by Tom Cleveland
Tired of your “6 AM to 6 PM” rut? Tired of working for an unappreciative boss that refuses to acknowledge what a gift he or she has in you? Is it time to spread your wings, take a risk, and start that new business that you have been thinking about for years? If you answered “Yes” to the first two questions, but faltered on the last one, then you are not alone. Timing is a key issue for any new venture’s success, but it is not the only one. In actuality, the timing now is perhaps as good as it could possibly be. We have hit the bottom of the current business cycle, and everything should be up from here. Time to get fired up and ready to go!
Where do you start? There are dozens of helpful websites on the Internet that will guide your early entrepreneurial steps in the process. As with any financial undertaking, the three factors for success are well defined – Preparation, Experience, and Emotional Control. As you might expect, these factors have more to do with your internal makeup than with the market at large, but organizations rarely excel when the person in charge is ill equipped for the many tasks at hand. The time for a personal and honest review of your capabilities is now, before you begin making commitments that cannot be reversed.
OK! You have a wonderful idea that you have been bouncing around in your brain, discussing with your family, and, hopefully, been researching for some time. Putting the details down on paper is the next step. Your “Business Plan” will touch on every aspect of the business, and financial projections will suggest how much in “seed” and “working” capital will be required to get your idea off the ground and make it thrive.
You will be the “Number One” salesman on your team. Are you prepared for this role? Do not aim low in this area. Adapting your offering for the market early on can only be achieved effectively by those that must sell it down the road;
Have you ever run a department or your own business before? It would definitely help, but in the absence of a great deal of experience in a particular arena, the best “shortcut” is to find “mentors” that can guide you. Your nearby community banker is a good start.
Check to see if your area has a local “incubator” complex or development center. These ventures are funded by states to encourage local hiring and often offer crucial support services that can make a difference. They can point you to funding sources and assist with finding capable business partners for payment processing, for example;
3. Emotional Control.
This last factor is more important than most people want to believe. Do you have a positive attitude when approaching problems? Can you “mentor” employees about you to perform above their expectations? Can you persist in endless discussions with vendors and potential customers to accept your terms and help your business to grow profitably?
Lastly, can your family accept that you will completely consumed by your new “passion” and may not be as available as often as they would like? The time to be honest with yourself is now, not much later when shortcomings may become pronounced. Put your “ego” aside, and have an honest debate with yourself.
The “American Dream” burns within all of us, and if our economy is to soar, it is our entrepreneurial spirit that will win the day!
Tom Cleveland writes for BetterMerchantAccounts.com. He has over 30 years of experience in executive management, corporate governance and business development. Tom served as CFO for various Visa International entities from 1980 until his retirement in 1999 and was instrumental in expanding the global reach of the Visa system. Tom’s writing on business issues has appeared in the NY Daily News and BusinessInsider among others.