It's so easy to say "I want to start my own business. I have a great idea!". It's equally easy to just start doing or making something you are extremely passionate about as a side project to your day job and dream it will one day turn into a real business. Well, the truth is, it won't. If you have followed this blog long enough you should be familiar with one of our favourite sayings: Hope Is Not A Strategy!
There is some good news though. It's often even harder to find your passion, so if you have found yours you are in an enviable place. You should move forward with faith in your own abilities, and in your ability to learn.
If you want to turn your idea and passion into a business that will pay your bills you simply have to start taking it seriously. You have to stop treating it like a passion, or a hobby, or worse still - a charity.
The key learning for the group was 'Your product is not your product. Your product is your business model.' This means it isn't enough to know how to make your product (and to know how to offer more value to the customer than your competitor), you also need to know how to market it to your customers, how to deliver it and how to sell it. Sounds like pretty basic stuff, but it's easy for a first time entrepreneur to get totally consumed by their idea and neglect the other 90% of the stuff that is actually going to make the venture successful.
If you have an idea or a product you'd like to turn into a business, here's a quick check list on the change in attitude that's required:
1) Commit to becoming a business person
You need a big shift in the way you perceive yourself. If you are in a job today and want to start a business you will have to start seeing yourself as a 'business woman', not a person who is good at doing what she does (good at PR, good at baking, good at gardening). From now on you will have to commit and embrace all aspects of BUSINESS if you are to succeed! If on the other hand you only want to do the bit you are passionate about - say ride horses or plant trees - then it is perhaps better to stay working for someone else.
2) Commit to becoming a professional
You need to start taking all the new areas of responsibility seriously. It is no good answering client inquiries two weeks late if you want to grow your business. You have to start putting your business first and your day job second. This doesn't necessarily have to be measured in the number of hours you spend, but in your attitude and priorities.
3) Commit to becoming committed
No more - "I'm trying to start a business" or "I'm an aspiring entrepreneur". You have to commit and start calling yourself "the founder" - boldly and bravely! And then live up to the promise. (Generally this means long hours, sweat and tears. Oh well.)
Finally, a word of encouragement. To commit to this new exciting journey can be daunting but you should not be afraid. There will be a lot of people who will help you along the way (if you are ready to ask). And we are more committed to providing that support than anyone. If you are passionate about what you do, you want to succeed, you are open to learn more than you have ever imagined you need to, and you have the willingness to put in the hours - then you should go for it!
Use this blog to comment and ask and to air your views. By sharing we can all help each other in a similar situation!