Looking To Start Up? Be Sure Of These Three Things First
Content was originally published on Forbes.com on November 2, 2018.
The idea of starting a new company is a provocative one.
Whether this is your first business venture or you are a serial entrepreneur, the startup phase is exciting and full of promises and possibilities. But starting up is also riddled with uncertainty and doubt, which leads many entrepreneurs to wonder if their idea has merit long before their first sale is ever made.
Some time ago, I began working with a business coaching client named Linda. Linda was working in the pharmaceutical industry at the time and saw many medical manufacturers struggling to scale up their sales forces. Sure, they had developed a potent new drug, but they weren’t competent at recruiting and managing a sales force to sell their new product. Enter Linda. She came up with a business plan that would allow these small manufacturers to pool their time and resources to build an outsourced sales force.
She applied the formula that I suggest to clients looking to start a new venture.
The Secret To Startup Success
After working with businesses for over 25 years, I have been able to distill which businesses you should take a chance on and which businesses are better left in your idea notebook. For most entrepreneurs, the most successful business ventures have three key elements.
1. You need to love it.
When someone asks you about your business or industry, do your eyes light up? Do you lean in closer, and does your voice go up an octave? Do you begin talking with your hands? Does your pulse quicken a bit?
Building a business from the ground up takes a lot of work and dedication, and when things get difficult, that passion will keep you moving forward. Excitement fades, but passion will keep you in the business and engaged despite inevitable challenges and setbacks.
I see this firsthand every single day.
Ask any successful business owner about their business, and you will see a noticeable change in the way they compose themselves. They love what they do and while that doesn’t guarantee success, it certainly doesn’t hurt during the growing pains.
2. You need to be good at it.
Everyone has something that comes naturally to them. What skill do you have that others struggle to do well? What do you want to continue to get better at? This sweet spot analysis will help ensure that the business you choose is one that will stand the test of time.
You wouldn’t start a restaurant if you weren’t at least a decent cook. You wouldn’t start a marketing firm if you hated sales and marketing.
Think about your strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage when setting up a business venture.
3. You need to have the upper hand.
You can have all the passion and skill in the world and still fail at a business venture. Having an upper hand in the market will help tip the tables in your favor.
Ask yourself the following questions:
• “What financial resources do I have at my disposal? Do I have the startup funds to make my business a reality?”
• “What life experiences do I have that would make this business successful (education, training, in-field experience)?”
• “What skills do I have? What can I do that others cannot?”
• “What connections do I have in the industry?”
While you don’t have to possess all of the things above to be successful, a few key advantages will make your job a lot easier. Some of my clients have started up with a large amount of capital and connections to make it happen. They then made some key hires to fill in the gaps in experience and skill set. Others had the life experience and skills to be successful and were able to bootstrap their way through the startup phase. Put your business idea through the filter of passion, talent and advantages, and you should be off to a good start.