Every entrepreneur or start-up business owner knows there are some common questions and fears that appear in the start-up world. Having the ability to recognise them will help you identify strategies to overcome your start-up fears and lead to success. General manager Raeleen Hooper shares her thoughts and ideas on how to overcome the daunting experience of getting starting and pushing up to the top.
Believe in your ideas
It’s easy to focus on the negatives rather than thinking about the positives. Instead of believing in ourselves and rolling with an idea, we spend far too much time dissecting plans to make them perfect. Remember, you don’t always need a polished business plan. As long as the concept is strong enough, believe in yourself and ideas will flow freely.
Instead of believing in ourselves and rolling with an idea, we spend far too much time dissecting plans to make them perfect.
It is important than when you face roadblocks, keep positive and seek advice and help from others. We are now in a connected world, where research is a lot easier and it’s possible to gain inspiration from people within the industry. Sign up for webinars, podcasts as well as join relevant groups on social platforms like LinkedIn.
Don’t focus on (potential) failure, focus on achievements
The fear of failure is very common and you are definitely not on your own here. Challenges will arise at times but an enthusiastic, well spirited entrepreneur will understand what the worst-case scenario looks likes and prepare for it. Plus, starting a business brings a lot of fun and exhilarating times that will overshadow the difficult times.
When doubt creeps in, use a simple technique: grab a coffee and take a break to reflect on the achievements to date. So often you get caught in the day-to-day rush of getting things done, that you forget to celebrate all the milestones you have already achieved.
Patience will pay off
Being patient may seem like a simple skill but it doesn’t come easy to everyone. Staying calm when under pressure or in worse case, a crisis, will help you keep your feet firmly on the ground and stay professional. Some things move more quickly than others in the start-up world and there can be a lot of hurdles to overcome in the early days.
Part of patience is also perseverance, which my parents had in spades when they opened their own bed and breakfast in a county town. By believing in their idea and finding their niche, they kept on delivering what their clients wanted for ten years to create a very successful business they were proud of.
Take a deep breath and step back
Most entrepreneurs start off with a great idea that lights the touchpaper and gets things rolling. After a while it is possible that you may hit a wall which can become quite daunting. Take a deep breath, step back from the project and re-visit with a fresh mind. Being realistic and putting the leg work in during the first steps means success is achievable at a mid-way stage.
Take a deep breath, step back from the project and re-visit with a fresh mind.
This is also a good time to get some fresh ideas and thoughts. A good technique is to talk with your ‘Circle of Influence’ – these are your most trusted friends and family. They will give you some honest feedback as well as know your vision so they will help you see through the fog for some clear thoughts. They may also be able to babysit your business for a short period of time which can give you an opportunity to visit similar businesses to freshen up your ideas.
On a couple of occasions I have seen a business owner go away for a quick break. Lo and behold, they stumble across a couple of new concepts that energise them and provide fresh ideas to help break through to the next success phase of their business.
It’s a cliché but the best leaders learn every day and never stop learning. It is worth attending industry specific classes, webinars and conferences to gain knowledge from others. The best ideas can be attained from people with more experience and a wise work ethic.
I worked with a very successful entrepreneur who planned 30 minutes of daily education. The founder of this business would always be looking for ways to improve his business model, whether it was through streamlining the business processes or developing the marketing. He was not afraid to try new initiatives and was flexible to make change for the growth of the business. The business has had rapid growth and expansion but the daily learnings continue.
Make decisions and stick to them
In the early days, we find ourselves backtracking if an idea has received negative sentiment. Being able to make decisions quickly and effectively without persuasion is a skill that is much needed in business.
Being able to make decisions quickly and effectively without persuasion is a skill that is much needed in business.
There are some easy to use on-line survey tools that can help you test and gain feedback. Work with your customers as well as non-customers and ask them to provide information that will help you understand their needs. It only needs to be a quick poll that could provide you with some opinions that will help with your overall decisions.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
When something doesn’t quite go as expected, we often bury our heads in the sand. But remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, in fact, it is quite normal.
Having spent many years in franchising I have worked with hundreds of independent business owners. One of the most common themes across successful business owners is they have consistent contact with other franchise owners as well the franchisor. They ask plenty of questions, looking for ways to improve their business. Those who try and ‘go it alone’ can often take longer to find their feet.
Those who try and ‘go it alone’ can often take longer to find their feet.
As Voltaire once said “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire
Stick with it
There comes a point in the early days of business where everything becomes a little overwhelming and potential stakeholders can sway your decisions. Setting achievable goals in bite size chunks and making sure the basic plan is revisited will keep everything running along smoothly.
Once again this is where your patience and perseverance comes into play. As each goal is reached, reflect back and identify how you were able to reach the goal and repeat, repeat and repeat again.
There are so many stories of very successful businesses that started out with a great idea where early on the difference between success and failure was the determination to stick with it, being patient and persevering. Just keep your eye on the prize.
Marketing is easier than ever before
Gone are the days where you have to spend more money than you make on marketing. Now, all you need is a creative idea, a business card, a good website and a variety of accessible social media channels. Getting the word out there isn’t simple but there are more cost effective options available. Networking will be critical in the early stages, so get your business card into as many hands as possible.
It is easy to think that you need to implement as much marketing as possible across as many marketing channels as you can. Be wise with your time and effort. Make sure you choose a couple of channels that are the best for your business. Stay focused on these channels, work at them to the best of your ability and if it isn’t your forte, get professional advice.
Be wise with your time and effort. Make sure you choose a couple of channels that are the best for your business.
There are so many marketing options today, you won’t have time to do it all, however making sure you can be found online will be a major factor to the growth of your business.
What start-up fears did you have and how did you manage to overcome them? Share your story in our comments below!
Raeleen Hooper is the general manager of the leading Australian print, design and website company Snap. With broad experience in all aspects of sales and marketing Raeleen knows what it takes to get a business off the ground and achieve results.
Photo credit: Bernard Goldbach