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20 Entrepreneurs Explain The 1st Thing You Need When Starting a Business

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It is easy to look back and say “I wish I could do that differently.” Entrepreneurs and business owners look back at the start of their business and know the reasons that they were able to start a successful business. It may have been a business plan, financing or a pep talk from a mentor.  Rescue a CEO asked entrepreneurs and business owners what they felt was the first thing to do when aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners are starting a business.

Related Product: Lil’ Bessie Starts a Business (eBook)

1) Pot of Money

It is hard to pinpoint the first thing you need to start a business; such things as a unique product/service, a good business plan, complete dedication are all things that come to mind. However, every starting business will need a pot of money. How much money is needs to be determined by good planning to cover such things as research and development, travel and communication costs, office and admin costs, fees for professional help, and then there are the personal living costs if you have given up a job to pursue your new venture. Once you have an idea how much money you would need my advice would be to then add a 25% contingency for the unforeseeables!

Thanks to Victoria Ballard, The Victoria Chart Company LLC!

2) Checklists

Anyone who’s about to start a business needs to learn the art of the checklist. Especially at the early stages of a company you’re going to feel scatterbrained with a million things you need to do and want to do. The most important thing you can do is create a checklist and rank entries based on order of importance, and then stick to it. Without it you’ll find your day flying by without much of a sense of accomplishment. With a checklist you can make sure you stay focused and on track and when the day comes to an end you can look back and see everything that was done. I’m a stickler for Sunday night checklists, it’s a ritual that lets me plan out my week and make sure we get the most important things done and not let them slip through the cracks. Learn how to use checklists early on and you’ll make your life as a business owner much easier.

Thanks to David Batchelor, DialMyCalls.com!

3) Lose Your Job

You need the focus and drive to put everything you have into your new business. I’ve seen too many good business ideas fail because the founders didn’t give the business the time and attention it needed to get off the ground. Also, the scarcity of personal income creates a unique focus on the success of your business and drives you to do exactly what it takes to be successful.”

Thanks to Chris Johnson, LaneTerralever!

4) Strong Foundation

While the legal and financial aspects of starting a business are extremely important for success, as a business owner it was important for me to also determine what I was getting into this business for. I asked myself, What services were going to be truly valuable to my ideal customers? It can be overwhelming starting a business and oftentimes the needs for revenue gets in the way of what you should actually be delivering on. Creating that foundation of core services ensures your company establishes trust and value.

Thanks to Victor Mandalawi, Choice Home Warranty!

5) Business Plan

The first thing you need when starting a business is a business plan. An entrepreneur needs to set out their goals, operations, finances and projections in order to start a business in an organized manner. A business owner needs proper business sense.

Thanks to Nabeel Mushtaq, AskforTask.com!

6) Website

It’s 2015, and almost everyone uses the Internet now. If someone Googles your company, and doesn’t find anything, what does that say about you? It literally costs about $25 to get a domain name and hosting. A lot cheaper than setting up a physical location for your business, huh!?

Thanks to Steve, Ho Stevie!

7) Grit

The first thing you need when starting a business is grit. Forget about investors, an app, a prototype, employees – those will all come with time. If you as a new business owner do not possess grit, you may seriously want to reconsider your new venture. Because no matter how good your idea may be, or how fast your particular industry is growing, no one can ever be prepared for how much starting a business will tax you mentally and emotionally. Of course like many of life’s great challenges, entrepreneurship can yield incredible rewards. But without the grit and determination to fight through those initial weeks, months, or even years of arduous days and sleepless nights, you’ll never be able to give your new business what it truly needs to get off the ground.

Thanks to Kelly Bertog, Switches+Strings!

8) Preparation for Change

When starting a business, the first thing you need to do is prepare yourself for change. There will be ups and downs, good days and bad days, and there will be times when you don’t get a full night of sleep. As a matter of fact, there will be lots of days when you don’t get a full night of sleep. If you have been ever been fired from a job unexpectedly, you can compare this to the ups and down. Have you ever went to work while you were sick and I mean really sick? Compare this to the good and bad days. If you have kids, do you remember when they were newborns and you were up every few hours? Compare this to not getting a full night of sleep.

Thanks to Shawn Fludd, Bear & Boo Children’s Boutique!

9) Cofounder

The first and most important thing you need to do when starting a business is to find a cofounder, doing it alone is far too difficult. A cofounder not only can split the workload in half, but also can contribute a different skill set, resources, emotional support, and act as a sounding board for ideas. They can talk through the pros and cons of tough decisions and help inform the direction of the company.

Thanks to Emily Elliott, TheSquareFoot!

10) Focus

This is a trick question, because you need to accomplish many things to successfully launch a business. But there is a common theme that can be boiled down to a single word: focus. You need unrelenting, die hard focus in order to launch your business. Focus will force you to think your idea through and refine your offering. Focus will help you battle the endless distractions that attempt to throw you off course like rapids in the river. Focus is the mindset that helps you prioritize whats important and ditch or delay things that don’t bring your business closer to launch. So before you build your website, before you get your LLC, before you do a single thing – prepare yourself to be focused. And then go out and do.

Thanks to Stephen Murphy, Red Bamboo Marketing!

11) Marketing Budget

First time business owners can save themselves major headaches if they understand the need for a marketing budget. In the beginning, it doesn’t even have to be a big one. Entrepreneurs need to know that branding and being able to tell your story in a way that connects with your audience is no small undertaking and will take time, effort and cash. You want to connect with a consultant or agency who can help connect your business and your audience and even begin the framework for good PR campaigns. What’s the use of having a great product or service and no one knows about it? That’s where good marketing and PR can help and should be top of mind rather than an afterthought.

Thanks to Lisa N. Alexander, The Marketing Stylist™!

12) Sound Mission

Before anything, make sure you have a sound mission in place that your company strives to accomplish and hold true to. Once you decide what your company’s mission is all about, it is essential to implement business strategies and make business decisions that are directly in line with and advocate your company’s mission. Not only will this help your business stay focused, but it will also help you maintain your credibility with your customer base. For Ant’s Organic, it’s all about keeping our marijuana as close to nature as possible, so we focus most of our energy on implementing business strategies that produce cannabis that is as healthy as can be for the consumer. Natural health guides all of our company decisions.

Thanks to Anthony Franciosi, founder of Ant’s Organic Marijuana!

13) Commitment

The ability to commit – and stick with it”. When asked this question, most people will likely begin thinking of the material and legal logistics involved with starting a business (e.g. get incorporated, create a social media presence, build a website, etc.). But in my opinion, I believe the very first thing you need is found within yourself. Are you willing to commit to this idea? Are you prepared to see it all the way through and put in the long hours that will be necessary? Are you ready for the very strong possibility that your idea will not be an overnight success? Have you thought about the effects your new venture may have on things like your stress, your finances, your family, and your relationships? Bottom line – are you willing, ready, and able to do and learn anything it takes to make your business a success? When you can answer that question with a definitive YES and no hesitation, then I believe you are official ready to start your new business.

Thanks to Joe Fiduccia, America’s Footprints, LLC!

14) Figure Somethings Out

Figure out what you love and how can you make a business out of it. What gets you excited, what are you interested in, and how can that help other people, businesses, industries? Write this stuff down in a spiral notebook and keep notes, ideas, contact names and numbers. Figure out what products or services you can realistically provide with the resources that are immediately available to you. Also figure out your target market – who is your ideal client and what is it about them that makes you want to interact with them. Then get yourself educated on every aspect of your chosen field. Read, study, attend conferences, network, communicate, and learn. Believe in yourself and ask for help where and when you need it, and then delegate. Learn from others who have gone before, and learn from your experience.

Thanks to Marian Rothschild, Author of Look Good Now and Always!

15) Patience & Persistence

I’m the one who invented this stuff and I can tell you it’s not easy. My best advice for any budding entrepreneur is patience and persistence. This actually even comes before cash.

Thank you to Jeff Dahl, LoopRope!

16) Make Sure It’s Worth It

Make sure the game is worth winning. 1) Make sure there is a big enough market. It’s better to be a small fish in a massive ocean (with tons of competitors and room for growth) than being mayor of a fishbowl (with few competitors and little room for growth). 2) Make sure that your market is interested in what you have to offer. Beta test your offer by setting up a landing page or something similar and see if the fish like the bait. It’s better to find this out before you invest tons of money into a potentially losing endeavor. And if the fish love the bait, it will give you massive confidence moving forward.

Thanks to Matt Hallisy, The Negotiator’s Playbook!

17) Customer Validation

I’ve found that when starting a business, the number one thing is validating your product or service with consumers. Your friends, family, and investors will support and encourage you – so don’t rely on them to gauge the popularity of your offering. Find out from unbiased data whether or not your market offering solves a real problem. You can do this by talking to people, by doing keyword research, by checking reviews on Amazon, or a number of other ways.

Thanks to Name: Jennifer Roberts!

18) Customers that Pay

The first thing you need is customers. To be more precise, paying customers. This is also known as cash flow. Granted it may not be positive cash flow out of the gate (like many internet and social media companies) but cash flow none the less. This will also tell you if your potential customers are willing to pay you for your product or services.

Thanks to Tom Scanlon, Raymond James!

19) Patience

One thing I think is a must have to start a business is patience. I came from the medical world, where we make potentially life or death decisions all day and then quickly move on to the next patient or decision. We sometimes see immediate results from our actions or at least get feedback within days. In the arena of the startup things can move at a much different pace. Yes there are crises that require immediate action (i.e. a server crashing or a customer service glitch) but by enlarge the process of making decisions and moving forward is slow and perhaps less deliberate (more like two steps forward, one step back). We have learned that nothing is simple to do with technology (even though everyone says it will be) and solving any problem usually takes twice as long and twice as much money as it should. That being said, the rewards are phenomenal when things go right. There is little too match the feeling of creating a product and an entire business from start to finish and actually seeing people enjoy and promote your business. Only patience and stickwithitness can get you to that point.

Thanks to Dr. Arielle Levitan, Vous Vitamin LLC!

20) Talk to Potential Customers & Listen

As an entrepreneur and business owner who would love to share this advice with others: The first and best piece of advice I got when starting my business was: go out and talk to potential customers and find out if the product is something they will want and need. Doing this not only helped me develop my product line according to customer needs, but it also got me my first order, and led me to networking groups in the industry. Then I found venues where I could put my product in front of potential customers and get feedback and gauge reactions. Then listen and be honest with yourself. If your first idea doesn’t seem to be striking a cord, move on to something that will.It was actually a negative reaction to my first business idea that led to my current business, which is turning out to be much bigger and more successful than my first business concept ever could have.

Thanks to Kathy Steck, DinerWear Llc!

 

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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