Getting started: 8 business fundamentals to secure early on
Some of the most important decisions you’ll ever have to make happen during the early days of your business. It’s a time of rigorous planning, meticulous organisation and time management, establishing the fundamentals of your business logistics, and getting all the legal bits ticked off. There’s also that underlying lingering pressure to split yourself between several places at once. It’s a time that is equal parts daunting and exciting.
Education, experience, and self-help business literature are all incredibly beneficial academic and experiential building blocks to help you begin. But there’s no how-to instruction manual or step-by-step guide that tells you how to begin your specific business. That’s because your business model, in its nature, logistics, size, and budget, will be totally unique and requires some on-the-spot thinking that comes from within - not from a book. So, while we can’t offer you a paint-by-numbers that tells you exactly what to do when you wake up in the morning, we can outline some of the most fundamental things you’ll need to consider in the early days before kicking things off.
Patience really is a virtue!
Start-ups often fail at the beginning because of the classic Gung Ho attitude, a by-product of the dangerous triad that is drive, restlessness, and lack of planning. Having a specific vision in mind is important. But it can take years to get to the stage you want it to. Skipping some of the most fundamental aspects of business establishment and the assumption that you’ll begin generating sales overnight can cost the business itself! Some entrepreneurs can get too caught up in the end goal during the early days, paying too much attention to the vision rather than looking at the bigger picture: the journey. The journey requires patience and the correct mindset that’s based on the recognition that running a business is never a linear process.
Mindset is the jet fuel of your business
From day one until throughout, the heart of your business is mindset. A positive mindset will speak for itself. And of course, it goes without saying that being genuinely passionate about your business is crucial to its survival. Keeping that drive and desire aflame has a positive knock-on effect and seeps into all aspects of your business! Like attracts like and a positive mind reaps positive results. Cliches aside, having a good, solid business ethos that advocates a decent work/life balance and supports mental health will go a long way for you, your business, and your team.
Manage your time
When you’re just getting started in business, it’s a busy time! But nobody’s mind can be in two places at once, so effective time management is key. Being realistic with your time can enable you some breathing space so that you can plan and compartmentalise tasks more efficiently. Organising the priority of your tasks within your time management system and compartmentalising them into chunks can help diffuse any stress and reduces pressure.
Having easy-to-use time management software in place can really help with this. Make sure you set digital reminders that are linked to your business calendar, and it’s always a good idea to interlink your calendar across all devices.
Plan, plan, plan. Then plan some more
Time management and planning come hand in hand. Separating all the essential tasks into manageable sections from the get-go can help you plan more effectively.
Not sure which to do first? It’s probably a good idea to secure your business’ ability to operate and function as a legal business. Ticking off the tax boxes early on gets it out of the way and means you can focus on planning.
You may need to plan to create your plans! Tweaks to your business plan, creating marketing plans, and devising financial plans are all big jobs, so it’s a good idea to invest time in establishing and reviewing them.
Be realistic with your budgets
Underestimating the cost of beginning a business can lead to disappointment when unexpected costs seem to consistently appear from thin air. To avoid those nasty financial surprises, be realistic with your budgets and make educated investment decisions to increase the chances of a greater return on investment in the long run.
Research is an ongoing process, and you can never do too much of it! Even if you think you’ve done all the necessary research to start your business, it’s good practice to get into the habit of keeping yourself clued up on industry knowledge and business strategy. Soaking up as much information as possible can help you in the long run. Podcasts, webinars, business blogs, and networking events are all great ways of consuming useful information that can really benefit your business construction.
Competitor research is particularly valuable. Keeping yourself clued up as to what similar businesses are strategising can be telling! Pinpoint things your business can do differently that can set you apart from them and focus on these aspects. Is there a pattern to how similar businesses have navigated the market?
Secure your values, and stick to them
Lay down the roots of your values early, so that you can stick to them throughout. A key part of your business plan should be defining the pillars of your brand and cementing them as the foundations for your decision-making. Sticking to your values proves that you mean what you say, thus improving your brand reputation.
Worried you may encounter some unprecedented hurdles? We can learn invaluable lessons from obstacles that may occur along the way. It all comes back to mindset. Managing these obstacles logically and recovering from them are merely part of the business journey! Switching the narrative, and perceiving hindrances as progression helps to strengthen your drive and determination to succeed. Solidification and maintenance of this positive mindset is the very thing that should motivate you to get out of bed in the morning so that you enjoy entrepreneurship. Recognising the value of mistakes can equip you with a preparative attitude that you can use to handle anything life might throw at you and your business.