Friday, September 28, 2007

Advice for starting your own business

As soon as I announced that I was starting my own business, people began to comment.

From the well-seasoned to the just-well-intentioned, perfect strangers to best friends, everyone has had advice to share. And the amazing thing is that some of what I’ve heard in the last five months has been just the nudge I needed at the time to help me overcome an obstacle I was facing.

As I reflect on how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time, I want to share some of the best advice I’ve received so far. If you’re facing doubts or are stuck with a problem, I hope these simple-but-effective thoughts help you, too.

Trust your instincts.

If your instinct is that a product won’t sell or a service you could offer would be a hit, trust what your nose tells you. Our instincts exist to propel us forward and help us thrive. Learn to follow them.

Go with your gut.

Where our instincts propel us forward, our gut reactions keep us back when necessary. If a potential deal, partner, investor, location, or supplier doesn’t feel right, trust the gut feeling and avoid it.

Give yourself options.

A few months ago, I had to choose between paying my illustrator for either two or five renditions of new logo designs. Obviously, there was price difference. A fellow entrepreneur ~ and graphic designer ~ advised me to give myself options and ask for the larger package. I’m glad I did. There’s something to be said for casting a wide net.

Just get it done.

Then again, sometimes there can be too many choices. Sometimes, you just have to push forward and get things done. When you’re stuck or overwhelmed, make yourself jump into a task and knock it out of the way. You’ll feel better afterward. And remember: not everything has to be perfect the first time.

Protect your confidence.

It’s easy to look at some of the things you have to do to start a business and think that someone else could do them better than you can. My mentor shared this common experience with me and gave the following advice: “Protect your confidence.” Don’t let anyone or anything erode the confidence you have in yourself and your idea. Sure, others might be better designers, or manufacturers, or whatever…but your business idea belongs to you. Only you can make it happen. Find supportive mentors and friends and soak in their support and encouragement.

Write down your mission and keep it visible.

One day while I was lamenting how easy it is for me to get distracted from my purpose, my boyfriend suggested I copy my mission statement from my business plan and tape it onto my computer monitor. “Keep it eye-level,” he said. “You have to be able to see it at all times.” It’s helped. Whether I’m discouraged, distracted, or bored with what I’m doing, I just glance up at my words of purpose and I instantly feel encouraged. Try it!

1 comment:

Lawn Mowing Business said...

Thanks for your blog! I am so encouraged to keep going with my lawn mowing business. It seems so far away but someday it will be big enough for people to take notice. You have to go with your gut and not give up to make it in business. All the best to others who aspire to own their own business.

Cheers

Chris J.