Dreams And Business Don’t Mix
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen! Craig here, from Real Business Consulting.com. I hope you’re doing well and keeping out of trouble?
Today I want to hit on a topic which leads many people down the river and over a cliff – and to make it worse, it’s entirely self-inflicted. What is this terrible mistake that I keep seeing repeatedly?
It’s called ‘Following a dream to start a business’.
Whilst expanding on an activity you already love can be a good source of strength to make it turn into a reality, following a dream blindly, will lead to nothing but a nightmare. Every day, I speak to people from all walks of life who are looking to start a business and escape the drudgery of a nine to five job, and that’s great. But I continue to see the same mistakes play out in meeting after meeting, so here’s some common re-occurrences from them:
Mistake 1: Jumping into a New Industry With No Experience or Qualifications
Complete career changes are no longer as uncommon or impossible as they once were. There was a time when you would train in a job at 14 and do that same job until you retired. But, times have changed and deciding to become a chef after 30 years in the building trade is not a shocking decision anymore.
A builder who decides to open a café after his friends and family fill him with confidence about how great his food is, needs to take a step back. Starting a business requires a lot more research and preparation than simply making food that loved ones enjoy eating, and without the proper thought, this restaurant is likely to fail for three reasons;
- The owner has no experience or knowledge in running a successful business.
- Food-based businesses involve more work than just cooking (think about cleaning, ordering supplies, serving the food, taking orders, handling the finances, adhering to food safety regulations, getting certificates, etc.)
- Reviews and recommendations from loved ones are not the same as selling your products the market at large.
The Solution: One of the best things about starting a business is you are not trapped by the limitations of your previous career, or by what a company thinks you are ‘worth’ on a financial level. If you are truly fed up with your chosen career and don’t want to go down the same path when you start your business, then you’re going to need to work overtime on upskilling yourself to a level which makes you fit to start, grow and operate it.
When venturing outside your normal comfort zone, and you want to start a business were your experience is limited, don’t rely on family and friends as a benchmark to test your product or services, they are predisposed to make you feel good, and may not even be telling the truth. You should ask an unbiased 3rd party to give you some feedback on your business and make sure you get a good sampling across a full range of people, for reliable results.
Mistake 2: All Play and No Work
When you open a business doing something you are passionate about, it can be easy to forget that businesses require a lot of admin, paperwork and things which are generally not found on your list of fun activities. Like everything in life, we normally choose to do whatever’s easiest, or most pleasurable first and in business that’s a great way to fail immediately. Let’s return to our builder-turned-chef, he might get caught up in cooking food he loves preparing, but if he doesn’t market his business, find out what food sells well, or do any admin, there will be no customers to eat the food he makes and he will straight-up lose money.
Many people fall in love with the ‘idea’ of owning a business, I’ve seen them head straight out, lease a new truck, get a new iPhone, lease an expensive office and hire a receptionist before they have even got one sale under their belt – its complete madness, and it’s the perfect example of a ‘dream’ not being based in reality, and its destined for failure.
The Solution: Get the unpleasant or boring tasks out of the way and make sure that everything is in place to start earning money, before starting on the fun and exciting tasks ahead of you. The wait will be worth it, and you will be more motivated to work toward starting the good activities.
Mistake 1: Rose-Tinted Glasses
It’s my job to make your start-up successful, but, as a business consultant, it is also my job to drop a heavy dose of reality from time to time to save you from digging yourself into a bottomless pit. Unfortunately, almost all entrepreneurs -especially those fresh from a 9-5 routine – can suffer from a blind belief in a start-up idea, with no significant back-up plan or strategy to really make it work.
Yes, turning your existing passion or hobby into a full-time business can be the most rewarding thing in the world, but it will take hard work, lots of research and a few relapses before you see true success. Getting carried away and becoming over-confident in an idea prevents you from seeing the real possibilities and planning to avoid negative circumstances adequately.
Without accounting for things that can go wrong, you will be unprepared and a slight speedbump could cause total failure for a business which would be perfectly viable, if it was thought out and planned correctly.
The Solution: Take the time to research your business venture, save some starting capital and really make sure that you understand the possibilities ahead of you. It is perfectly fine to dream about a future where you lay on a beach all day, occasionally replying to an email or two, and making tonnes of money. But that is not going to be an immediate reality. That lifestyle only comes after some really hard graft.
Alternatively, book an appointment with one of us at Real Business Consulting, for the advice-equivalent of cold water to the face, and some real advice to get you on your way to a successful business – rooted in the real world.
Until Next Time