10 things you should know before starting a business

So you’ve decided to start your own business. Great! This can be one of the most rewarding decisions you make in your life, but it also comes with challenges and risks that might not be immediately apparent at first glance.  Before you do anything else, here are 10 things you should know before starting a business. Your success depends on it!

1) It’s OK to fail 

Some of today’s most successful businesses got their start with big, splashy failure—think Apple, which famously flopped with its first computer before it made waves with its second try. Don’t be afraid to fail; just make sure you learn from it. If you’re going to take a risk and invest time and energy into creating something new, you have to be OK with failing.

The key is making sure your ideas are grounded in real market value and solid business acumen. In other words, if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it! It’s important to remember that sometimes even great companies go under.

Remember Webvan? It raised $375 million in funding and then went bankrupt within two years after spending $1 billion on infrastructure to deliver groceries. That kind of blunder can be avoided by taking a step back and looking at things realistically. For example, say you want to create an app that helps people find information about rare animals or plants when they travel abroad. It sounds great on paper, but does anyone really need it?

2) Ask People for Advice

Whenever you’re in doubt about anything business-related, turn to an experienced entrepreneur for advice. Seek out mentors and local business owners who can give you insight into what works and what doesn’t.

This kind of knowledge sharing can save you time, money, and stress in your new venture. When approaching people for advice, be sure to do so with respect—and don’t forget to follow up with thank-you notes! And don’t be afraid to ask questions; after all, if you don’t know something, how will you learn? Don’t be intimidated by more seasoned entrepreneurs or executives—ask them for help as often as possible. The more comfortable you are with asking for help, the more likely it is that others will want to help you when you need it most. 

3) Do Something you Love

Are you working with other people or are you by yourself? Working with others is much easier than working alone. Not only do you have extra support, but if that one person gets too bored and starts to slack off, there are others to pick up the slack. It’s easy for things to get overlooked when it’s just one person doing everything. But when there are multiple people, then different people will see different areas and make sure those areas get their due attention.

If something needs fixing, someone else will notice it before you do. If something needs improvement, someone else will think of ways to improve it before you even realize it could be improved. There are many benefits of working in a group as opposed to going solo on your business venture. Don’t try to go at it alone; find some friends who want in on your business idea and start building together!

4) Work on it Every Day 

If you’re serious about starting a business, it’s vital that you commit to it, day in and day out. Don’t take on another job or start another side hustle—the energy required for all that will certainly siphon away from your business idea. Instead, focus on making progress every single day towards your goal of launching a new company. Even if you work only 15 minutes each morning or evening before going to bed, it’ll add up over time. Be patient with yourself: Rome wasn’t built in a day! It can take years to create something worthwhile, so don’t expect quick results.

Just be sure you are always moving forward at a steady pace. It might not feel like much now, but down the road you will be glad you made these daily commitments to yourself and your future business. 

5) You have to be Passionate about your Idea 

No matter how great your idea is, you need to be in love with it. In fact, without passion you won’t have enough energy to get through all of life’s inevitable challenges.

If you’re not passionate about your business, then why would anyone else be? Passion comes from being deeply involved and affected by what you do; it fuels creativity and engagement—which is critical for being successful in business.

6) Invest Time in Research 

Getting into business is like going on an epic adventure— there’s so much to learn, so many opportunities, and so many challenges that lie ahead. To start off on the right foot, you should set aside time to dig in and research your industry.

Learn about different business models and how they’ve performed over time. Study up on all aspects of operations: marketing, HR, supply chain management, sales and customer service. Read books and articles by other entrepreneurs who have been successful. The more prepared you are when it comes time to launch, the better chance you have at building something great. 

7) Educate Yourself about Taxes and Legalities 

Do your homework and learn about all of your state’s legal requirements for starting a business. This may include obtaining licenses or certifications, registering with the secretary of state, applying for tax ID numbers, or other actions you need to take to begin doing business.

Understanding how your local laws work will help you avoid costly mistakes or fines down the road. For example, if you plan on selling items online, make sure you understand what it means to be engaged in business in your state before selling anything. If you don’t have a physical presence in another state (such as an office), then that could limit your ability to sell products there. 

8) Learn from Other People's Mistakes 

Learning from other people’s experiences is important because it’s probably cheaper than learning from your own.

Many of these mistakes will save you time and money, while letting you avoid heartache, embarrassment, and ultimately failure. They say that hindsight is 20/20—but it can be difficult to gain perspective in real-time when you’re knee-deep in business-creation and expansion. 

9) Plan Ahead and have a Strategy in Place 

If you want to be successful, you need to figure out how you are going to achieve your goals. Start by putting together an action plan and map out exactly what needs to happen for your business to succeed.

Be sure that everything is laid out in detail and doesn’t leave any room for ambiguity or confusion. Keep in mind that it may take some time before you see results. It can take several months before you start generating income from your new venture, so don’t get discouraged if things don’t go as quickly as you had hoped. 

10) Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities

Entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for creative ways to get their ideas off the ground. But sometimes all you need is a little serendipity.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself, you never know who knows what or who will turn out to be your future partner, investor, mentor or employee. Here are five key ways to put yourself out there and maximize networking opportunities

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