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Want to Start a Business? Here are Five Things to Address Upfront - Finnegan Pierson - Blog

Want to Start a Business? Here are Five Things to Address Upfront

Most new businesses fail. The founders often aren't really ready to be in business. They have some half-baked idea or they heard of some get-rich-quick scheme or they hate their job and think that working for themselves will be easier.

If you really want to succeed, you need to be doing the right things for the right reasons and in the right order. It's incredibly rare for successful businesses to happen without doing some legwork first. Do these first:

1. Pick Something You Like

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You don't necessarily have to absolutely love it or even be passionate about it, but don't take on something that will soon have you dreading going to work. People who like their work are more successful.

You don't have to think about this for long at all to conclude it makes perfect sense. You will get more done if you are enthusiastic about the work instead of dreading it. You will have more energy for it and spend less time in avoidance tactics.

2. Line Ups Paying Customers Ahead of Time

If you don't have paying customers, you don't actually have a business. Without paying customers, you have the trappings of a business or maybe even an expensive hobby. It may look a lot like a business, but it's a mirage.

It's fine to do beta testing, but the best test of all is "Will people actually pay you for it?" There's only one real way to answer that question: Find people willing to pay you for it. It's as simple as that and it's about offering people something they value rather than about sales tactics.

3. Ask "What's The Bottom Line?"

While you need to make money, making money shouldn't really be the goal per se. There should be something you are trying to accomplish that has value in its own right, such as providing a particular service.

So, on the one hand, you want to make sure to keep the bottom line -- profit -- where it belongs: In last place, in some sense. You should have other priorities, like making people healthier or helping them be more efficient or serving them the best ice cream they have ever tasted.

On the other hand, you still need to crunch some numbers and make sure it makes financial sense. Because if it doesn't turn a profit, you won't be in business for long. So address such issues early and know what it will take to be profitable enough to survive.

4. Don't Quit Your Day Job

You may think that quitting your day job will give you more time and energy to build the business and make it successful that much faster, but it probably won't. The most important element of success at the early stage is the length of your runway. In other words, how much time do you have before you run out of money completely?

Quitting your day job means you desperately need cash flow immediately and this tends to lead to poor decisions. Keep your day job until the business is able to support you. You will be much more likely to succeed if you are building the business on the side while still making enough money to cover rent and other essentials.

5. Research The Legal Details

Certain terms have specific legal meaning. You can call yourself "The Rug Doctor" without getting into trouble, but if you use the title Doctor in a way that makes people think you are a licensed physician when you are not, this can land you in jail.

There are myriad other potential pitfalls that may be less obvious. Once you have some idea of what you wish to do, make sure to research the legal pieces of it. Maybe even run it past a lawyer if you aren't sure and ask if you've missed something.

Publish Date: February 3, 2020 1:05 PM

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