Since setting up on my own I've learned a lot of things about business and even more things about the mind set behind running a business. I won't bore you with stuff like tax, accounting and insurance, but I thought I'd share a few things I've picked up about getting your head in the right place. This has all come from my own experiences as well as advice from eFactor and people I've met at networking groups.
Just Do It!
The first thing I learned a long time ago is to go for it. If you have an idea the only thing stopping it working is you! OK, some ideas are daft, but do a bit of research to see if it's viable and do it. There's a massive temptation to make sure everything is perfect before you launch a new business or idea. If you wait until every last detail is ironed out you will never do anything!
No-one likes failure, but how do you know if something will work or not unless you give it a go? The most important thing here is not to avoid trying something for fear of failure. It's very tempting not to give it 100% so you can say later that you didn't really put in the effort which is why it didn't work... It's a horrible feeling to think you gave it your all and it still didn't work, but suck it up, and get on with it!
Have a Plan
Having said that, it's important to have a plan! Do the research and work out what you're going to do before just flying at it hell for leather (whatever that means...).
Don't Make Excuses
If it goes wrong there is always a reason. But it's surprising how many times it's down to you. Whether it's lack of effort, lack of commitment or bad planning you can often track a failure back to your own actions. Put in the effort, give 100% commitment and do the groundwork and you can avoid or at least mitigate 99% of any problems that come your way.
Get Back Up Again
Just like Chumbawumba said...! You will experience problems and you will get knocked down, but don't let it become an issue. If it all goes tits up, dust yourself off and put it right. More importantly, know why it went wrong and learn from it. Everyone makes mistakes, but there's no excuse for making the same mistake over and over.
Listen to what everyone tells you. But be warned, EVERYONE you speak to will have a 'good idea'. And some of them will be contradictory. Listen to them all but use your own judgement to decide which ones to act on. Agencies like eFactor have a whole host of business experts with a variety of specialisms. Find the one that knows your industry the best. Networking groups like 4Networking have thousands of members who have all been through what you're going through, so speak to as many people as possible.
Don't Wait for it to Come to You
Because it won't! Brilliant, you have a website. Well done, your business cards look lovely and your roller banners are stunning! Has anyone seen them? Market yourself to your target market. Get those leaflets through doors, promote your website, get adverts in papers, join a networking group, get on Twitter and Facebook, attend shows and fairs, pick up the phone, go door to door, whatever. Just get yourself out there! People won't order anything from you if they don't know you exist! It might take a bit of time but stick at it.
And Finally... Smile!!!
Keep positive! If you experience a problem go at with the mindset of "how can I solve this?" rather than "oh no, this is a massive problem..." It's amazing how much easier things are with a positive outlook on life!
I'm no expert but these are a few things I've found useful and I hope you do too. For more stuff like this (only much better) have a look at Get Off Your Arse by Brad Burton. Straight talking advice from someone who's been there!