The startup phase of a business begins with an analysis the most important piece: you. Understanding yourself is beneficial for everyone, but especially for new entrepreneurs. If you are going to dedicate years of your life to your new business, it only makes sense that the business should meet your personal goals. If you’re going to be successful, the business should also fit in with your talents and passions, otherwise you might find yourself doing things that you don’t enjoy. Lastly, it is important to make sure certain aspects of your life, such as your health, income, and personal support team are in order enough to handle the burden of your first couple of years in business. By doing a little digging and soul searching in these areas, you’ll become more aware of any issues that need taking care of before you start your entrepreneurial journey, and you’ll develop the criteria for the type of business you really want to build.
- Lifestyle Goals The entrepreneurial process is sure to have its ups and downs, but one step to ensure that you end up enjoying running your business is to take stock of your lifestyle goals. It is important that you take a look at yourself and your personal goals before starting a business to make sure where you want to be lines up with what you want to do. Take the time to ask yourself why you are starting this company and what is the most essential thing you want to get out of it.
- Financial Goals What would happen if you started your business, spent 3-5 years making it incredibly successful, but it still couldnt support your ideal salary? If you set financial goals before you start, youll be able to increase your chances that the business you choose to start will eventually be able to fund your ideal lifestyle. How much money do you envision yourself taking in salary and/or distributions out of the business to live the lifestyle you would like living?
- Health: Spiritual, Physical, Mental As most entrepreneurs realize growing a business requires personal growth as well. Assessing your current spiritual, physical and mental health (and lifestyle) and how they may impact the business is important piece of the puzzle.
- Personal Support Team Your personal support team includes all of the people who you rely on in your life. This includes family, friends, spiritual leaders, personal trainers, coaches and others. Starting a business is a personally challenging endeavor, so having a team behind you to provide encouragement and expertise will be a valuable asset.
- Integrity This is simple. Do you do what you say you are going to do. Even the small things, like “I will email you tomorrow”. When you are first starting your company your word is all your partners and potential customers have to base their choices on. Integrity is critical in building all relationships and must start with the founders.
- Pay the Bills PlanWhen you start your business, you may not be able to take income from in for 12-24 months. If youre counting on the business to make money for you very quickly before you run out of money, this can also negatively impact the strategic decisions you have to make over the course of the startup phase. To avoid this, it is important to have a plan to cover your personal expenses while the company is getting going. This might include a getting a part time job or living off savings, and creating a budget. The overall goal is plan how you will pay your bills for the next couple of years without a salary, so that your new company isnt weighed down by your personal costs when it is just starting off.
- Passions and Talents In starting a new business, youll have plenty of challenges, so it important to set yourself up for success when you can. This one is a bit of a no brainer. If your business idea aligns with the things you are already talented at or are passionate about, there are tons of advantages. Your learning curve wont be as steep, you can rely on skills and knowledge that youve already built up, and when things get tough your passion will lead to resilience. If you choose a startup that doesnt align with your passions and talents, you make your life a whole lot harder and your company may be less satisfying in general.
It may seem like a lot to consider, but doing a quick analysis of these 7 factors will make your life a lot easier once you start working on your business. Youll also have a better understanding of what youre looking for in a business, and your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur. To help get all this information together, we created a complete personal foundation tool that you can use to analyze these factors in 30 to 60 minutes. Its part of our free e-book, The Startup Toolkit.
So now that youve taken a hard look in the mirror, got your support team behind you, and understand yourself, youre ready to take the next step toward building your business. The next topic in the startup phase series will deal with creating a business idea and the business plan writing process.
The next of the process is to think of a great business idea and write your business plan.