Starting a Business: Part 1

Before starting your business or selling your first product, set yourself up for success by taking an important first step.

The excitement of starting a new business or creating something that people actually are willing to pay for is intoxicating. But before getting caught up in the exhilaration of insane growth and glowing compliments, there is a major first step not to miss before starting a business.

Whether you are a crafter or entrepreneur, everyone should ask two very important questions. For a crafter or creator, you must ask, “What do I want to make or create and why?” An entrepreneur or new business owner must ask, “What do I want to own, build or provide and why?”

These two questions—a “what” and a “why”—might seem overly simplistic. But I have seen countless business hopefuls go under quickly because they either skipped this step or did not put much though into it. You might be asking yourself, “If someone is selling something or providing a service, then how could they skip this step?” The reality is some people just jump on a bandwagon. Herd mentality is strong. If leggings are the hot new thing and seem easy enough to turn a profit without physically making the product or even have it physically in stock, then individuals looking for a quick piece of the entrepreneurship pie dive right in.   

I am sure you have heard and read much about needing to be passionate about what you do so you will never work a day in your life. This is true to an extent. But when it comes to running a business, especially if you personally make the items, you need passion, love and true grit and determination in healthy doses.

There are countless stories of crafters and hobbyist turned entrepreneurs who quickly sank or gave it all up because what they loved turned into a monster. The same is true for individuals who might have a business passed on to them. How does a dream become a nightmare? Often it is because they did not really consider or think through that “what” and “why” question all the way.  Then the minute people start mentioning “scaling up”, “going big”, “profit/loss”, “share holders”, “margin”, “SKUs” and so on, you head down a slippery and rocky slope. 

In order to avoid resentment for something you once were passionate about and loved, always keep it simple. While everyone will have an opinion, advice and try to offer his or her input, remember it is your business—literally. The pressure of wanting to turn a profit might weigh on you at times, and this leads to feeling the need to meet customer requests and demands that you normally would not. But often these “customers” end up not even buying what they suggest you make. So it is always better to just stick to what you love making, eating, or using yourself.

To read more of my advice for starting a business, click here.

Stephanie is the founder/owner of Stephanie J. Bradberry LLC and former founder/owner of Crosby Educational Consulting, LLC. She is a certified life coach, national speaker, author, educator, entrepreneur and consultant.

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