7 Tips to Consider Before Starting Your Own Business
Updated: Mar 26
Have you noticed the explosion of "preneurs" these days? There are solopreneurs, e-preneurs, socialpreneurs, mompreneurs and more. According to government data, applications for new U.S. businesses in 2020 rose at the fastest rate since 2007.
I experience the excitement of entrepreneurship every day as both a business owner and a consultant who specializes in establishing brands for entrepreneurs. Because of my experience, I am often asked, "What do I need to consider before opening my own venture?"
First, perform your due diligence. Determine your business offerings, marketplace position and target customer. But beyond that, before you open your doors, consider these seven fundamentals to position yourself for the triumphs, personal growth and profits of entrepreneurial success.
1) Set a foundation for your business first.
From creating my own marketing agency to developing a new public relations department in a $2 billion retail company, I have experienced first-hand the benefits of establishing a business foundation. The goal is to create processes and systems before launching. It is not the best time to decide where to file what and how to process transactions when clients are calling and there is barely time to think. Entrepreneurs are often anxious to get going but get to the "going" part after your foundation is poised for success.
2) Create a brand identity, not just a logo.
Have you ever met someone who looks the part, but their communications or actions don't support their appearance? That confusion is similar to the weak impression that a brand makes when it is not aligned. Multiple layers of visual and verbal communications merge to create a memorable brand impression. Strengthen your business by consistently reinforcing its brand purpose and values in all public verbal and visual communications.
3) Fuel your business with passion.
Focus on a business concept that connects to your passion, not just your income goals. You want to be on fire to bring your idea to fruition and serve others. Running a business is like raising a child, often draining every inner resource. But, like childrearing, if love, passion, and a sense of purpose are part of your motivation, you can push past the hard times to revel in the joys (and profits) of business ownership.
4) Balance impatience with patience.
As an entrepreneur, you will have to be both patient and impatient. Patient as you create your company, patient as you build a solid infrastructure, and patient as the business evolves and your best-made plans must shift. But be impatient when people or situations conspire to prevent you from moving forward. Knowing when to "sit, walk or run like hell" is an instinct and skill that successful entrepreneurs develop.
5) Be open to different perspectives.
As an entrepreneur, your business's wins and misses will ultimately point to YOU. Lessen the pressure by surrounding yourself with trusted advisors, be they in-house staff or outside experts. Be sure that your team includes people who will critique, present innovative thinking and push back. We feel good when people tell us we are right, but growth often emanates from ideas that illuminate our blind spots.
6) Find advisors who know what you don't know.
It is easy to forget financials, legalities, production, inventory and other aspects of owning a business in the early stages of entrepreneurial excitement. While you need imagination and passion to launch your business, you also need what might seem like the "boring" aspects to keep yourself and your employees legally protected and generating a profit. Set your business up for success by finding specialists to help you in areas that are not your expertise.
7) Know that nothing will test you like running your own business.
I have had moments when I wanted to be airlifted out of tough business situations and dropped on a deserted island. But I've also had moments when I danced the night away after a big win. I never knew the extremes I could endure until I became an entrepreneur. If you are up for this, know that overcoming these hurdles will grow your character muscles in ways that you did not know existed, and you will be a stronger human because of it.
Entrepreneurship is a thrill ride -- every day a challenge, every day a chance to succeed on your terms. Embracing a comprehensive perspective towards entrepreneurship allows you to stay focused on what matters. Nothing quite matches the thrill of building a business from the ground up, and for those who believe that they have what it takes, I say, "Jump in!"
As a corporate executive, consultant and entrepreneur, Carrie Lannon has held senior marketing positions in both startup and multi-billion-dollar Fortune 500 corporations. She is the principal branding and communications consultant for Lannon Consulting, specializing in developing brand identities for entrepreneurs and startups. Carrie contributes a broad perspective, having worked with esteemed brands including Tiffany & Co., Kohler, Equinox Fitness Clubs, Southwest Airlines, ULTA Beauty, Mercedes-Benz and W Hotels.