|Are you an entrepreneur or an adventurer?|
I am positive that, being an entrepreneur as you are and willing to go the extra mile for your business, you’ve attended various courses, seminars and lectures offered to business owners.
Have you noticed, as I have, that a lot of emphasis is placed on the fact that you should be passionate about what you do, keep always looking forward, work really hard, maintain a spirit of innovation, and not to stop at anything?
Have you noticed how it’s emphasized the fact that you could even launch a new business without having any funds, or even in some cases, not having a business plan? It’s an awkward feeling but sometimes it looks as if the only thing required is to have a strong wish to being successful.
And I want to make a stop on these two points, because I think it’s worth for all of us to talk a little bit about them: funding and planning.
Launching a new business with no money, means you could have a hard time.
In many cases it’s said that young people need no financing to start a new businesses because they don’t have kids, or major financial obligations, or simply because they continue to live with their parents.
It’s understandable that young adults have less financial burden. Up to that point, it’s ok, but: Who said that a young man who still lives with his parents doesn’t have any funding? What happens with the money their parents pay for electricity and telephone bills, monthly rental payment, food, and so forth...? Isn’t it a way to finance the cost of starting a business which said young man is operating from his parent’s home?
In these cases, it’s valuable to set the record straight, before we continue to encourage young entrepreneurs, fresh out of college, to jump into the new business world with great enthusiasm and without a penny in their pockets.
Chances are their ideas, which could have been extraordinarily profitable, don’t see the light, just because they did follow bad advice. And that has happened already to more than one.
Not having a plan is not having a course, not even a rough guide.
Nobody in their right mind one day decides to go out on an adventure without, at least, preparing a backpack with bottled water and some snacks, or even have a road map or a fairly clear idea of what to expect.
That is to have a plan. I don’t know if you have been surprised as I have, but in many of the sessions I've attended, having a plan is not mentioned or even a having a simple outline of what your business is going to be, how it will operate, the things you'll need along the road, or what people use to name "A business plan in a napkin"
I have to say it’s very important to stay with a positive and proactive attitudes, have hopes, be passionate about what you do and the idea you have for your business. On that we agree one hundred percent, but it’s also necessary to have a business plan, simple, brief, in which you analyze at least the key elements, remember?: Your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
I assure you that by doing this short exercise, you will feel much more relaxed and you will be able to manage your business more effectively.
What can you do to really become an entrepreneur and not a mere adventurer?
- First of all, you have to know where you're going and how long you want the ride to be. The "where" it’s important to make sure that all your actions take you in that direction. The "how long" is equally important because it allows you to change course if the ride is taking longer than expected.
- Make sure you have enough money to cover your business expenses, at least for the first two years. If it is impossible, make it at least for the first 12 months. If you don’t do so, your venture will depend heavily on your initial sales and your business will be strongly vulnerable to any fluctuation in the market. If you still live with your parents, your funding is semi-approved! :-D
- Make a concrete plan detailing how you will reach your customers and bring in the money. An idea doesn’t become a huge business until prospect customers pay for it.
- Define clearly what you will do and what decisions you are going to make as your business grows. Many times it happens that your business growth fills your pockets, but doesn’t generate real growth. Make sure it's the opposite way: Grow your business first and then increase the money going to your pocket progressively.
Being an entrepreneur is a wonderful adventure, provided it is carried out with a minimum of common sense. Do not turn your venture into a nightmare, nor let your wonderful idea die, for not taking it a little bit more seriously.
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