Today I am featuring a guest post by Ashley Griffith, owner of Operation Entrepreneur, a group dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs together on a whole new level. She’s also the co-owner of eco-friendly bath and body shop The Gnarly Whale. Read on for Ashley’s five tips on starting a business:
1. Be Confident and Passionate
If you’re not confident and passionate about your business, who will be? You absolutely must believe in your business more than anyone else for it to succeed. If you’re not confident, not all hope is lost. You just need to work out the kinks. Change your policies, switch up your products, enlist help – do whatever you need to do to make sure that you’re confident (even if you’re still learning) when you launch.
2. Look at the Numbers
For most creative people, numbers suck. And they can take a lot of the fun out of business planning. But knowing your numbers is a huge part of knowing that you’ll be successful and profitable. Create a break-even analysis (with the help of this site, it’s easy) and ensure that everything checks out. If you find your numbers aren’t where they need to be, this will allow you to see where you may need to raise or lower prices.
3. Create a Business Plan
Not required, but incredibly useful. If you ever need a loan for your business, you’ll need one of these. And if you ever want to hire help with your business, this is a great tool to have for someone to see your business at a quick glance. Not only that, but the business plan is a great way to keep you and your business on track to meet your goals and ensure that you’re always following your mission. The Small Business Association is a GREAT resource for assistance in creating these in the US, or the Federation of Small Businesses in the UK.
4. Make Room for Growth
Think of ways the current products you have can change. Maybe it’s new features, different colours, or an expanded product line. No matter what, make sure that there is growth opportunity within your business. Trends come and go, so your product isn’t guaranteed to be a hit forever. Have a back-up plan for when your business may need something new to create that wow factor all over again, so you don’t have to start from scratch.
5. Surround Yourself With Positive Reminders
Have a Pinterest board dedicated to where you want your business to be or products you’d like to someday make. Use inspiration boards in your house. Read blogs or books that are similar to your field of work. Find a group of supportive people such as those within Operation Entrepreneur. Whatever it is – surround yourself with everything you want to achieve. No matter how skilled you are, there will be tough days and your business will most likely not flourish immediately. Find things to keep you going when the going gets tough, and it will get easier.