Written by: Maxim Minin, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
There is no shortcut to success! Grit, persistence, and passion drives you towards turning aspirations into reality. While many people wish to start a business and be their own boss, manage their own hours, and work for their dreams instead of someone else’s. It is important that you are open about the realities of what it takes to start and succeed in a business and consider the less-discussed truths before deciding to plunge into your entrepreneurial journey.
In my career as a business coach, I find that a lot of first-time business owners are simply unprepared for what to expect, and that leads to their own demise. Here’s what you need to be aware of if you’re planning to launch a business anytime soon.
Business is not for the faint-hearted: If you’re looking to coast through life, avoid stress and minimize your risk, I don’t suggest you start a business. Being an entrepreneur requires patience, hard work, and perseverance. It’s a very different pressure you feel when it’s payday and you have to pay everyone who works for you irrespective of your company’s performance. The security of taking home a fixed sum every month is not a luxury you enjoy as a businessman.
Don’t plan to start a business purely because you hate your job and company culture: Many prospective entrepreneurs fail to realize that office politics are everywhere and that you can’t escape them when you strike out on your own. You may still have to contend with rude clients and partners, with many situations feeling eerily similar to what you experienced in a job.
Your first few years are tough: Would-be entrepreneurs who want to have a better work-life balance are in for a rude awakening. For at least the first few years, you may be on the job at all hours. If a customer has a problem in the middle of the night, you are the one who’s getting up to address it. As the founder, you will find that anything and everything is your responsibility. Nobody gives you direction on what to do; you have to make the choices and also solely bear the consequences of your choices.
Profits are not guaranteed: I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s the harsh reality. Not planning for this will mean certain financial demise. In your first year, you will be pouring money — more than your budget, likely — into launching and gaining a foothold in your market. If you’re lucky, you can throw a little your way for salary. Smart hustlers find other sources of income to cover the first few years of personal expenses. If you’ve got savings, great. If you’re taking out a loan, build in your own income to that budget.
As per stats, only 70 percent of businesses make it past year 2: Here’s another hard-to-swallow reality. Think of the businesses that had shuttered in your community, maybe before they even really took off. Imagine how many more online businesses disappear without warning. As I said at the beginning of this article: running a business is hard. Running one successfully — especially up to and past Year Two is challenging.
You need people: Now, I know you probably think you can do it all on your own. After all, you’re smart enough to start a business! Surely you can manage it all by yourself as well. Let me save you some heartache: relying on people — the right people — will make your work so much easier. You’re good at some facets of running a business, to be sure. But there’s a lot I’m willing to bet that you’re less good at, like maybe accounting or designing your website. This is where bringing in a professional skilled in a particular area is a huge asset.
It's okay if you don’t have skills, you need ideas, vision, and courage: Related to the point above, you can’t be a master of all trades. It is okay if you don’t have the skills it will take to set up the business you envision. That is exactly why you need people. You need to focus on bringing together the ideas to push everyone towards your vision. Lack of skillset is an excuse for not starting a business.
You got to know your customers: Another common mistake I see is entrepreneurs thinking that because they have a genius idea (in their minds, at least), they automatically have a business that will thrive. But the problem is: they don’t do any research to understand who would actually buy their products or services. They don’t bother to understand who their customer base is. And so, the business limps along until it collapses.
You will doubt your abilities. Your business will challenge you. You’ll face forks in the road you could have never predicted. When you lose your first (or 10th) big client, your employees quit, you divorce your partner, your balance sheet looks dismal, or you can’t get financing, you will likely start to doubt yourself. Dig deep to get through these times. Ultimately, you need to be your biggest cheerleader.
There is no such thing as overnight success. No matter how you frame it, it takes years of hard work to become an “overnight success.” Just because someone’s business is a couple of years old and gets sold for a billion dollars doesn’t mean it was an easy path.
I’m not saying the negatives of starting a business to deter you from trying, but rather to prepare you for the odds against you. If you know what you’re up against, you can arm yourself and fight, becoming just another failed business statistic. You can develop a plan that will safeguard you against some of the risks you’ll face. In my career, I have worked with online startups to ensure they launch, grow, and succeed.
My final point of advice will be that there will be points in your business journey when you need help. Seek out for help and find the right people to be able to help you through your problems. A trusted and result-oriented business coach could be one of the best business investments. Someone who will not sugar coat the problems but fight reality to get solutions to help you succeed.
Maxim Minin, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Maxim, Wellness & Business coach and Founder of www.livewithsmile.com, started his entrepreneurial journey as a personal trainer and wellness coach. Through the years of self education and working with clients in achieving their health goals, he realized that real wellness is achieved through a balance and fulfillment in finances, relationship, parenting, and of course, self-care. His mission is to help stay at home mothers, parents or those who are not fulfilled in their life to breakthrough their beliefs, transform their relationship and communication as well as start building an online coaching, consulting or experts business that will allow them to generate more income, free more time, promote self-growth and in the end lead to that desired fulfillment with finances, relationship, kids and well being.’