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Starting your own business: The hard truth

It’s great being a business owner. You get to choose your own hours, reap the rewards of your hard work, and sit back and just count your money coming in.

Except, none of that’s true, and if you think that running a business is going to be easy, then you might be in for a bit of a shock. Reading the heartwarming and motivational stories of entrepreneurs who have made a success of their business goals may have given you a very skewed idea of the actual real-world challenges of launching and running your own business. The fact is that people are very quick to tell you all about their success stories, but they aren’t always so keen on telling you about the less glamorous elements of running their business. If you’re setting up your business plan, then it may be worth keeping these things in mind.

It’s all on you

Even if you’re going into business with a partner, building up and running a business can be lonely work. You won’t be able to keep to those traditional business hours, and the concept of 9-5 is going to be a distant dream for quite some time. Whether you’re working from home or have a dedicated workspace, you’re going to be spending a lot of hours focusing on your business, and that means that your social life is going to take a bit of a dip. It is worth remembering that the longer your business is trading, the less this should be a factor. As it becomes possible to justify the cost of paying for employees to tackle certain roles, so too will your workload reduce. However, initially, it’s all on you.

The problem with partners

If you do have a business partner, then you need to pay attention to your working relationship. You may have started your idea together for any number of reasons, but the most common ones are because you are good friends already, or because you have a wide variety of opposing business-related skills. While this is common, it can be a risky way of launching your business, and could put strains on an otherwise strong friendship. It’s always worth considering some form of contract before you commit, in the same way that some marriages have a prenup. Consider what might happen to your business partner and yourself if your business fails, and you’ll be able to have a stricter and more professional working relationship.

The money factor

Let’s face it, the majority of your worries in the first stages of your business management are going to be financial. You will need to be hyper-vigilant when it comes to expenditures, and will have to budget accordingly. Obviously, there are a number of ways that you can help to fund your business launch, with everything from bootstrapping to crowdfunding both perfectly viable options in the digital age. Most people prefer to take a more traditional route when it comes to finances, although you will need to ensure that you have a good credit score before you make any finance applications. Failing to pass a credit score review can actually have an effect on your ongoing credit score, so always look at resources like Credit Karma, and check for Credit Karma review sites that can offer guidance and advice.

Dealing with unpredictability

Running a business means being able to adapt quickly to change, and being prepared for any eventuality. The fact is that you will face many challenges when dealing with the day to day management of your business venture, and most of them may blindside you. The trick is to make sure that you always address any potential issues before they become impossible hurdles and force you to close down. Once you have considered your assessment, make a plan that will address it, and then execute that plan to the best of your ability. If you fail, try again. Mistakes are always going to be a factor, but mistakes mean that you learn and you progress. Never commit to inactivity, and always look for advice if you can’t see any obvious solutions to your problems. No matter the industry or sector of your business, there are trusted sources available that can help guide you through the stormiest moments of your business lifecycle.

Dealing with doubt

No matter how confident you might feel about your business idea, the fact is that you are going to face doubt on occasion. Often, these will be personal doubts about your own skills and abilities, and you will be especially prone to these when things go wrong. It’s at these times when you need to be the most confident, and this will be the dividing line between those entrepreneurs that make it and those that don’t. The other doubt issue to consider is the lack of potential support that you might encounter from those closest to you. If your partner, your friends, or your family start expressing doubts about the viability of your business or your own skills, then this can have a very negative impact on your mindset. Stay focused and believe in yourself and your idea, and you’ll stand a much better chance of making it big.

The fallacy of overnight success

There’s simply no such thing as overnight success unless you buy a single lottery ticket and win big first time. Those that talk about overnight success are rarely the ones that have any idea what it takes to be successful. They don’t see the sleepless nights, the meetings with bank managers, or the arguments with late suppliers. The hard work that you put in may well pay off, but it is going to mean a lot of work before overnight success. Don’t compare your story to that of successful and famous business figures. Your story is going to be very different, because you are very different, and recognizing that is a good way of keeping your positivity and motivation at optimal levels.

There’s a business mentality that says it takes five years of running a business before you should feel safe, and that’s a good target to aim for. If you can keep your business running for five years then you have made it, no matter what your profit margins for the last quarter might look like. Running a business can be exciting and rewarding, but don’t expect it to be easy. Know the challenges, and you’ll be far more prepared to tackle them and grow your business successfully.

 

About Rohit Shetty

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