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Starting A Small Business

I recently completed writing an article about creating a small business and the pros and cons of working for yourself. I was proud of the final product – it was, I believe a fairly complete exposition of the potential rewards and common pitfalls of striking out on one's own and joining the ranks of the self-employed. When the article was complete, it offered many helpful suggestions for, not only evaluating the choice between traditional employment and self-employment, but also listed suggestions and resources that can be used to help make your small business venture  a success. I was pleased with the final product and, since my wife and I are opening a small store next month, looking forward to using some of my own advice!

That is, until yesterday.

Yesterday, my wife asked one simple question: “When should I start feeling scared?”

You see, yesterday we made an appointment with the fellow who will be the landlord of the business space we are leasing. Up until now, all of the planning and deciding has been mainly theoretical – when we keep the appointment we made, we will have actually spent money, signed a year lease and set a target for opening the store. Now I have a name for that niggling, uncomfortable feeling I have had for the past month.

Fear.

When writing that well written, carefully researched, impeccably crafted article – chock full of advice and suggested resources and internet links to help the novice entrepreneur succeed, I neglected one obvious aspect of the problem. Fear. When jumping into the unknown, it is not at all uncommon to feel nervous about the future. Starting your own business can be a great risk, but one with great rewards if successful. I know this – in my head, intellectually.

So, here are a few things I didn't even realize that I left out of that earlier article. Five steps you (and I) can take to combat the fear inherent in starting a new business venture:

  1. Write down your goals. Remember why you are starting a business of your own. Business owners who write down their goals are far more likely to achieve them. Writing down your goals forces you to visualize them, and prepares you for the hard work ahead.
  2. Make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish. Give yourself reasonable time to accomplish each, then, cross them out as you get each done. The tangible progress toward your ultimate goal will help build your confidence and self-belief.
  3. Educate yourself. For every issue regarding entrepreneurship and business, check out books, read articles from magazines and on the Internet and interview others that have started their own business. Having answers is always better than questions.
  4. Manage your stress. What do you do to relax? Make time for that weekly tennis game, chess match, day at the park with your kids, or whatever … don't allow the stress to take over and eliminate your ability to cope with it. Give yourself an end time each day – when its time to stop, stop. Once you leave, go home and be with your family and friends.
  5. Planning, planning, planning. Make a budget and stick to it – but update it weekly so you take into account anything that changes as you work toward your startup date.


So – the real answer to her question: Now. Now is a good time to start feeling scared.

Now the plans are real. Actual money is being spent. Feeling scared is certainly appropriate. Fear however, is not an impediment to business success. Fear, properly managed can motivate, so long as it does not paralyze. Use that fear – use it to keep focused on your goals … and you will almost certainly meet them.

 

Published Jan 31 2010, 11:45 PM by moneycoach
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