What to expect when starting your own business
There is plenty that you need to know in advance of realising your business start-up idea, as it is hardly ever going to be a simple process. It’s quite easy to get blinded by the allure of setting your own working hours, or of being in charge, and to then be taken off guard by the (sometimes harsh) reality of it. With that in mind, it’s important to learn as much as you can before risking your own money on a venture like this, so that you can set yourself up for the success that you deserve.
1. You can expect not everything will be perfect
Setting up your own business can bring both the highest highs and the lowest lows. Every company will get at least one bad review over the course of its existence, and not all of them will be completely unreasonable. It can be a rude awakening to know that even just one customer didn’t come away wholly satisfied, but this happens to absolutely everyone. So long as you politely take the feedback into account in whatever way you’re able, then it can help your company to thrive – some reviews will inevitably be in bad faith, but you must always rise from it.
2. You can expect to be at the mercy of the market.
When small businesses fail, a common reason is that they didn’t fill a unique market opportunity. If people have the ability to go somewhere else for your service, then statistically at least some of them will do just that – plenty of start-ups meet their end this way. You have to ensure your service is one of a kind, and that you can beat (or survive co-existing with) the competition. This can be even more daunting when you’re a small fish in a big pond, as compelling people to break away from larger companies with a reputation for quality is no easy task.
3. As a result, you can also expect seasonal shifts.
Any industry has peaks and troughs over the course of a year; depending on your service, this can change based on any number of factors. As an example, weight loss equipment is more popular at the start of the year due to New Year’s Resolutions but will see fewer sales as the months roll by. Ice cream is less popular in cold months, and especially in cooler parts of the country; conversely, thermal insulation is less profitable in the summer. These fluctuations are a normal part of your business and have to be budgeted for accordingly.
4. You can expect to be networking as much as you can.
For businesses of any size, networking is the name of the game as it allows you to build up relationships. Depending on your company structure, it’s quite likely that you won’t be wanting to do everything by yourself – and networking is a great way to get the people that you need for any task. It can also help you learn from seasoned business owners who have made it work; taking their advice and asking any questions you might have will pay off over time.
5. You can expect your lifestyle to change.
Setting up a company is hard work, and it may seem that many of the positives are outweighed by the many hours required to help the business succeed. What began as an attempt to get more flexibility in your life can soon result in you having less free time than before, whether to spend on yourself or with your family. This can slowly level off once everything is off the ground, but you need to be prepared to spend a few more hours a week (or even a day) helping your company grow.
6. However, you can also expect to burn out if you aren’t careful.
On a similar note, though you must work hard to meet your targets and develop your business start-up ideas, it’s important not to get overwhelmed and burned out by it all. Firing on all cylinders at all times to please absolutely everybody is never going to be healthy, so you need to know when to delegate tasks to other people, or to take a break. It’s easy to look at days (or even hours) where you aren’t working as failures that can endanger your business – but if you spread yourself too thin, then there’s an even greater risk of not being able to keep the company afloat.
Starting a company comes with its own unique challenges, and it’s vital to be aware of them now so that you can deal with any that arise in future. So long as you commit yourself to the best possible service (while making sure not to run yourself ragged), then you are definitely ready for the road ahead.
This article mainly discusses starting up a business from scratch, but don’t forget that an alternative to business startups is going down the franchising route. Franchises are already-proven business models that are tried and tested. The franchisor will be looking to expand their operations through franchisees who run their own business, trading under the franchisors brand name. Many can be low cost franchises and even home based, so you can enjoy the benefits of your own business with full training and ongoing support.