Five Things to Consider Before Starting Your Business
Were you one of those smart kids who excitedly turned a hot summer day into an amazing opportunity? Did you take charge, start a business, and make a little movie money? Maybe looking back it seems like you were just a normal kid setting up a lemonade stand, everybody did it, right? Or maybe not.
The grit and skills you used to make that little-kid business a success–whether selling refreshments, shoveling snow, or delivering papers–are the same grit and skills you need to be an entrepreneur today. In fact, there may be much to learn from your ten-year-old self. Let’s take a look.
What was the Problem?
There had to be one, otherwise, you wouldn’t have gone to the effort of solving it. And that’s the most important step of becoming an entrepreneur. Solving a problem. Were you sick and tired of hearing everyone complain about the heat? Was your father sick and tired of hearing you whine about being broke and bored?
Being sick and tired of something often leads to great ideas. Fast forward to today, and maybe you’re tired of your boss? The grind? Spinning your wheels at the day job?
Those are all valid reasons to consider entrepreneurship, but the best reason? There’s a problem bugging you, keeping you up at night because you’ve got the solution. Ice-cold lemonade in the middle of a summer heat wave? Bingo!
Were you Resourceful?
You had to be in order to start that business. You found the table, chair, umbrella, and, of course, the lemons! It’s no different now. If you’re thinking about starting a business, do you know what stuff you need? Even a solopreneur going it alone as a consultant needs tools, equipment, technology, inventory, or space to do the work of solving the problem and getting your solution to others.
Imagine a day on the job of your new entrepreneurial life, what’s around you? Chances are it’s more than a pen and paper. Keep imagining, keep looking, keep listing. This list is vital right up until opening day, and beyond.
Were you a People Person?
Even shy and introverted entrepreneurs will tell you connections and communication are at the heart of their business. Diplomacy and patience are great traits you probably had as a kid. So what did you do when your mom was too busy to help build the stand? When your brother was too tired to help you squeeze lemons?
What did you use to negotiate? An extra night of dishes? Ten percent of the profits? A convincing sip of perfectly ice-cold lemonade? Diplomacy and negotiation will be required today as they were when you set up that stand. And you thought you were just a bored, scruffy kid!
Did Location Matter?
You bet it did. As a kid with a bushel of lemons, a cooperating parent, a nifty stand, and a friend who wanted a cut, were you in business? No! Whether you grew up in Manhattan or Durango, where you set up that lemonade stand was crucial to your success.
And what was it you were considering when you wisely chose a busy intersection near a popular public swimming pool and put up a great big sign in bright red letters? Your market! You determined where to find the thirstiest people who were willing to spend a quarter for a cup of cold lemonade, and made sure they could find you.
It’s these decisions you considered before you squeezed the bushel, and it’s these same decisions that you will need to market your business today. Who’s your audience, who wants your solution, how do you reach them?
Next Step: Easy Street?
Well, not exactly. The excitement of those first hours: the stand is set up, the sign hung, the lemonade icy cold. Confidence abounded, lemonade tasted sweet, customers lined up, money came in hand over fist. You solved the problems: thirsts quenched, boredom conquered, movie money in your pocket. Success!
But the day grew hotter, people stayed in to avoid the heat, no traffic after 1 pm, your friends went home, and all you were was hot, tired, alone, and bored again. Time to quit? Nope. You cleaned up the spills, counted the cash, put the ice in the shade. Then pulled out a comic book and waited. Unpredictability is the most predictable thing about business. And if you pull through the sour times, sweeter times will follow.
Were you just a funny-looking kid with a good idea? Or an entrepreneur in the making? Chances are the latter, so go for it! You might have been ten years old then, but when life served you lemons, you knew what you had to do. You know now, too.