So, you’ve decided to branch out on your own and become an entrepreneur. That’s fantastic, but we’re going to start by reminding you that 90% of startups fail. A cruel way to open a helpful blog post? Far from it!
The reality of becoming an entrepreneur is very tough indeed. It requires seemingly endless amounts of your time, the ability to pick oneself up when knocked back and the odd bit of good fortune. However, get it right, and you could become more successful than you ever thought possible.
The key to success lies in preparation. In this post, we’ve got 6 ways you can prepare yourself for the leap into entrepreneurship.
1. Have some funds in the bank
Bills still need paying and you need to eat, so before you do anything, start saving. Starting your own business with zero funds isn’t much fun in itself, but doing so without any personal financial backing is dangerous.
It is generally accepted that you need a year’s-worth of money behind you in order to safely build your empire. Don’t start without it.
2. Create a start-up budget
Sometimes known as a ‘quit’ budget, this is something every aspiring entrepreneur needs. The business you build will need its own budget, but before you reach that stage, it is important to ready yourself for the initial wave of costs.
You’ll need to consider the following:
- Do you have the right tech to get going? (computer, fast internet, smartphone, etc);
- Will a uniform be required;
- Initial costs for registering your domain name and web hosting;
- Where will you be working? If from home, you can cut the daily commute out of your budget;
- If you’re moving away from regular employment, will you lose health insurance? If so, you’ll need to sign up for a new policy yourself.
You’ll also need to start familiarizing yourself with some of the fundamentals of business. They may seem boring during the ‘big idea’ stage, but not knowing your A-Z of business rates, for example, could prove harmful in the not-too-distant future.
3. Speak to industry peers
Talk to those who have already made the leap. You’ll quickly discover that the world of the entrepreneur is very inclusive. Even prospective competitors could become your best friends; there are, after all, enough customers out there for everyone.
Attend networking events and conferences and make yourself known. Ask your peers how they got started and the challenges they faced. You’ll be surprised by how open people will be.
4. Create your website (without help)
Anyone can create a website. No, really – check out WordPress; you don’t need to be able to code or have any design flair to build your first business website.
The most important thing is that it exists. As you’re intent on becoming an entrepreneur, why not focus it initially on you by describing your journey, reasons for striking out on your own and what you plan to achieve. Work such detail into regular blog posts – you’ll soon build a following that may one day become your customer base.
5. Start by working ‘on the side’
If you’re currently in full time employment, do what most entrepreneurs do and work on the side. It means swapping leisure time for laptop time, but there are few better ways to start your empire than with the financial cushion of a regular income.
Just remember – working two jobs is difficult, which is why you’ll need to ensure your personal productivity regime is up to scratch.
6. Create a backup plan
Remember – 90% of all startups fail. This fact isn’t intended to put you off becoming an entrepreneur – quite the opposite. It is simply there to remind us that backup plans are essential.
What if your big idea doesn’t work? What will you do? Always have another idea in the wings and come to terms with the fact that you may have to re-enter regular employment at some stage.
See? Planning for entrepreneurship isn’t all that bad, is it? It should be an enjoyable, addictive process and the collection of spreadsheets, documents and mind maps you create in the planning phase will one day be something you look back on gratefully from the helm of your empire.
About the author
Mark Ellis is a freelance writer who is passionate about helping people understand productivity and technology. He is a company director and small business owner and enjoys sharing his experience in small business growth, marketing, sales and workplace dynamics. You can follow him on LinkedIn.