1. A GREAT IDEA; ok, sounds pretty simple …but I am talking a super dooper great idea. You need something that’s going to be successful, something that will stand out from the pack and most importantly, something that is needed. It doesn’t matter if there are already a few hundred out there…if you can make your business stand out and offer something different (whether it be a concept, price or service) from the others, you will succeed.
2. PLANNING / RESEARCH; it takes a lot of planning before your idea even gets up off the ground. But don’t let that dishearten you, you need…well, you want, to ensure that everything is in place; legally and financially before your business begins. A business plan is also highly advantageous…this is something you can either construct yourself, if you feel you have the knowledge, otherwise, you can consult with someone in the business and/or finance industry to do this for a fee (which will be tax deductible, of course!). You then need to gauge whether or not a) the business has its place in the market and b) it will be profitable / worth going ahead with. A business plan basically sets out goals and foresees whether or not they will be attainable, taking into a number of considerations including; economic climate, competition, capital outlay and projected income. Don’t also forget to do your research; you can never know too much and it’s important to constantly keep up to date.
3. CAPITAL; I hate to say it, but money does make the world go round and you will need some capital in the beginning, something to work with. Depending on what exactly your business is and the start-up costs associated with it (this will vary from business to business) will determine how little or how great your start up capital required will be. This can come from savings or a loan, but either way, you will need to ensure you have funds behind you during the startup phase to get the business off the ground.
4. ‘CAN DO ATTITUDE’; you WILL need plenty of this! Trust me, you will get a gazillion cant’s and don’ts and doors slammed in your face and people trying to shut you down. But, you just need to rise above it and believe in yourself, your idea and your dreams because with a CAN-DO attitude, you can do anything. So make sure CAN CAN CAN CAN CAN is your mantra constantly running through your mind!!!
5. PASSION; starting and owning your own business can be really tough, in many ways, but also oh-so-rewarding, which is why you need passion by the bucketful to get through the good times and the bad. My advice; make sure your business idea is something you are really really passionate about, deep within your bones, because it just makes the good times even more worth it and the tough times bearable. When you love something like it’s your own baby, not only are you super protective and willing to put in 100%, you need passion, because with it, you don’t mind working that little bit harder, longer, giving it ALL you’ve got.
6. HARD WORK; this is a quintessential factor in starting your own business and ensuring its success. You won’t succeed without hard work. Full stop. Be prepared to put in long hours and be ‘in the zone’ 24/7. Sometimes you need to keep working even when you’re physically and mentally exhausted, because at the end of the day, the level of success is determined by how much you put in. There’s no one else to do the hard work for you I’m afraid, ultimately, it comes down to YOU! But, it will be worth it, I can promise you that; the sense of achievement, (as well as success within the business) just makes it all worthwhile.
7. MORE HARD WORK; seriously. I’m not trying to scare you or be a drama queen. It takes lots and lots and lots and lots and lots (ok, point made?) of hard work. You need to accept that other parts of your life will take a backseat and be prepared for this. You need to understand that in the beginning, your work life balance can honestly be 95% work / 5% life…and even then, sometimes that 5% is just eating and sleeping!!! But, the more hard work you inject in the beginning ensures a smooth and successful business years down the track.
8. KNOW WHEN TO ASK FOR HELP; sometimes you just feel beyond your depths, this is completely normal. After all, when you’re starting out, you simply can’t expect yourself to know everything there is to know. Business knowledge comes from experience and sometimes you need to have the courage to ask for help from those in the know. Having a mentor is also a fabulous idea, someone who can offer guidance and point you in the right direction when you need it.
9. LEARN FROM EVERY EXPERIENCE; you will encounter good and bad experiences, it’s inevitable. The key difference between those who succeed in business and those who don’t all boil down to how you cope with experiences and what you learn from them. It’s important to learn and grow from each experience and use what you have learnt to help you through the next issue /problem that arises.
10. A POINT OF DIFFERENCE; this is SO important when starting your own business. You need to work out how your business can be distinctive, and offer a point of difference compared to the competition. You need to find something to offer which will ensure you build up a loyal customer base and customers come to you over others.
In my opinion, these are 10 imperative factors in starting and growing a business, but remember also to have fun along the way, enjoy what you do and take a moment every now and then to stop and celebrate what you have achieved. It’s important to celebrate milestones; little or momentous…they have all arisen because of your hard work and passion. Be proud.