Making the decision to start your own business is hard. Jumping in to unknown territory is daunting and stressful, but as frightening as it is, don’t be scared! You can do it—you can take the leap to begin your new life as a business owner.
There will be hurdles in your path along the way, but don’t let that discourage you. As someone who has been in your situation, I know that reality has a way of interjecting itself into your carefully designed business plan, throwing everything out of control. But there are ways to influence reality so that when trouble arrives you know how to navigate around it without affecting your business.
I’m here to give you a few pieces of advice to help guide you through the unplanned circumstances that might come your way. These are five tips that I have learned throughout my experience as an entrepreneur.
1. Have a clear vision. When you plan a vacation, you don’t just pack a bag and go. Even if it’s a spontaneous decision, you still choose a destination, length of the trip, and even an itinerary. You have a clear idea of how your trip will look. During your vacation, unexpected events can interfere with your plans, but it doesn’t interfere with the ultimate picture you have in your mind about how your vacation will play out. Managing your business can be a surprisingly similar experience to planning a vacation. You need to know where you are going and where you want to end up. You have the choice to map out the route, or leave it to fate. Only by establishing a clear vision of what you want to achieve, will you and reality be able to work together as a team.
2. Vision and mission are not the same thing. Vision is the ultimate “why?” of your business. It is the statement that enables you and others to feel the heart-beat of your business. For example, the vision of a designer may be “Helping others achieve aesthetic fulfillment” or “Creating a hometown brand.” Mission, on the other hand, is what is required to fulfill your vision. Hence, the designer’s mission could be, “Providing unequaled design services for the residents of Seattle.” It is vital that you not only establish a concrete vision for your business, but also a concrete mission that supports that vision. You cannot have one without the other.
3. Evolve. Your business will always be a few steps behind your mental development. Your business always follows in your footsteps. If you want your business to grow, you must grow as a person. This is why it’s imperative that you make it a priority to set aside quality time for yourself and your interests outside the business. Participate in your favorite sport, take a painting class, volunteer in the community, or spend time with your family. Nourishing yourself outside of your business is a part of your business success. Neglecting this aspect of self growth will inevitably be followed by business decline.
4. Invest time and effort in building trust. Be fair. Clarity and transparency should be top priorities in all dealings between you, your clients, and vendors. The trust that you create around the ecosystem of your business is the number one factor in your success. Create trust between yourself, your clients, and your partners. Don’t expect it; build it.
5. Downhill’s provide velocity for the uphill’s. Business cycles are unpredictable and will drive your business up and down. When you find yourself on a downward cycle, don’t waste time blaming the world, your clients, your employees, or the bank. Use the time to improve your business. Remember, the most successful companies in the world have overcome more than one obstacle on their way to greatness. Don’t let obstacles discourage you. The visionary who exploits perceived obstacles to become more efficient, provide better service, and create a better product is bound to win.
Reality doesn’t have to be your enemy when starting a business. If you prepare for the unexpected, you will come out on top. Keep these tips in mind, and reality won’t become your distraction, it will become your collaborator. You will be on your way to success, and ultimately, to self-fulfillment.
Ron Daniel is the founder of PlanetSoho, a provider of cloud-based tools and services to small office and home office (SOHO) businesses. He has more than ten years of entrepreneurial experience and twelve years of management experience. Before starting PlanetSoho he founded Individual TV and the Karaoke Channel, two international media companies. He also served as the head of sales and marketing for Media Direct Ltd., a leading direct-marketing company. Ron holds a BA in Economics and Human Behavior from Academic College of Tel Aviv. Ron is also the author of the best-selling books in Israel: Robert’s Golden Advice and Did I murder Gadi Elmaliach? firstname.lastname@example.org @RonDaniel100