In Summary
  • Pay attention to the customer. You will quickly realise that you cannot do this alone.
  • You only have 24 hours a day (of which a portion needs to be spent sleeping), limited skills, ideas, resources and networks.
  • You will find that you cannot do it without that one supplier who believes in you enough to extend 30 days credit.
  • You will need customers who will go spread the word.  You will need partnerships/networks that enable you to multiply your reach. 

Last week, I wrote about the facts of why businesses fail to launch.  However, today there was a heap of questions about what you actually experience (on a more personal level) when you venture out and start a business. I am being asked this a lot, especially by people who are leaving formal employment. For a long time, how people made it in business was almost kept a secret but I have now attended several forums and it is very encouraging to see more and more people open up about successes, failures, challenges, good days, the bad ones, among other things.

So what do you actually experience when you start out?  First, you will be scared of starting. You will feel not experienced enough, lucky enough, confident enough, rich or liquid enough and even that this is not the right time. It’s normal but you start anyway irrespective of your inadequacies. You can’t wait to feel ready enough to get started, otherwise you will never do it. Use the power of one to begin. One conversation, one client, sell one product, one pitch and one step. Before you start, you are like a farmer holding a seed. Nothing will happen until the seed is planted. Start the business and then commit to learning.

Many people have an idea that they think is fantastic. You will learn that it’s not what you think, but it’s what your customer thinks. Identifying opportunity is a journey, not a destination. Peter, a couple of years ago set out to launch an e-commerce platform. He thought it was a great idea. He got one or two clients but not enough to sustain it.  As he was going through this, he would get people asking him to build websites for them.  At first, he dismissed them but later on, he started doing the job. 

Now he runs a digital media company that has become a very sustainable business. There are many Peters who have given up and assumed that they can’t do it or that it doesn’t work. It would have served them to understand that opportunity is always work in progress. Others have even run businesses successfully for a while on that initial product/service but fail to recognise when the opportunity is evolving, hence miss out on the growth.

Pay attention to the customer. You will quickly realise that you cannot do this alone. You only have 24 hours a day (of which a portion needs to be spent sleeping), limited skills, ideas, resources and networks. You will find that you cannot do it without that one supplier who believes in you enough to extend 30 days credit. You will need customers who will go spread the word.  You will need partnerships/networks that enable you to multiply your reach.  As you grow, you will need to build a committed team that enables you to focus on the right aspects needed to grow your business.

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