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How to build your first business- advice from the front lines

How to build your first business- advice from the front line

There are quite a few pitfalls to be aware of before you start splashing around yuor nest egg on your business idea, however terrific and original it may be. First of all it might be a good idea to start with small baby steps. Just try putting one foot in front of the other and remember that a good defense is most often the best offense. Do you really need to quit your job right away, or can you build your business in the evenings and during weekends in the beginning? Do you really need the fancy business cards or the posh office funrniture? Having build a number of successful businesses myself, and having spent years of my life mentoring younger entrepreneurs there are some prudent advice I would like to give you.

My advice is based on years and years of experience and hard work. I paid dearly to get this experience, and while there may be exceptions to the rules you should at least consider my advice if you are thinking about opening your first business. So here it goes, without further delay, a list of things that might help your first business take off smoothly (and with less anxiety).

1. Don´t quit your day job immediately. There is simply no point in quitting your day job the moment you get a new business idea. Growing a business is a long and tiresome process. It is a marathon, not a sprinting contest. You should expect a lot of time to pass by before you can take out a salary, let alone take home some profits from your business startup. Use the cash flow and sense of security that your day job provides you with, and work your business startup in your spare time. Put aside some extra cash for rainier days, and accept the additional work-load of having a regular day-time job. It is only temporary, and it serves a greater purpose.

2. Test your business idea quickly and effectively. You should try to test your business idea as soon as possible. There has never been a better time in history to take a product to market and test its merits quickly and in an affordable manner. The internet is a great channel for giving your idea a test drive. Go do some face-to-face selling. Phone and e-mail prospective clients. Talk to potential customers and get their input. It is important to talk to real customers, and not family and friends. Get the truth, adapt to it, and only then go build on your product (or service) and brand.

3. Keep costs to a minimum. You don´t really need anything in order to start a new business. It takes a computer, a phone, some spare cash and a lot of determination and hard work. All the fluff, is uneccessary, and you should avoid it like the plague- at least in the beginning. You don´t need a fancy office. You do need to keep your overhead low and your work ethic high. In the long run a profitable and healthy business is more about attitude than props.

4. Stay committed. Persevearence is the number one personality trait to posses if you wish to succeed in business. I have seen many smart individuals fail over the years. I have seen quite a few committed entrepreneurs fail over the years but in general, this group bounces back sooner or later. They learn from their mistakes and they never stop pressing forward, and pursuing their dreams. They will not let a bump in the road interfere with their longer-term visions and goals.

5. Adapt to reality. As Darwin once stated, those who prosper are not the biggest, brightest or best. Those who prosper are good at recognizing and adapting to change. While it is highly desirable to be stubborn as an entrepreneur in pursuing your passions and dreams, do not let yourself become unaware of the world around you. You need to be able to separate a temporary bump in the road from a structural defficiency in your business idea. If something isn´t working it is important to ask yourself why, and come up with an honest answer. Adapt to the truth, and once you do go back to being your old stubborn self and pursuing your dream once again.

While my advice might not work for everybody, I truly believe they will be helpful to most who are thinking about starting their own business. Start small, keep your costs to a minimum, find a (successful) mentor, put your game face on and start chasing your dreams. There is no better thing than to be in control of you own business and taking command of your own destiny. Just make sure to have the defense covered before starting to think about the offense…

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