It may well be up there with leaving school/uni and embarking on a career, buying a car, arranging a mortgage, getting wed and/or deciding to have a family, yet starting your own business is something many of us dream of. Not least if we’re stuck in a dead-end job which doesn’t challenge us, or if we have to put up with a boss who makes David Brent look positively easy to work for. But, like the aforementioned other life-affirming things we can invest both a significant amount of time and money in, starting your first business can be perilous and fraught with potential pitfalls. We mean, where exactly do you begin?
Well, once you’ve been struck by the best idea you’ve ever had in your life to date (preferably of the get rich quick type, only nothing to do with pyramid selling), the biggest stumbling block to getting a business off the ground is of course, financial investment. And getting people to put money where their mouths are and support your vision. Be they family, friends, financial institutions or whoever feels like bank-rolling you. Which is why you might want to try and use a business loan to help you get your idea up and running in the first place. If you have a vehicle then you could continue to drive it but get important finance due to its asset value, companies such as Logbook Loans offer this.
But returning to the question of just how difficult it is to start your first business, and the answer is in a universally-recognized range of between ‘fairly’ and ‘incredibly’; based on your own individual circumstances, obviously. There are numerous statistics highlighting how X percentage of new businesses fail within the first 12 months, while other experts suggest that if you’ve made a success (or at least, survived) in business for 5 years, then you’ve beaten the odds. Beneath we outline the 4 main obstacles which stand between you and your first business becoming a success. And guess what, all 4 are battles found within you as opposed to barriers which exist out there in the self-employed, small business-owning sphere. Yeah, we bet you weren’t thinking about that one, were you.
All By Yourself – Yes, it can be very lonely at the top. But it can be equally as lonesome climbing your way to the pinnacle of where you’re going. Let’s face it, the hours you keep to make your new business a success from the get-go won’t be 9 – 5 for a quiet start. You’ll also have to hide away for days, weeks, months if not years in a small office; or even the study at home, where you’ll shut yourself off from the real world whilst you build your empire. Conquer this sense of loneliness and you’ll conquer the bigger fear. Conquer the bigger fear and you’ll go on to achieve great things.
You WILL be Skint – OK. In Hollywood the chances are you’ll have a wealthy partner/trust fund/huge savings account/sugar daddy/famous parents (delete as applicable to movie). Yet back here in the real world you’ll be living on your uppers for a considerable time while you’re trying to give your first business wings/nurture it. Putting a positive spin on this inescapable truth, you’ll then be well versed for making sound financial decisions in the future, when once again your business will depend on it. Forget about going to dinner with friends, expensive foreign holidays, replacing your old car with a shiny new one, while you better cancel that gym membership right now if you’re going to take this seriously. But just focus on the end goal, and business success. And then you can start living again!
Glamour? What Glamour? – Although business-based TV shows like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den paint a very glossy picture lifted straight out of the stills of a 1980s yuppie-inspired movie, the truth of the matter is business at your introductory level is way less sexy than you might imagine. For every Gordon Gekko there’s Gordon Bloggs, but remember this. Even the likes of Lord Sugar and Peter Jones had to begin somewhere, and with nothing. Of course, the TV execs aren’t interested in documenting this, and would rather concentrate on their material worth to sell an image. But rest assured they all started at the bottom and worked the way up. Never lose sight of this.
Your Confidence WILL be Fragile – But NOT irreparable. And that’s because your first business will set to challenge you and push you to your absolutely mental, emotional and physical limits. You’ll lose clients, employees will walk out, your bank manager will read the riot act and any or all of this will make you start questioning yourself and your abilities. Therefore you must keep your head down and remember you’re in it for the long haul. Success doesn’t happen overnight and all this procrastination will make you stronger. Replaced the nagging voice of doubt in your head with a cheerleader. Your own cheerleader.