This is it, you think your big idea can change your life. The prototype is complete, and you are ready to move on to production. There are still administrative issues you must address such as financial statements, marketing strategy, etc., but you are ready to start your own business. Your only obstacle: the stable 9-5 job that has fed your family, housed you, and put your vehicles on the road for years.
You don’t have the luxury of just quitting your job (even though you hate it terribly), whether you are a parent who has to keep your family afloat, or you are a young maverick ready to take the world, who needs money to just stay alive in the big city. Even though the “punch in/punch out” lifestyle doesn’t fit you, the steady income is too valuable to leave for the fledgling idea you came up with in your bedroom.
It’s time for you to get serious about your business, and you can keep your job if you can remember these pieces of wisdom:
1. Determine if this business is what you want
If you are truly determined to make your business work, all of the advice following this will come easy. Often, a person has a great idea but is not willing to put in the necessary work to be successful. Coming home from work is supposed to be relaxation and decompression, but you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t have this luxury.
Stefan James, a prominent Youtuber and internet market, mentions in his own video on this topic about how you easily lose momentum on your personal projects if you are not completely dedicated to the idea and willing to push through it. If you are not willing to push the extra few hours a night for your company, you might need to get out of it before you waste any more of your time.
2. Get a partner you are fully confident in
Startups are some of the hardest endeavors to take on, so you should not make it harder on yourself and do it alone. If you find a co-founder who you are completely confident fits your needs, you have somebody to pick up your slack whenever you fall behind from work.
Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and investor in many successful companies recently stated:
“Most often two or three people is much better. When I look at these things as an investor, and I say ‘What is a good composition of a project and founders that are likely to succeed?’ It’s usually two or three of them.”
Co-founders and business partners can help alleviate your stressful workload and the heavy emotional burden. However, many startups fail because of dissent among confounders, so you must make sure the person is right for your company before you let them in. By making sure that your partner is compatible with your company, you can ensure a strong ally and help prevent a catastrophic meltdown within the organization.
3. Set up achievable goals and realistic benchmarks
Know what direction the company should be heading at point A and project, reasonably, how far along it should develop at point B. Too often do entrepreneurs become bogged down with the stress of uncertainty that they do not even get the wheel rolling. Keep yourself on a flexible, yet direct path for your business because you cannot always predict what glitches you may encounter, but you can make sure that you have a clear direction for your company.
Of course, we cannot plan everything because the business world is a beast of change.
Rob Kornblum, a contributor to Startupbros.com, says,“The reality of the startup world is that business plans are obsolete only moments after you write them. Extensive market research doesn’t really help you come up with a great product that customers will love. Detailed financial plans will be wrong as soon as you change the price point, or the marketing channel, or the features.But it’s not as though planning itself has no value. It does. It’s just that what your product is, what your value proposition is, and how you’re going to market and sell it, is likely going to change significantly after you start building and getting real customer feedback. The boxer Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
4. Make downtime count
When you want to go have a drink with your friends, want to catch a movie for date night, or you want to just lay back and relax, remember what your company NEEDS. Anytime you are not sleeping or working at your job, you need to dedicate as much energy as humanly possible to your business.
That extra hour at the bar, the three hour getaway at the movies, or the extra flip of a channel is time you can be using to expand your network, make that important conference a few miles away or just a simple tweak to your product that can save you money.
5. Wait until you reach critical mass to quit your job
The stable income is a critical fallback plan in case anything were to fall through,and it allows you more time to consider your options and think about the company’s future. Putting everything in one boat 100% is good, but at the right time; you can use your job as a way to step back and observe your business before the next move.
Jeff Haden, a contributing editor at Inc., says, “Having the time to continue thinking things through and seeking the advice of others will greatly benefit your new business.”
He continues: “Even more importantly unless you’re working on a high-growth startup and can secure investor funding (or you’re able to self-fund), you’re realistically going to need some form of sustainable income before your new project is able to be that sole source of sustenance for you.”
The balancing act of a full-time job and operating a startup is very stressful, but with a level head and wise decision, you can build your own success story.
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