You are on social media and a friend announces their new business. You’re curious about how they got started but afraid to ask. You want to make money using your expertise, but don’t want to make costly mistakes trying to do it. You can’t shake the idea of being your own boss no matter your current salary. These thoughts make sense. You are not alone. More women are starting and growing businesses now than at any other time in our history. But you don’t know when is a good time to start. Here are my suggestions.
You know it is a good time to start your business when…
When Your WHY is Big Enough to Move You
Starting a business is a big risk. Financially. Emotionally. Professionally. And you starting a business is going to impact your loved ones. Why do you want to start a business? Ask yourself over and over. Is it for fame and fortune? Is it to create a legacy for your family? Or is it because you’re bored in your current career and want a new challenge? No matter the answer know your WHY is what will keep you going and growing in your business.
When FEAR is in Perspective
Fear is normal when you’re stepping out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to paralyze you or stop you. Once you understand that, then you can take the steps to start even when you are afraid.
When REJECTION Doesn’t Scare You
You are going to face disappointments, setbacks and yes, even rejection. You may have been popular or respected in your career, but that doesn’t stop rejection from happening. Can you deal with being the new kid, the small fish in a big pond?
When Your Finances are in ORDER
Many entrepreneurs get started after being fired, after experiencing financial devastation. But that doesn’t have to be your story. If you are currently working, you can put a simple and sound exit plan in place. Start decreasing your expenses. With the money you save, you can start investing in equipment, licensing or certifications for your new business. The ideal situation is to have at least 6 months of your total expenses saved before you branch out on your own.
When Your LEADERSHIP Skills Have Been Proven
Starting a business is only one step. If you are married or have children, your business is now a family affair. You will need to make sure you have the support in place and connect with people who are going to be a part of the business. (click for more on leadership)
When You STOP DOUBTING Yourself
In business, you are going to be making decisions – a lot of them. You want to be decisive. People are trusting you. You may make mistakes. We all do and that’s part of the journey.
It’s important to understand that mentorship isn’t as cut and dry as a curriculum of lessons.
When You Have a MENTOR
In the corporate world, you hear a lot about mentors. Mentors are more important as you get started in your business. Find someone who you admire, who has a similar background as you or is in the same industry and has demonstrated a level of success beyond your own. I also know of people who used books, audiobooks and even Youtube channels as their mentor.
It’s important to understand that mentorship isn’t as cut and dry as a curriculum of lessons. It can also take the form of observational learning and done from a distance as you accumulate notes that you can apply to your business. Once you have meaningful notes, engage your mentor with purposeful questions based on your notes. Your preparation will make better use of their time and yield greater feedback than a passive “teach me” approach.
When You Have IDENTIFIED YOUR TARGET MARKET
You are going into business to solve a problem or to serve a population. Make sure that you know who your business will serve. Research everything you can about your target market. The more you know about what they want, the better you can position your business to serve them.
Most successful entrepreneurs didn’t have all these things in order before they got started.
When You Have a WRITTEN PLAN
In every phase of my business, I had a written business plan. Business plans aren’t just for getting financing from a bank. A business plan serves many purposes, but for the beginning entrepreneur, it is like a road map. Start your business by writing down what your state requires for new businesses. After you have completed those steps, research what federal law requires. Check with the SBA (Small Business Administration), IRS and your industry associations. Some industries have certain licenses or required certifications. Get in the habit of having a written business plan and updating it often. The plan doesn’t have to be long and legalistic, it simply needs to be complete for reminding you and your team who you are, who you desire to serve, and how you are going to provide value worth paying for.
When You are FED UP with Your Current Situation
Frustration is a great motivator. Sometimes you have to be pushed out of your comfort zone to pursue your dream of entrepreneurship. You could be frustrated with being underpaid, under-utilized or under-valued. Knowing your worth and moving forward in your gift is powerful.
I will be honest with you. Most successful entrepreneurs didn’t have all these things in order before they got started. But I know they would have wanted a list like this. Don’t just jump out there. If you can put this list in motion, you will be giving yourself a sound start for success in business.