finances. When planning for your launch, try to calculate your expenses as precisely as possible – and then leave a huge margin for emergencies. There are many hidden, unexpected costs that will come your way, and you don’t want to find yourself in a pinch right at the beginning. Besides, don’t forget about your living expenses and taking them into account when doing your calculations. Creating a solid business budget is an incredibly important step before starting your business. Remember that running out of cash is the second most common reason for business failure—one-third of startups close shop exactly because of this, according to the previously mentioned source.
Moreover, when you are just starting, try to keep your expenses as low as possible. Avoid overinvesting in the beginning and instead, allow some time to see what you need to invest in and what your business can do without. First off, limiting your operations to your home for the first few months can give you a great head start. It will allow you to save a lot of money on rent and give that much of a boost to the growth of your business. Steer clear of immediately acquiring expensive pieces of equipment you can manage without in the beginning, even if it means outsourcing some tasks. Yes, shiny new things look great, but their cost might outweigh their importance at the moment.

If you are planning to start your own business, your learning journey should not stop here. Read as much as you can and arm yourself with all the useful tips and tricks seasoned entrepreneurs have for you. It is easy to become enthusiastic and overconfident about your project, but taking it slow and planning every step is paramount. Create a solid team, and keep working towards your dream while making sure you’re taking breaks and not burning yourself out. Good luck!

Author's Bio: 

I, Isaac Brunt, am an experienced business writer and consultant. Driven by Passion and Professionalism, I take pride in providing the best research and articles possible. In addition to my writing, helping businesses perfect their HR, gives me the energy to push forward. After so many years of working in the industry, my passion for my work still grows.