News Article: 1 February 2018 by Ed Eikelboom
There’s no one way to start or run a business. People have found success with thousands of different models and styles. The important thing is to set some firm goals and ground rules up front.
Got a great idea and want to turn it into a business? Awesome. Now ask yourself why.
People start new businesses all the time. Most of them won’t last more than five years. You’ve read these scary stats before, and yet here you are. So why are you doing this? It’s important to understand why, because it will affect how you start a business.
It’s important to understand why you want to start a business because your motives will shape your approach. Answer these questions to figure out your why:
Let’s work through the importance of these questions one at a time.
Are you entering business to solve a problem? To be your own boss? To make a lot of money? Or is there something else? You need to know what defines success for you. Otherwise you won’t recognise it when you get there. Defining success will also help you:
Figure out what you want from this.
Decide what success looks like now, or else you won’t recognise it when you get there.
There are only so many dollars to go around and you have to convince customers to spend theirs on you. Why will they do that?
It’s important to nail this down. Once you’re clear on what will give you an edge, you can focus your energy on those areas. So what will your business stand for? Maybe it’s that:
There will be something you’re always trying to deliver for your customers. It’s a unique selling point that will stay solid even as you add new products and services.
You can think of this as a brand promise – a pact you make with your customers. But it’s more than just a feel good thing. There are economic benefits to making a commitment like this.
You might have other ideas about what you will or won’t do in business. For example you might decide you’ll never take on debt, even if it means you can’t grow as fast. Or perhaps you’ll have social or environmental goals for your business.
Business values will set boundaries around how you go about achieving success. You don’t have to have any – you may simply want to be as profitable as possible, as quickly as you can. But if you have some extra values, you should document them now, as you’re figuring out how to start your business.
Once you’re clear on why you want to start a business, log it. You can create a Pinterest board, a short video, a sound recording, or even a boring old written document – just make sure you capture all this thinking.
Keep referring back to this vision regularly. It’s a great way to keep yourself honest. If you find you’re deviating from the document, ask yourself why. Is there a good reason, or have you just got distracted?
You may start a business thinking success is all about earning money, but end up loving the satisfaction you get from helping your clients. You may also change your mind about what you’re willing to do to achieve success.
It’s natural for things to evolve, but you should always ask why your thinking has shifted. Is it for the right reasons? Are you in control? Or are you losing direction or focus?
It’s important to hold yourself accountable to your original vision. It can help you stay the course.
It takes a lot of hard work to start up a business. You need to be clear about your motivation for jumping in. It will give you purpose and focus for the journey ahead.