So you're thinking of starting a business?
Many people glorify the idea of following your passions, being your own boss, making up your work hours, starting a revolution (whilst taking a break whenever you like) but is it really like that? Well, yeah kind of..
Let's take it back to the beginning.
The reality is that a lot of new businesses don't make it to the big time, and why is that?
I would speculate it almost always comes back to a lack of one of a few simple (but very important) ingredients you need to make a business succeed.
Just to be clear here, success is whatever you want it to be, only judge your business on your own criteria of success.
So here are the 3 things, and though these are ingredients this is not a recipe, this is an opinion piece. These are my thoughts and I really encourage you to read them and also challenge them for yourself.
Also, yes they all start with P, intentional? No.. everything just starts with P for some reason
What are you passionate about?
Is it food? Is it soap? Is it colours, meeting people, design, running and exercise (nope), insects, coffee, socks, plants, recycling.
You must to know the answer to this question, it is my belief that if you are in a business that you are passionate about you will make it through the highs and lows of all of it, you'll love what you do, you'll feel purposed in what your do and nothing will be able to stand in that way of that.
In 2018 my wife Ri and I opened a cafe called Wildflower (if you want to see how we did it click here)
What do you think our passion was? Coffee, Waking up early, Milk crate seats, it is none of the above.
Our passion is Customer service.
The cafe is a front, it's a way for us to meet people, share an experience and make their day better than it was before they walked in, and that is THE purpose of our business, that is what we love sharing stories about at the end of the day that is what keeps us going and driving us to grow and do more.
And guess what, we also do LOVE coffee.
I personally love design, fashion and innovation so 2 years after opening the cafe, Wildflower also became an apparel and lifestyle brand and guess what, we have bigger plans for when the time is right too.
I could go on about this for so long but lets bring it back down to basics again, what do you love? Do that.
Don't forget that there is a [probably multi-million dollar] business making cotton swabs, nothing is too small or strange.
"What do you love? Do that."
What are your goals?
What do you hope to achieve in your business and how are you gong to make it happen.
Passion will get you so far, but as much as I wish enthusiasm could get the job done, planning will be necessary.
So work backwards, what do you hope to achieve? What is the dream scenario?
If you make candles do you want to see them sold in stores all over the world, or do you just want to have a boutique store selling carefully hand crafted wax sculptures of your favourite celebrities, or anything in between.
Once you can answer that question the main thing here is just to start.
Find your favourite way to organise ideas (mood board, iPad, notepad, binder etc.) and start writing things down, anything.
Think of every single thing you'll need to start, products, materials, insurances, locations everything! Make a list and work out how that fits into your budget, big or small you gotta make it fit so push and squish that list down down until it does.
Think of all the problems you could encounter and how you can overcome or avoid them.
Be proactive now so you don't have to be reactive later.
Next, meet people and talk to them.
I cannot stress enough how important this is, you'll quickly realise there was about 45 things for your list you hadn't even considered yet, but better to find out sooner rather than later.
Again, before we first started Wildflower we met with multiple cafe owners and business savvy friends to talk about our ideas, it is one of the greatest/ most efficient ways to learn quick and not get caught out down the track when you realise you forgot something essential.
People are great, and if you ask nice enough a lot of people would love to share their experiences and give you a huge head start you might not otherwise have.
Make lists and meet people.. do it.
"Be proactive now so you don't have to be reactive later."
How committed are you to this?.. and how committed do you want to be?
Remember this while reading everything I am about to write below, much like what I said about success earlier, your end goal does not need to be an empire, but whatever you expect to get out you have to be willing to put in (x100)
I believe one of the biggest reasons businesses fizzle out early is because nothing is really on the line.
You started it without passion, you didn't put in heaps of planning or work, so when the first or second hurdle comes along it gets packed up in a box and put in the cupboard.
Trust me, if it's your passion, you have put months of work into it, all your friends and family know its happening, and you just quit your stable job.. you'll make it work.
Embrace those hurdles, they are the fastest way to learn, you might take a step or two back that you didn't anticipate but you'll work through it and you'll never make that mistake again.
Hit those hurdles hard and learn those lessons fast, the quicker you get to them the quicker you'll get through them. There is no way you anticipated every single issue in your planning, I feel like I am repeating myself but find the holes and patch them up and expect the next one to come sooner or later.
Failing is learning, learning is growing, growing brings you closer to success.
Therefore.. Failing = Success
I'll end this section how I started it. How committed are you? You'll get out what you put in, if you want this to be your new life, put your life into it.
Let's wrap it up
You might have noticed that I didn't include the fourth P that I think a lot of people tend to start with.. Profit.
Here's why... it is not even close to making it onto this list.
Focussing on the money is bordering on the opposite of following your passion, considerable profit may not come for months, it might not come for years, so what is keeping you committed? Living a life where you get to follow your passion is the greatest feeling ever, I can say that from experience.
If your can survive on that you have already succeeded.
Making a profit is great, it can be the thing that enables you to grow and expand but boy oh boy is it a trap to fall into if thats the reason you started.
Find your passion, work hard on it, talk to people around you, and commit to it like your life depends on it. (hey, it just might) It's awesome.
"Failing is learning, learning is growing, growing brings you closer to success. Therefore.. Failing = Success"