It’s not cool to talk about the hardships involved when you’re starting a business. It’s much sexier to talk about going from zero to six-figure income in 30 days with the latest magic blogging technique or drop shipping… Or the many other wild promises made by very insistent people.
The reality is, surprisingly, somewhat different. I’ve tried a few of those Get Rich Quick schemes. They ALL miss out a very important point.
Business isn’t just about the product or service that you sell. That’s only one of the components of starting and running a successful business.
To be successful you have to do a whole lot of things. Like: solidify your idea, create your brand, develop client personas, niche down on your target market, find the people in that market, convince them that you’re the best supplier, build a coherent business plan, manage the accounting side of invoicing, receipts, and managing your cashflow. You might also need to outsource work, deal with customers who don’t pay you, manage burn-out, and stress and loneliness.
So, ignoring the magic solutions for the moment, let’s talk about reality.
Despite what the magicians say, there are many roadblocks to starting a business. But here’s the good news. Each one of those roadblocks has many solutions, developed over thousands of years. And the solution you choose will depend on your current position.
People have been starting businesses for thousands of years. In 2003, I walked down the main street of Babylon, in Iraq, which was built 4,300 years ago. The ruins of the shop walls are still there today.
Business hasn’t changed much. The 4 main mental roadblocks facing the shopkeepers in Babylon are very similar to today’s mental roadblocks.
And here they are:
- I don’t know if I have what it takes to start and run a business. I have never been in business before.
- What if people don’t like my product or service? I’ll fail and be humiliated.
- How am I going to find enough customers to run my business profitably?
- There are thousands of people with my set of skills and experience. How am I going to stand out from the crowd?
And what is the common thread running through the top 4 mental roadblocks?
They are all in your head.
They are natural concerns, which can paralyse and prevent you taking action. They are legitimate things to worry about.
AND each of them has a set of solutions you can put in place, with little cost and upfront commitment.
If the roadblocks are in your head, then you can fix them yourself. It’s that simple. So let’s go through them, one by one.
Mental Roadblock #1: “I’ve never been in business before, so I don’t know what it takes.”
There are three things you can do right now to deal with this roadblock
- Ask a friend who has their own business to walk you through what’s involved. Spend time with them seeing how they do things. Massively powerful way to learn by imitation.
- Read everything you can lay your hands on about starting up a business. Not the jazzy get rich quick stuff, but blogs and articles. Make lots of notes.
- Start off on the weekends (if you have a job), taking baby steps. You can set up the framework of doing a “side hustle” very cheaply. So practice being in business until you feel comfortable taking the training wheels off your new bicycle.
Mental Roadblock #2: What if people don’t like my product or service? I’ll fail and be humiliated.
There’s only one way to deal with this. Ask. Before you take the plunge. Do research! It’s free. It just takes some time. And it will give you all the evidence you need to decide whether to move forward or not. And then you have to take action.
As Peter Drucker, the giant of modern management thinking said, “What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it is another matter.”
At Bmentals, we can show you what to do and how to do it. But ONLY YOU can make the decision to get on the field of play.
No one gets it right every time. But absolutely nothing will get done if you have to overcome all objections first.
So many great quotes about taking a risk;
“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.” — Peter Drucker
And remember what W.C. Fields said; “Remember, a dead fish can float down a stream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.”
Mental Roadblock #3: How am I going to find enough customers?
Again, three simple things you can start doing right now.
- See if anyone else is marketing your product or idea, or service. Competition means that there’s a viable market for your idea.
- Analyse their *Unique Selling Propositions*, and then define your own, that’s a little different. Enough to be noticeable, but not so way out there that it disconnects. This is a combination of your brand, its tone and voice and your own personality. It’s worth investing a little money to talk to an expert on this subject. They can save your thousands or make you thousands.
- Get very familiar with the best channels to go find those elusive customers. Which involves becoming a bit of an expert on the marketing funnel, and social media channels in particular. This was my big mistake in one of my earlier businesses, which I had to shut down. I waited ages to really understand how these channels work, and the opportunity cost in terms of better sales was enormous.
Mental Roadblock #4: How will people notice me in the crowd?
The answer is simple.
DO NOT DO WHAT EVERYONE ELSE DOES.
Here’s some ideas:
- Use humour where people least expect it. Our friend Jon Buchan excels at this and gets massive responses from very busy, cynical marketing executives.
- Use colour. The simplest things work. Last year I received over 200 applications for a social media specialist freelance position. One of the criteria of the job was to help us stand out. Only one applicant did this with her CV. She put a red stripe down the side of each page. She got the job, and she is brilliant. Everything she does is designed to lift us above the competition, so we can be seen.
Simple. Remember what Peter Drucker said; “What you have to do and how you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it is another matter.”