I received a call the other day, as I often do, from an entrepreneur who wanted to know everything there was to know about starting a business. I began by asking the caller:
- • What kind of business are you interested in starting?
- • Do you have a business plan?
- • What kind of financing do you currently have?
- • What are your goals?
The caller surprised me by saying all she had was a DREAM!
I loved her honesty and excitement. And I realized that phone call might be the first step in transforming her dream into reality.
As an entrepreneur, what was your dream?
When you were thinking of starting your business, perhaps you wrote your goals on a napkin, a business card or even the wall. You looked at it every day, thinking how to make that dream a reality.
You may have had starts and stops. There may have been times when you were going in a particular direction, only to discover there were pitfalls and challenges to overcome.
Maybe you wandered from organization to organization, looking for the quick fix, rather than the right fix. But you hung in there knowing that if you could obtain the right resources, meet the right people and have the opportunity to pitch your product, you would be successful.
Having a dream is great; making that dream a reality requires some additional considerations.
Trust your instincts.
If you have an idea that you are passionate about, follow it. Make sure you create a network of positive people that will inspire and encourage you as you move toward the goal. Take the time to nurture those relationships and establish that group of trusted advisors who will listen to you, offer advice, a shoulder or the quiet space to allow your thoughts to come together.
Do something different.
You may find the business you wanted to start may not be the business you end up with. I have met countless entrepreneurs who went into business with a sure idea, marketed it well, make the right connections, were awarded great contracts, only to have to reinvent their business model after the 2008 recession. They closed satellite offices, downsized staff, became lean and mean and emerged as a tighter, more successful business post-recession, doing something that had not been their core line of business.
Learn from your mistakes.
The quick fix isn’t always the right fix. When you are starting a business or growing an existing business, locate those resources that can assist you in your goal. The mission of the Columbus Chamber is to help your business thrive. We are able to do that by connecting you to the right information, resources, connections and our network.
Your entire being may be wrapped up in getting your business off the ground, or if you have an established business, you may spend inordinate amounts of time looking at balance sheets and planning your next strategic move. Remember to celebrate your successes and, yes, even your failures. It is sometimes in your failure that you find the solution to the problem. Celebrate and celebrate often! Find balance between work and family. Enjoy life. Remember to breathe.
Keep the faith.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said it best, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the full staircase.”
To all of you who are thinking of starting a business, growing a business or expanding your business, dare to dream…and keep the faith!
For more information about financing your business, please contact Somers L. Martin, director of business development services for the Columbus Chamber at 614-225-6919.