The First Step is the Biggest

Are you thinking about [or curious about] starting your own business?  Taking the first step is often the hardest, and is arguably the largest step anyone takes in the business world.  You, as founder, are ultimately responsible for every aspect – strategic, operational, transactional, and financial.  There is nowhere to hide as a solo entrepreneur.

That first step begins a journey which is one of the scariest and most satisfying things a person can do professionally and personally.  Regardless of financial results, whether negative or positive, an entrepreneur grows in skills, abilities, and inner strength – gaining a sure and lasting knowledge of just how much can be done by one person with a vision of business possibilities.

One important aspect of starting, building, and succeeding in business is having a broad range of people you know – family, colleagues, friends, or acquaintances from previous employers, civic events, school, church, and other parents.  These people are your focus group, referral resources, marketing team, support network, and a host of roles that are important to you and your business’s success. They share experiences and act as sounding boards or cheerleaders along the challenging path to your own business.

Another key aspect of success is the ability to “multi-task”.  For most, if not all women, multi-tasking is a skill that seems to be embedded in our genetic code.  The “typical” woman juggles multiple demanding roles in the course of her day and life – daughter, sister, mother, friend, businesswoman, mentor, community leader, activist, party planner, “chauffeur”, “doctor”, and a host of others – constantly demanding attention, resources, and action, then requiring the ability to prioritize, schedule, “juggle”, and DO.

How fortunate that “having it all” has equipped women with the skill set of an entrepreneur!

The unique set of abilities, skills, education, and experiences that each of us possesses can enable us to achieve:
– independence
– flexibility
– balance
– financial stability (and success)
– personal growth
– professional growth
– professional success, and
– control of our “destiny”.
However, our individual expertise must be complemented by an understanding that the “product” of our business is different than having comprehensive business knowledge and ability.

Starting and running a business isn’t easy and is, at times, quite complex.  Business requires knowing our own personal skills and abilities, and when to seek advice, do it ourselves, and enlist the help of other experts along the way.  It also requires resources – time, money, tools, and people – to get you through the initial stages and into positive cash flow and profitability.

Part of evaluating what it takes to start a business includes personal financial needs, a realistic time-line, and on-going re-investment back into the company.  These things are needed to build and grow a viable, dynamic organization that is in demand and recognized.

If you like the idea of your own business, take time right now to write down the answers to these questions:
– Why do I want my own business?
– What am I willing to do/sacrifice in the “early” stages of the business (first 1 – 3 years)?
– What are my present financial resources that I can
1.  Live on?
2.  Invest in the business?
– What are my strengths?
– What do I have a “passion” for – is that a business?
– Who do I know that can help me realistically assess my ideas (not a naysayer and not a Pollyanna)?
– What business experience do I have – either functional or managerial?
– Where am I today – financially, professionally, personally, etc.? [If you are a single parent of toddlers or an empty nester, this impacts the resource equation for you significantly! Don’t let it stop you, but recognize the impact and work with it!]

If you are ready to get started, get a small notebook and jot down your answers to the above questions. Keep it with you to capture thoughts or things you can use or see from a business similar in concept to what you want to do. Begin gathering data, names, and other items that can help you reach a decision, make a plan, and take action.  Write it down to get clear on what you want to do.

Copyright © 2004 F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

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