Before you do anything, start with one question: Why? Why do you want to start a business? If the answer is because you like to do the work you’ll be offering, entrepreneurship might not be the right fit for you. Successful entrepreneurs work on their business, not in their business. Your time will be spent as an administrator, sales agent, chief marketer, director of first impressions, collections agent, contracts executor, and head decision maker. Very little of your time will be (should be) devoted to performing the service you sell or producing your product.
If you want to do those things, your time (and sanity) might be best suited working for a company where you can do the thing you love full time. If however, you are comfortable doing multiple “as needed” jobs, enjoy creating new things, can lead yourself and others, and are ready to take on a journey, business ownership might be right for you.
So, back to the original question: Why do you want to start a business? This is a question that only you can (and should) answer. It’s something that deserves thorough thought and analysis. While there are plenty of good reasons, there are plenty that are bad or at least deserve some caution. For example:
- You’re bored with your current job.
- You need to make more money.
- You like to take risks or be adventurous.
- You know everything there is to know about your product or service.
- You can’t stand working for anyone else.
- Working for yourself will grant you more freedom.
- You’ll be famous or feel more important.
- You’re unemployed or need something to do with your time.
It is very unlikely that starting a business will result in “solutions” to the above issues. Even if there’s a little truth to some of the above statements these reasons on their own should all be treated as red flags when making your decision. A man I greatly admire once told me “make sure you’re always running toward something, not from something.”
Put “Start With Why” to Use:
As I mentioned in the introductory article, I’m a serial entrepreneur. I’ve started more than one business, and those prior experiences are what I’m drawing from to craft the business being formed in front of your eyes.
No matter the business, my dream has always been the same: use technology to help small businesses solve problems.
THEN: The First Business (1998 – 2010)
Why: I was fairly new player in the web design, web development, and online marketing industry, but I could see that people were getting ripped off! Small businesses knew they needed to get online but they didn’t know much about what that really meant. They were flocking to any kid with a computer who claimed to be a webmaster or could create a web page. (Doesn’t “webmaster” and “create a web page” seem like horribly outdated terminology? I didn’t care for it much back then either, as neither term was well defined as to the expertise or final product you were getting.) I saw horrible websites being launched everyday, for enormous sums of money, and I knew I could do better for these businesses.
How: I was already consulting for fun and the excitement of being involved in an emerging industry. I turned that consulting, and my unquenchable desire to help and teach others, into a business with the practical goal of helping customers use technology to compete online.
What: I methodically built a business. I read business books, I attended seminars, and I did a lot of “trial and error” experiments. Ultimately, I assembled a team of team of highly skilled and professional web developers, designers, programmers, and writers to bring innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to enhance existing web sites and solve problems for customers.
Result: We built a portfolio of over 150 projects, we won awards, and we got to watch our customers success grow in step with our own. The original dream was realized. We built a reputation of superior quality and integrity that our competitors couldn’t touch. We made smart decisions about hiring, spending money, and adopting new technologies. Above all, I embarked on an unforgettable journey that I’m still very proud of today. I took a skill I had and, without any formal business training, used it to ultimately teach myself how to build a company. Each day brought a new type of challenge. I got to learn a thousand new things, do what I love, and fulfill my purpose of helping small businesses through technology, from day 1 through day 4,380.
Now: This Business (2012 – 2023)
Why: The reasons are the same. I want to find additional ways to help small businesses while using technology to deliver the solutions. I want to help new businesses get up and running faster. I want to help established businesses grow to a more organized and profitable level. I want to build something new and watch my dream succeed again.
How: I will take everything I’ve learned about business and make it available to others. I’ll use the proprietary and proven methodologies I developed for the first business as informational materials for today’s business. I’ll use technology to deliver this information and make it easy for other businesses to use, re-brand, and insert into their processes.
What: I’ve already developed over 100 web design, web development, graphic design and online marketing guides, templates, samples, articles, and resources. All of them were used in real life to run a physical and web-based company, organize day to day business operations, and communicate ideas between the business and the end customer. I will white-label these resources, so other organizations can immediately embed them into existing processes, further customize them, or use them as a starting point. I have another 100 or so information assets locked in my brain that I could develop. I will start with the web development industry and expand into other complementary vertical markets.
Result: Others will benefit from all the established, successful, and tested methods. Businesses will save time and energy using our “done for you” templates and worksheets. People will have one place to go for business start-up information and tools to make their company more professional, profitable, and organized.