If you're a self-starter with a keen eye for what makes a business tick, you already have the frame of mind required to either go into business for yourself or add your voice to a small business team. Taking that first step into the world of entrepreneurship and small business can be exhilarating, but you should look before you leap! The small business and self-employment experiences are entirely different ventures compared to working for a large corporation or business - feelings of trepidation are natural and expected.
I do not to say you should consider taking that first step for years until you manage to talk yourself out of it, but rather look at the numbers and engage in self-examination. Review your experiences and skills. Assess the amount of time, energy, and money you would need to invest to create a successful business. Contemplate, conversely, the possible pay cuts you may face if you join a small business as opposed to a larger one.
One does not simply wake up one morning and say 'Hey -I think I'll start a business today!' Moving from the Academic World into the Business World, I personally discovered one lesson permeating through both spheres - 'Embrace trepidation, then let it go'. Trepidation is the hesitation or anxiety that comes from taking a fearful step forward. Unfortunately the word itself developed a negative connotation, and sometimes we forget that trepidation can be a good thing. Trepidation is the caution and hesitation before you make a big decision. It is the pause compelling you to ponder look your options before taking that first step. Without trepidation you could blindly walk in to a bad situation, unprepared to handle it.
Embrace trepidation. Hold onto it for dear life. But then you have to let it go. Trepidation shouldn't be a debilitating fear that keeps you from your goals, trepidation is the forethought that allows you to research the landscape before you explore those goals. Trepidation is the afternoon watching the stocks to check on how a product similar to yours sells, or spending hours on an online retail shop to study your competition, and working out business costs. And sometimes trepidation can lead to a full stop - but trepidation will always allow for a better frame of mind to take the risk of starting self employment or working at a small business.
And that is the 'embrace', but then you have to 'let it go'. If you've been trepid, researched all your figures and believe your product or service can sell - you need the confidence in yourself to take that risk. It won't be easy, it won't be stress-free, and it probably will take its toll. Maybe you need to keep your day job and spend long hours at night self starting this business. Maybe you take a pay cut. Maybe you spend your nights banging your head against the table trying to work out a budget. But take courage from the fact that all over this country other people are taking the same risk - with the same trepidation as you. Recent numbers indicate one in ten Americans is self employed! And I have found as I witness the day-to-day functions of a small business, that the more prepared you are, the easier time you'll have. And this preparation is linked back to embracing trepidation - to learning to slow down and look at the calculations before you take that calculated risk.
Be willing to work with a customer to give them what they want - different colors, imprints, or logos on your products.
Anticipate any problems or mistakes and make plans B, C, D...and even Z - product out of stock, wrong order, busy schedule, etc.
Know what your limitations are - don't oversell your product or your time. As my Dad said, 'don't dig yourself too deep a hole that you can't get out of'.
And know when to say 'YES'! If your instinct, and your trepidation, have led you to an idea for a business that is viable then say yes to it! Trepidation should be the preparation to follow your instinct - the look before you leap. And even if trepidation leads you to the realization that your idea isn't sound, it gives you the confidence to make the best decision for you. So embrace trepidation, then let it go, and stay tuned to BizBuilder for more articles about what to do after you've taken that first step!