We’ve all heard the statistics—most business start-ups will fail within the first year. Even the best ideas or products can fall flat with a poorly executed launch. The most successful entrepreneurs approach their first year with realism, comprehensive strategies, and an appreciation to expect the unexpected. Those who fail, on the other hand, let their excitement rush them through the start-up process and blind them to valid concerns or issues. If you’re thinking of starting your own business, here are just a few tips before you get in over your head:
- Start with a comprehensive business plan. This will be one of the most important parts of the start-up process because it forces you to think comprehensively and logically about the reality of actual operations. Your plan helps determine the true feasibility of your business.
- Know your market and its future projections. If you aren’t informed about the market for your products and services, you are setting yourself up for failure. For example, opening a high-end boutique in an area with a lower-middle class population puts your business in a customer drought from the get-go. Likewise, opening a restaurant at a location in which numerous others have failed signals that the community just isn’t connecting with that location regardless of the proprietor.
- Get the right legal advice, including information on all the permits, insurances, and liability issues. If you’re not willing to invest in your business’s foundations, you’ll open yourself up to unnecessary risks.
- Get the right financial advice and guidance, including how to set up a merchant account for a new business. Likewise, you need to understand how business merchant services work and how their costs factor into your overhead.
- Understand that you will be devoting much of your time and energy to your business in the first year, but you need to think about how your business will fit into your lifestyle long-term as well. Without a broader view, you may create a business that cannot function without your 18-hour day efforts. Once you’re off the ground, what does your ideal day look like? Take care not to create a business that takes over your life. That’s just not sustainable long-term.