If you’re thinking about starting a business, especially if this is your first go at starting one, then I’m going to go ahead and guess that you have had a doubt or two (or 20) about it since you’ve started brewing the idea in your head. Trust me, you’re not alone. When I first formulated the idea of starting my own business, I was filled with doubts ALL THE TIME, and there are countless people in the world who feel the exact same way. Let me tell you though, with the right amount of confidence, creativity, and strategy, you can start a business that you will love, and stop getting in your own damn way. Here’s my top advice for going into the business game with your head held high.
STOP Comparing Yourself to Your Competitors
This is one of the biggest roadblocks that could keep you from moving forward with your business idea. When I say don’t compare yourself to your competitors, I don’t mean don’t acknowledge them at all. An important part of creating your business ideas and coming up with strategies should be studying your competitors so you can understand their strengths, as well as the trends that already exist in the industry you’re joining. But comparing your work to theirs is a nasty habit that can strip your confidence. If you constantly compare your work and your ideas to those of your competitors, you may end up keeping yourself in a state of self-doubt, always feeling like you’re never going to measure up to the competition. This is absolutely not true! You are a unique, one-of-a-kind person with original ideas that your competition hasn’t thought of, and you are completely capable of bringing a fresh perspective and innovative ideas to your industry.
Rather than indulging in this self-deprecating habit of self-judgement, you should instead focus your energy on finding ways to stand out from the competition and bringing something new and fresh to the table. For example, if you’re pursuing starting your own tattoo shop, you could consider specializing in a niche that attracts a specific target market, like floral tattoos or animal tattoos. Or if you want to create an event planning business, your focus could be something very specific like planning and designing themed weddings (think Wild West, fairytale, or carnival). The point is, there may be lots of competitors out there that offer the same generic products or services, but if you can find ways to be really unique in your market, then you no longer need to compare your work to that of your competition.
Write Everything Down!
Have you ever been lying in bed working on falling asleep when a great idea suddenly popped into your head? Or maybe this has happened to you elsewhere, like while you’re in the middle of grocery shopping or driving to a doctor’s appointment. Sometimes, the best business ideas can come at the most unexpected times, and you should always be prepared for when this happens. In order to keep track of all your ideas, you’ll need to find a way to take notes on this idea at any given time. I would recommend buying a notebook or journal specifically for the purpose of writing down business ideas. However, if you prefer to not bring it with you everywhere you go, you could put your ideas into a note-taking app on your phone until you have the chance to write them into your journal. You could think of your idea journal as a savings account at a bank: if you continue to put ideas into it, those ideas will build interest (or in other words, you can look back at those ideas and build upon them to create something great for your business). But if you don’t contribute even a small amount here and there, that account will sit empty and you may find yourself struggling for funds (a.k.a. business ideas) when you need them most.
Spontaneous business ideas are always a welcome surprise, but brainstorming ideas is another essential part of the process. The brainstorming process can take a lot of forms, from sketching product ideas to writing lists to researching or even exploring stores to find inspiration. When it comes to brainstorming, no idea is a bad idea, and one of the main reasons to regularly spend time brainstorming is to train yourself to get into the mindset of coming up with lots of ideas. I can’t stress enough the importance of writing every idea down, because even if one idea doesn’t pan out, you might look back on that idea and it might spark an idea for something even better.
Don’t Let the Setbacks Keep You from Moving Forward
When it comes to starting and running a business, there WILL be some setbacks and this is just something that we all have to accept as business owners. Of course we all want everything to go perfectly, but that’s just not the way the world works. I’m not writing this to discourage you, but rather to express that being flexible and being able to find alternate routes is just part of the job description. Maybe the perfect business name that you came up with was taken just days after you chose it, or maybe you’re experiencing financial hardships because you’ve quit your job to work full-time on your business. If something isn’t working in your current situation, there IS an alternative, and you just have to keep pushing forward and remember why you are going into business in the first place. Most great things in life don’t come easily, so always remember to keep focusing on your dreams and why you are chasing them, because giving up on those dreams is much more difficult than working through the setbacks.
Starting a business is a challenging journey, but worth all the hard work when you are doing something you believe in. If you go into business with confidence in yourself and your unique business ideas, that confidence will exude to your potential customers and will show them why they should believe in your business too. Remember, you are a one-of-a-kind person that has a unique perspective unlike anyone else’s, so with enough confidence and hard work, you CAN create a business that you’ll love.