Students frequently ask me for advice regarding starting a new business, Having been involved in a number of startups, including two this past year, I have a few general suggestions:
1. Don’t quit your day job.
If you already have a job, start your business on the side and hold onto your job until you’re confident your venture is gaining traction. This “look before you leap” approach helps to mitigate risk and allows you to add to savings you may well need for your business.
2. Hey, not so fast!
Launching a business requires considerable research and planning. Avoid the temptation to launch your startup before you have a proven business model in place and have researched everything from required licenses to insurance.
3. Go ahead and jump!
The flipside to #2 above is the entrepreneur who wants to overanalyze everything. Launching before you are completely ready is a big mistake, but failing to launch once everything is in place can be even more devastating, especially when someone else jumps in ahead of you and satisfies your customers’ needs.
4. There is no “off” switch.
When you do jump off that cliff and launch your business, there is no turning back. From that moment on, you are the business – 24/7/365. Being your own boss is great, but with control comes great responsibility.
5. You’re always on stage.
Pitching your business is not something that ends when you’ve found the funding you need and have launched your business. Your role as a new business owner is to tell everyone you encounter and spread the word to everyone who will listen.
I realize that I could go on, with a much longer list, but these simple steps are a good start as you consider launching a business.