5 Tips for Starting Your Own Business

You finally have a great idea for a business, and you can’t wait to quit your day job and dive right into it. But wait — starting your own business, as exhilarating and freeing as it may be, also comes with certain risks and consider downsides. Be sure to consider these carefully so that you feel fully prepared to start this exciting new chapter of your life. Below are tips and skills that new entrepreneurs should have to succeed.

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1.Have a Goal

Before you begin, ask yourself why you’re starting your own business and what you hope the company will accomplish. There can be any number of valid reasons for striking out on your own. Are you trying to fill a niche that isn’t served by the market yet? Do you want to improve on something a company is currently doing, but not doing well enough? Maybe you’re looking to use your years of accumulated skills and experience to design a job that you love and will excel in. Or perhaps you’ve just graduated college and aren’t in love with the idea of being chained to a desk job just yet. 

Whatever the reason is, outline a clear mission statement for your company, and be able to summarize why you’re starting your own business in just a few sentences. Without a clear purpose, your business is that much more likely to fail.

2. Take a Risk

When starting your own business, you have to be willing to bet on yourself. Just like in a strategy game like poker, you need to be able to understand and negotiate, not only financially, but with people, ideas, other businesses, and so on. But to be on the path to success, these risks shouldn’t be random — they should be informed and calculated.

Before you start your own business, be sure to do your research about the market and competitors. It’s also important that you feel prepared financially. Outline a plan for the best- and worst-case scenarios, and ensure that you feel ready for what would happen should the business fail. That’s not to say you should avoid taking the plunge. A failure can teach you as much as, if not more than, a success, and can sometimes transform your idea or lead you in new directions you had never imagined to begin with.

3. Set Boundaries

Self-employment can be scary. At first, it might feel freeing not to have to come into the office at 9 a.m. every day, but you’ll quickly realize that that means you could just be working… all the time. Though new businesses can and do take a huge investment of time, energy, and money, take care that you’re not burning yourself out. That means setting aside time for meals, family and friends, exercise, hobbies, and yes, even sleep.

As your business gets off the ground and starts to expand, be sure to know your own limits and enforce them rigorously. Perhaps this means having clear office hours in which you’re working, or being strict about your lunch break.

It also means setting boundaries for whom you’ll work with and what you’ll do for people. You and your buddy may go way back to college, but that doesn’t necessarily make him an ideal business partner. Even in your business’s fledgling state, be protective of it and of yourself. Your sanity will thank you for it.

4. Build Your Network

Even if it’s your own business, you can’t go it alone no matter what industry you’re in. At the very least, you will want the support of your friends and loved ones, so make sure you spread the word about your new venture. After that, actively invest time in networking and making as many connections as possible

Start with veteran entrepreneurs and business owners that can offer you valuable advice, serve as mentors, and introduce you to other people who might help you. Consider attending industry conferences, which are always a hub of networking with like-minded individuals in your field. Join Facebook groups relevant to your business. Lastly, cultivate your interpersonal relationships by emailing or calling people you want to network with and inviting them out to lunch

5. See the Long Term

Every new business will have ups and downs. Remember that this is not a get-rich-quick scheme, and it may be months or even years before the venture turns profitable. Be willing to stick out this period of infancy and not bail at the first sign of trouble. It may even be worth it to have a side gig during this time so that you can continue to support yourself financially.

Starting your own business can be as thrilling as it is terrifying. Be sure to do your research and be prepared, financially and emotionally. Investing this time and effort into your new venture will help ensure its success.