Starting a New Business: Actualizing Your Vision
By Charles Hopkins
Published 04/20/2006 | Entrepreneur
So you had that fantastic business idea, the one that's going to be wildly successful and make you a fortune - and even better, you actually did something about it and started your own business. Good for you! Not everyone gets even that far. Most people sit and day dream about what they might do if only ....
"The world is full of dreamers, there aren't enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision" - W. Clement Stone
But you got over the biggest hurdle, you took that first step and you actually created something.
Well done - you already did more than most. But once you've got started and you've maybe lost that first flush of enthusiasm with the day to day details of running your business how do you keep going?
There are several things to look at here:
1. What are you really good at and what do you enjoy doing? Make two lists - one of all the jobs you like and/or are good at, and one of all the jobs you hate and/or really don't do very well. Take the second list and have a look at what you might outsource or automate. Do you really love doing those accounts or would your time be better spent in forward planning while your accountant does the sums? Must you personally reply to every last enquiry or could you create a FAQ which you can post on your website and refer people to by autoresponder? Obviously in the early stages of your business you might find you don't have the money to pay someone to do the jobs you hate but you've got to think about what is best for you and your business long term. Be creative - could you swap skills to get the help you need? The more routine jobs you can outsource or automate the more time you have to plan and to market your business, and to think about even more ways to bring in all that lovely cash - not to mention you get to spend more of your time doing the things you really enjoy doing.
2. Why are you doing this? You really need to be motivated to start a business and keep it going and the best way to do this is to know what all that effort is for. What really moves you to get up in the morning and do what you need to do even when you don't really feel like it? Write your reasons down and stick them on your wall. Even better find pictures of that house in the country, the Lamborghini or that 'must have' holiday and put them where you can see them every day.
3. How do you deal with those inevitable bumps in the road? Not everything you do will be perfect - sometimes things you've tried will be a total disaster - but it's the way you react to problems that matters. If you curl up in a ball and give up at the first sign of failure you'd better not be in business. "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." - John Quincy Adams. It's all about attitude.
4. Have a plan and stick to it as far as possible but always be prepared to be flexible and open minded. Sometimes the most unexpected opportunities come up and you need to be ready to seize them with both hands - as Joe Vitale says 'Money likes speed'.
5. Get yourself a mentor - learn from someone who has done it before. Having someone to bounce ideas off and someone who can encourage you when things get tough is invaluable.
And most importantly, never let anyone put you down and never be afraid of failure:
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat" - Theodore Roosevelt.
Don't ever forget that!