Starting a business is easy. You can do it in a day.
Starting a business that lasts is a lot harder, even if you set all your time and money into it. And the all-in approach is a lot riskier, since the extra time and money you invest, the more you put at risk.
Here are six steps to minimizing risk while building a solid organization for small business success:
- Live like a college student.
Almost every business venture requires spending money before making money. Some small businesses take years to turn a profit.
A huge percentage of startups fail because they run out of wealth, and even if you do not, chronic money problems can lead to poor long-term decisions.
Before you start your industry, cut all your personal expenses to the bone.
- Work incredibly hard at your current job.
Work incredibly hard at your work so your evening and weekend time is yours, not your employer’s.
- Set a daunting schedule.
When your ordinary work day ends, your start-up workday is just beginning.
Decide how many hours you think you can spend on your start-up all evening and add 25 to 50 percent.
Then commit to that schedule. Write it down, and if your program says you will work from 5.30 p.m. to 9 p.m. every evening, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, work those hours.
See the schedule you make for your start-up the same way you see your schedule for your current job–as non-negotiable. Then work that plan.
- Ignore the temptation to whine about your daunting schedule.
Say you start a consulting business. Once you land a few customers you’ll be working every evening and most weekends.
You may have to get up early all day to take care of e-mails and also voice mails by you start off to work. In large part your clients will choose your job hours for you.
Don’t complain. Don’t protest. Maintain reminding yourself that having demanding clients is great because it means you actually have customers.
Resist the temptation to complain or feel sorry for yourself. Happily pay the price–it’s a price most other public won’t pay.
- Be Ebenezer Scrooge.
Don’t. Reinvest every dollar you earn. Use profits to set up the company infrastructure you need (not the one you want, but the one you need). Buy supplies. Buy equipment you’ve been renting. Promote. Or save cash to tide you through inevitable revenue downswings.
- Keep your full-time job longer than you desire.
Deciding when to quit your work and go into business full-time is the hardest choice you will make.
It’s impossible to make a purpose decision when you’re tired, stressed, sick of your full-time work, sick of your boss, or when you just desire your life back.
But don’t quit too soon. When in doubt, hold out. Always focus on numbers, not emotion.
Your financials–personal and business–will tell you when it’s finally time to quit your job.