Back in 2012, when my kids were just babies, I made the decision to leave a job that I enjoyed in the financial services industry to start my own business. I wanted more than anything to be at home with my children.
However, since I hadn’t hit the lottery or become independently wealthy I had to figure out how to make money to support my family.
It’s been quite a rollercoaster ride, but it’s been worth every single minute of the ups and downs
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably on your way to deciding whether running a business is right for you. I hope that answer is yes! It starts with your mind, your imagination. A vision and a goal on how you want to run a business, who you want to serve, who you want to work with. Then it continues on to creating ideas on what products and services to offer.
How To Use Your Creativity In Business
When it comes to starting a new business, creative people always have an advantage. They can not only create new things but also find easy solutions to difficult problems. If you aspire to be successful in a business, this quality will certainly help you. This part is crucial. Simply put, you are looking for a way to find a solution to your customer’s problem. That’s it! Solve their problem in a way that no one else can and you’ll have an audience who can’t wait to grab their wallets.
Creativity in business is crucial if you want to convey yourself, your business, and the products or services you offer as different and ahead of others. In order to be different, you need innovative, fresh, out-of-the-box business ideas. Creativity allows you to imagine wildly about things that seem impossible. For example, if there’s a problem that a lot of other businesses have been trying to solve through the products and services they offer, you need your creativity to filter through what the ‘bandwagon’ has to offer. You need to find a loophole and from there aspire to build something far from ordinary. This will lead you to building a niche through the products and services you offer. If what you offer is unique, then you will be able to build a market and that will stay loyal to your brand.
Now that you know how important creativity is in running your business, let’s proceed to another glaring sign for future entrepreneurs: being your own boss. You might already have all the makings of a boss but you haven’t noticed it until now. Take note of the small things you do, like leading a group. Do you know what this trait shows?
How To Know If You’re Ready to Be Your Own Boss
People who are likely to start a new business tend to disregard authority. I don’t mean robbing a bank disregard for authority, but more of a personality that isn’t happy with setting for status quo. If you do not like the idea of working directly under someone else, there is a great chance that sooner or later you will start your own venture. This tendency, however, is not egotism. It is a form of healthy self-esteem.
Do you have natural leadership qualities? In a working group, do people look to you to bring the discussions towards a goal or a direction? The best way to find out if you’re ready to be your own boss is when you are working with others. This could mean years prior to starting up your business. I worked as an employee for more than a decade before I finally started to branch out on my own. This characteristic does not form overnight. It takes years of experience before you can say that you have leadership qualities fit to start and operate a business. Don’t get me wrong, there are those success stories of children who have started their own business with awesome results, but these tend to be the exception rather than the rule. When you enjoy being your own boss, don’t confuse it with being able to control the situation or other people. Being your own boss is not something you do only for yourself. The best interest of the group or the company should still be your number one priority.
Are you convinced enough that you’re ready to be your own boss? If you are, then this next attribute will be important to you. With the capability to become your own boss comes a degree of wisdom and experience in realizing your limits as an individual, and more importantly, as a business. Your ability to forecast and be prepared for the future and unexpected turns in your business might save you one day.
How To Better Understand Your Limits
Smart people do not bite off more than they can chew. It is important to know when you should stop or ask for help. You can thrive when you really know your limits. This self-realization helps you avoid taking unrealistic steps. This is wisdom that can help you succeed in your business and can be the difference between success and failure.
Understanding your limits in business does not only mean the business in a financial and operational sense, it also means knowing your limit as a manager or business owner. In terms of financial and operational limits, one example to find out your range is by creating ‘worst case scenarios’ to simulate what could happen. You can create scenarios for your liquidity or your inventory, to find out at which point you are still safe and at which point you are in trouble. More than half of companies go out of business due to lack of profits or funding sources. As a person, knowing your limits means your physical boundaries for stress and time. You need to give yourself a break every once in a while or else you’ll burn out eventually. Always respect time for relationships and do not let your business ruin family and friendships because, at the end of the day, it will not be worth any penny you earn from choosing your business over the important people in your life.
During the course of operating your business, what fundamental ideas do you go back to? Think of these as the most basic facets of running a business. They might sound simple and almost repetitive, but believe me, they’re tried and tested for a reason. It really depends how you will apply them and depends what the situation or problem requires you to do, but almost everything can be solved (or avoided) if you know these things.
Three Business Lessons You Should Know Before Starting A Business
Before you start a new business, you must know that there are many people who are already doing it successfully. In order to compete with those experienced people, you have to know the rules of the business really well. Try your best to learn what it takes to succeed in this particular area.
As you start your own business, you will probably feel overwhelmed before you even take your first step. It’s a competitive world out there and there’s just so many distractions and competitors that you tend to compare yourself with. But if you are open to learning from others, you will have your fair share of success before you know it.
- Network – Meet new, like-minded people who share the same passion for business and success as yours. Listen to their stories, how they began, what they did to get to where they are, and why they choose to still do what they do. Listen, take down notes if you must, and keep an open mind that if they were able to do it, there’s no reason for you not to! Mastermind groups can be an amazing way to meet likeminded people and find help and support for moving your business forward.
- Research – Do your own research. Starting your own business is actually very scientific and methodical. There are guidelines and principles that have been the backbone of many successful brands and corporation and it wouldn’t hurt to refer to these, too. Seek out the top companies in your industry and see what things they are doing and how that leads to their success. As the old saying goes, success leaves clues.
- Mentor – Find a mentor. Is there someone within your close circle who shares the same passion for business and drive for success? Do you find yourself fascinated by how he or she did something? A mentor should be your source of wisdom and inspiration. When you doubt yourself or go through challenges in your business, a mentor should be someone who’s only a call away. It took me a long time to realize this, but I’m so glad I found a mentor to help me to move my business forward.
Like the backbone of your business we’ve discussed earlier, another ‘abstract’ facet of business that you need to invest in is your ideas. These may come at the most random of circumstances or you might dedicate a day or two to sit down and brainstorm your next great move. However, you formulate your ideas, the only way to make them real is to believe in them and believe you can create something out of them! I take a notebook with me wherever I go so that I’m ready when inspiration strikes. But ideas are no good if you’re not prepared to take action.
How To Believe In Your Ideas
You may have a lot of great ideas, but in order to make them happen, you need to believe in them. Many people entertain ideas, but deep down they do not believe that those ideas can be made into reality. Successful people chase their dreams with their eyes open and work hard to make them come true. Don’t be afraid to fail. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
If you want to believe in your ideas, the first step is to write them down. Writing down your ideas can turn into goals and actionable tasks that you can achieve. Instead of having them all in your mind, why not create a mood or vision board? Writing it down also includes any images, quotes, names, numbers – virtually anything you can relate to that idea you have. When you are able to see the bigger scheme of things through your vision board, you automatically get inspired to find ways to achieve it. Make sure you leave your vision board in a place you pass by or see every day. Constantly being reminded of your ideas and goals gives you a chance to focus on your business goals when it comes to the smaller daily tasks you do. You will find a sense of purpose when you see these boards immediately. Before you know it, you’ll be shocked to see that everything you wished and worked hard for on that board is already your reality.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein.
Just like how your ideas started, your mind contains endless possibilities and thoughts. However, it’s up to you if you want to get them through. What exactly am I talking about? It’s keeping an open mind. This is your best defense in ensuring the continuity of your business, especially if your goal is to keep it running for a long time.
How To Always Keep An Open Mind
In order to enjoy more opportunities and achieve more, you must keep an open mind. It is our thoughts and beliefs that limit us. Be open to suggestions because someone else may provide better ideas. Always be humble.
Keep an open mind in business by accepting constructive criticisms, comments, and suggestions from your friends, clients, and even fellow businessmen. Remember that they have no other intention but to improve how you do your business. For example, after brainstorming on a business idea for a new product that you plan on launching, you may receive comments and suggestions from people around you that it might not work. If you have an open mind in business, you will be able to accept all these criticisms and turn it into something better. This will also save you the hassle of launching a product that may not be saleable anyway. On the other hand, if you do not practice having an open and accepting mind, you will go through with your idea and you could even let your emotions take over. You will end up spending time, money, and effort on something that might not be worth it in the end.
Open mind: Check! Now we proceed to the real, tangible stuff. Building your business is a combination of applying principles and beliefs, as well as real hard work. Your blood, sweat, and tears. Don’t skip any one of these to prevent closing shop too soon. The key is to do it slowly, smartly, but surely. Building a business does not happen overnight, one month, or one year. If you have someone promising you that you can make millions of dollars overnight, run fast as you can in the other direction. It takes a lot of perseverance and patience, but at the end of the day, it will one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll get in your life.
Three Ways To Build A Better Business
Keep in mind that it will take a lot of hard work to reach your destination. Success will not happen overnight. The more you know about your business, the more likely you are to succeed in your venture. Study the principles of business and learn from the people who have been doing it for a long time.
Everyone aims to build a better business. Some even study for years and spend money trying to perfect their business model. Some invest a significant amount of money and time. Others pay experts to run and perfect their business. There’s no exact formula for success in any kind of business. You take risks, make mistakes, and adapt to changes that are thrown your way; there is no certainty. You cannot compress years’ worth of hard work and experiences to turn your business into a success. But you can start building your business by building things one piece at a time. Create a strong foundation for your business to make it resilient and sustainable.
- Why – Find the purpose of your business. What made you decide to offer your products and services? Why at this price point? Why did you pick this marketing campaign? What principles did you apply to your business and do you believe in its cause? Your WHYs should be able to withstand financial troubles, operational hiccups, and any changes over the years.
- Product – If you want your business to last, your products must be good and priced reasonably. You need to invest time and effort into developing a product that your audience wants and provides solutions to their problems. A successful business offers a product that your audience can relate to and easily associate with your brand.
- People – Invest in your people and they will return the favor to you and your business a hundredfold. If you are working solo, consider outsourcing to help you grow your business. If it is not a task that is making money of your business, get help. Your people are the greatest asset of your business. They work hard with you to reach the goals of your business. Make sure you appreciate all their efforts by recognizing their hard work. Simple tokens and bonuses may be a little gesture to you, but your employees will feel valued and will work even harder.
The truth is, you will never really be ready to run your own business. I’ve been doing this since 2012 and continue to learn something new everyday. No successful entrepreneur will tell you about the exact moment they knew they were going to skyrocket to success. Or that it was at a certain point that they knew they had all it takes to make a business successful. Want to know the real deal? It’s like building blocks from ground up. You need to lay down a solid base first to support the height and size of your tower. And sometimes, you won’t even know if the base is strong enough until your tower collapses. This is exactly true for businesses. Time, effort, and money will be wasted if you realize that the ‘tower’ or business base isn’t strong enough. So take your time. Don’t put a lot of pressure on making it perfect. Just face it one day at a time, and you’ll be fine!