People often talk about leaving their comfort zone in order to get something done. I’ve been there, I’ve done that and I can tell you with 100% clarity – it doesn’t work. Moving from one comfort zone to another that is as convenient (if not better), on the other hand, does.
Yes, people need to move forward and innovate in order to stay on the flow in our highly competitive market but if it was as simple as doing something you have zero competence in and “fake it till you make it” then 90% of startups wouldn’t be failing annually.
You can’t expect to toss a person who never swum before into the ocean and expect a miracle. But you can teach that person to swim in the pool first and improve his chances dramatically.
Same can be said about business – know how deep the water is before making the move.
This raises the question – how does one get ready to leave a warm, comfy zone in favor of something entirely new, like a business one has no experience with whatsoever?
Convince yourself that the first step is necessary
Success takes effort. It also takes blood, sweat, tears and all other kinds of unpleasant body fluids. Are you ready to face failure after failure, learn from them and repeat until at least something works?
What’s even scarier – are you ready to be your own boss? There will be no one to tell you what to do or how to do it. There won’t be any room for micromanagement from a superior. There won’t even be a jerk in a suit you can blame everything on. Every choice, hence every outcome will be of your own making.
That mentioned, the first and probably the hardest step for any entrepreneur would be to accept the world of business for what it is. Make sure you have the courage to pull through up until the end.
Be a sponge
Start learning. No, seriously, do it. Do it now and never stop. Enroll a digital course to boost your competence, learn the secrets of other successful people, spy on your competitors and read as many books as you can.
But, most importantly, learn from your own experiences. Everything can be a lesson from how engaged a friend is when you tell him about your idea (an indicator of how passionate and contagious your vision is) and to the feedback your significant other gives about the concept of your business.
Embrace your USP
Having a Unique Selling Point – a good one for that matter – is what sorts the stars from the rubbish.
The best way to get a grasp of what your audience really wants is through analysis of competitors. What are other businesses in your niche doing? How are they positioning themselves? How do they help their customers and, more importantly, what can you bring to the table that no one else has?
This is probably the most time-consuming step on your journey towards understanding how a great business works, but it certainly is worth every minute of it.
Do the math
Now that you know what the clients want and what competitors give, it’s time to get behind a calculator and craft a coherent plan for your sales team.
How much will you be investing in your business? When are you expecting to make a profit? What will it take for you to get there? Will your USP allow for a better pricing policy while still making your business profitable?
Done now? Worry not, that was merely the tip of the iceberg. Now consider the hidden costs of running a business like insurance, taxes, accounting fees, software licenses and whatnot.
Learn from your own mistakes
Planning is great and all, but I highly suggest for you to start running a business after the very minimum basics are covered. Don’t go all in though. Start with launching in test mode without investing in marketing or promotion.
The best way to do so is through word of mouth from your friends, peers or colleagues. Use their feedback to tweak your business here and there but remember that the most reliable feedback won’t come from friends or family as they are too involved but from the people they bring along who are strangers to you.
I know for granted that the lion’s share of simplybook.me users have successfully gone through this journey already and I would love for you to share your own tips and success stories in the comments!