Mailbag #1: What Do New Entrepreneurs Need to Know?

I often hear similar comments or questions from new or aspiring entrepreneurs. Here are 3 that have come up recently that I think are important to share. 

“I want to get started, but I don’t have time.”

The funny thing about time is that there’s never a “good” time to start anything. Ultimately, you need to decide if starting and running a business is something you really, really want for yourself. If it’s not, then stop and find something else to do. If it is something you want, then buckle up and ask yourself if it’s time or fear that’s holding you back. If it is truly about time, that’s ok. Goals need to be relevant to what you have going on in your life. When my daughter was born, I was doing significantly less for my business, but I was still making incremental progress during naptime. If it’s fear that’s holding you back, that’s something a coach can help with. And, great news: I happen to know a good one.

“How would I even I get customers?”

If you’re thinking about how you’re going to become the next Coca Cola and serve billions of customers at once at scale, you’ll never start. It’s too big to contemplate the actions required to move forward. You also don’t need a billion people to sustain a viable business, you just need to find the right people who are fanatically devoted to your idea because it solves something they need done. Start with just one person. Make that relationship successful by learning from the experience. Then, try to get a second person, and so on. 

“I have an idea, but I’m not sure if it’s a good one.”

No one is. And, if you keep it to yourself, you’ll never find out either. The best way to learn is to ask the people who would be served by your idea. Go get their feedback. You’ll learn quickly if you have a dud, a homerun, or if there’s a spark of something there. A few tips: pictures speak louder than words, especially if your idea doesn’t exist yet. Show people something, preferably drawn quickly with a marker and not something you’ve spent hours perfecting. People tend to give less actionable feedback when they perceive something as near-finished. Better to show a rough work-in-progress. You’ll learn way more. 

Well, that’s the mailbag. Stay tuned for more FAQs. Thanks!

Starting and growing a business is not a straightforward and linear process. It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok. It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself. And, that’s why it’s worth it.

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