Before you launch yourself off into a new business venture, you should prepare yourself beforehand in several ways. For starters, focus on:
- Having some prerequisite experience
- Assessing your readiness
- Establishing family support
You don’t leap into the deep end of the pool without first learning how to swim, do you? You don’t take up a trade or professional service without getting some experience either. And, you need to make sure your support system is there to back you up as well.
Well then, you wouldn’t start your own business without knowing that you are pretty much prepared to do it, right?
The Prepared Entrepreneur
If you are starting a new business, it stands to reason that you are going to engage in a business that leverages your skills and abilities. Don’t start a retail business without really knowing a lot about retail operations, and certainly not a restaurant either. The same goes for personal and professional services, Internet services, and most anything else.
Let’s see how Amy Boehnert got prepared for her business. Amy’s business, Cardinal Point Media, provides social media marketing campaign services and she knows how to manage Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads with the best of them.
How did she learn all that stuff? Amy spent five years as an employee of a marketing firm where she learned how to create online advertising campaigns and learn through experience what works and what doesn’t work. She practiced this marketing discipline and became very proficient.
From the beginning, Amy had the idea of someday starting her own business, but she didn’t know how to take the first few steps to become a business owner responsible for her own marketing and sales as well as serving her clients.
Through her participation in Bunker Labs’ Six Steps to Success entrepreneurship education program, Amy went through the process of transforming a dream into a well thought out operational business. But, it all started with getting prepared.
Are You Ready For This?
Before Amy committed to the program, she went through a structured readiness assessment. It is a series of thoughtful questions that simply help the participant think through what it means to be an entrepreneur.
The questions about the commitment brings a sobering reality to what lays ahead:
- Are you prepared for long hours?
- Are you willing to make a long-term commitment to the venture?
- Are you willing and able to contribute your own funds to the business?
- Are you able to waive your salary in order to get started?
- Do you have the energy level to do this?
- Are you a driven individual?
- Are you persistent?
- Are you free and clear from a previous employer?
There are several more questions about the expectations you should have for what it takes to create the plan for the business, launch it and then conduct business operations.
If you can honestly answer these and other questions positively, you have the makings of the entrepreneur spirit and drive that is needed to be successful.
When you meet Amy Boehnert, you can see that entrepreneurial spirit sincerely expressed from deep in her heart.
Gaining Family Support
But, before Amy started down this road, she had several discussions with her husband, an active duty military officer, about how this would fit into their overall family. They discussed:
- The financial role and obligations each play
- How to support the children
- How they would handle the changes in their lifestyle
- The objectives to be achieved in her business
- How they would support each other in their roles
Today, Amy is running her business from her home office. She has established a market focus, refined her marketing services practice, created a marketing plan (“Eating her own pudding”) and has several happy clients to show for it. She has her husband on her team and couldn’t be happier with her progress, and it shows every day.
It is essential that you have this kind of support in place before you start, and continue to talk about how it is going and dealing with the day-to-day demands of your business as well as your family obligations. Nurture this support structure.
Be an educated entrepreneur
Like for any endeavor in life, you need to get smart about your next step. Starting your own business without determining if it is the right thing for you and getting the necessary knowledge about how to do it, is like trying to be an occupational therapist without getting the training. You will hurt someone.
In the Six Steps to Success entrepreneurship education program, you will get the education you need as well as the mentoring to guide you through the planning, launching, and operations of your business.
About the author: Bill Warner is the Cofounder and Director of EntreDot, a non-profit organization that provides entrepreneurship programs that help entrepreneurs start and operate their businesses, and a member of the management team at Bunker Labs RDU. He is the Managing Partner of Paladin and Associates, a business-consulting firm in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and is a Fund Executive of the Inception Micro Angel Fund of Research Triangle Park (IMAF-RTP), an angel investor seed fund that invests in technology and life science companies.