Grow Your Own Business

“Find out what is wanted and needed, and then produce it.”
— Dale Carnegie

It’s not necessary to have a MBA to be successful in business.

Along with owning your own home, it’s an American dream to start and own a successful business. The one that started as a dream, a passion, and hobby; that bucket list item. Good. There’s no time like right now to start.

We all know that over the past five or six years, untold numbers of companies have closed their doors. Yet, in the middle of this financial kerfuffle, there are many who are thriving. Some predict there’ll be more millionaires coming out of this economic downturn than ever before in history. Where will you be?

Getting Started

Understand that the largest majority of people are simply not cut out for the mental discipline, toughness and tenacity to make it through a business’ critical first three years. Statistics show that if you can make it through that time period, you’ve a 50/50 chance at surviving.
Let’s start at the beginning. Just because you have a great dream, passion, hobby or something else you want to share doesn’t mean it’ll find traction with the general public. Look around you at niche businesses that failed (cute as they may have been),because there simply was no demand for the products or services. Or perhaps, especially in the cases of many restaurants or other brick ’n’ mortar businesses, there was poor access and egress.

Dale Carnegie said it best, “Find out what is wanted and needed, and then produce it.” Look at the success story of Post-It Notes; there’s a classic example of a simple solution to a simple problem.

Do your research. You don’t have to hire a Madison Avenue corporation to do your research; a great deal of information is available online, waiting for you to discover it. Also available are many great resources and people to contact.

Remember the Cheshire Cat!

Remember the conversation between the Cheshire cat and Alice in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”? One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response.“I don’t know,” Alice answered. The cat replied, “Then it really doesn’t matter.”

Do you have a business plan? Throughout my career of working with individuals and even some established companies, it always amazed me how many would come to me to start up a new business, yet didn’t have a business plan nor a cash flow analysis.

It’snot necessary to have a MBA to be successful in business. There are too many MBAs who still struggle at making coffee. What you do need is common sense and an inquisitive nature. Challenge every single thing you see. You want to know the who, what, where, when, why, how and what ifs.

Among the knows: Google is your friend. Begin typing in simple phrases such as free business plan, cash flow, etc. There are hundreds of programs out there that cost absolutely nothing. The majority of programsare in Excel and allow you to modify the template as needed for your business model, as well as the important ability to play “What If?”. The only difference between the spreadsheet-for-free program and the $200 program is, well . . . $200. Free is a great price. Keep in mind you’re counting pennies now.

Fear – The Crippler

There’s no human emotion more crippling than fear. Fear will cause you to not take action. It will cause you to take action that’s hasty and not well thought out. Fear will cause dissention in your workplace and marked loss of productivity. And if you work with customers, fear will kill your ability to provide consistent, high level customer service.
When we are fearful it impacts us psychologically and physiologically. Some people actually become physically ill from fear- and stress-relatedmindsets, experiencing maladies such as frequent migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, weight loss, susceptibility to more colds and other communicable diseases, etc.

When you work for yourself, you quickly realize that if you don’t produce, you don’t eat. Your business doesn’t grow and the fear of failure will consume most of your waking and even nocturnal thoughts (nightmares, disrupted sleep patterns, etc.) Once it does, unless you can change that “stinking thinking” immediately, you’re done.

Talk to any successful entrepreneur and they’ll fill your head with stories of how they had to stare fear in the eyes and the steps they took to getting your mind to work for you, not against you.

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