Statring Your Own Business?

Tips on How to Start a New Business

I was a long term corporate warrior for over 38 years and have now become an Executive Coach, Author, and Business Consultant. And I started my own business so I know many sides of this topic.

I have worked with and known personally hundreds of individuals over the past 38 years that started their own business so I have been taking notes about who did it well and who did not and why.

These are my tips for starting your own business.

1 – Hopefully you have been thinking about this for some time. It’s not a knee jerk reaction to something. You are not getting into something you know nothing about or not have a passion for.

I started thinking about this adventure several years ago. I am leaving corporate America as a business leader and I am starting my own consulting and speaking business. Over the past 5 years I have been writing and making notes about things I wanted to say and talk about. I watched other speakers, good and bad, and read tons of books and read articles about what this journey might look like.

I might crash and burn but I have a running start on what I want to do

2 – This will impact your family!

Starting a business will impact your family. Are they wanting this to happen for you or are they dragging their feet and don’t want you to do it? You have to get your family, primarily your partner, on board or this is going to be a nightmare. The cadence and flow of your predictable order in your home life is going to change. You will have long days, long nights, lost weekends, and changes in your schedule. I have known dozens and dozens of families that wanted to open their own retail business thinking is would be fun. After a couple of years of 70 hour weeks, never ending employee issues, working every holiday, and fighting against increasing competition they wished they had never done it.

You partner and family must be on board or re-consider starting a new business.

3 – How’s your health?

If you are tiring you must not be a spring chicken. (that’s a phrase from growing up in South Arkansas)

Seriously, if you are in shape can you make the time to stay in shape? If you are not in shape, maybe this should be your first priority. I know this is preaching to the choir but without health, what else matters. Don’t rationalize starting a new business will be easy and you will start working out, you will not.

I put staying healthy on my short list of things to do everyday.

4 – Have you written a business plan?

This does not have to be ready for a Harvard Business review but do you have a plan?

It should at least describe what you are wanting to do, why you think its important to someone other than you, the size of the prize, and some basic metrics like how much you are willing to put into the business and how much you want to make. You must have some dates and milestones to guide you. Be clear, honest and discipline to look at your metrics and follow them.

5 – Are you willing to walk away from this if it flops?

I know a few friends that have gotten so emotional wrapped up in their business after retirement that they wished they had stayed in their full time job. It was more predictable, and probably boring for them, but they are not in over their heads with money and commitments that it’s not what they were looking for in retirement.

Have firm metrics and decisions dates to follow. If you find you are always extending the dates or changing the metrics to give yourself more time then you are not being honest with yourself.

6 – If it’s your life’s passion – then go for it.

If this is what you have been dreaming of your entire life, then just go for it.

A buddy of mine left the corporate world 12 years ago to start his own business and he did not even know how to turn on his computer. (His admin did everything for him) The growth curve for him was steep, but it was his dream and he figured it all out. He never looked back, never complained, just kept moving. Today, he is a rock star in his industry.

So, if its your passion, let the hammer down.

Wayne StricklandComment