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Starting your first business can be an incredible experience. No matter how much you read, study up and plan, there’s no way to fully prepare for the realities of owning a company. Fortunately, being a business owner is instructional. You learn while you’re on the job, and you eventually get the experience to guide your business (and all your future businesses) to success.
However, there are ways to prevent your business from failing before it starts. For example, it’s crucial to make sure you have the necessary funding in place. Without it, your company could collapse before you take your product or service to the market.
There are other factors to keep in mind, too. I’ve created my own businesses and talked with others who have done the same. In my experience, one major issue keeps cropping up for many would-be entrepreneurs: Their businesses just aren’t good enough.
It’s tough to admit your business might be bound for failure, and thinking on this possibility is daunting because any idea can stick. But some businesses will never succeed for the simple reason that they’re mediocre.
Related: If You’re Going to Fail, Fail Smart
Mediocre businesses are bound to fail.
Think about a business you trust or a product you’d buy again without hesitation. Next, analyze that business or product and ask yourself, “Is it mediocre?” Of course not. You — a rational consumer — never would spend your time and money on something that doesn’t deliver what you need.
Even when you buy a knock-off product, you’re paying less because you and the manufacturer both understand it isn’t as valuable as the real thing. But you’d never pay for something that wouldn’t do the job. No one would.
The reverse also holds true. If you create a mediocre business, there’s no reason for anyone to spend their time or money on you, either. That’s why you must be prepared to devote your time, money and life energy into making your company a success. If your business is short of great, it likely won’t last very long. You need to set yourself apart from competitors, and consumers won’t favor a mediocre business over a trusted brand.
If you’ve already invested in your company, your up-close vision might make it hard to see — or admit — its mediocrity. There are a few sure ways to tell. First, think about your brand and your product. Then, compare it to your prime competitors. Does your company stand above the rest or barely stack up? Finally, how does your perception of your own business compare with your impressions of unrelated businesses whose brands you know and like? For your company’s sake, be unflinchingly honest with yourself.
Now is the perfect time to start a business.
Statistically speaking, Fownders’ Jordan French writes, this is the greatest time to start a business. There are plenty of factors at play, but the most important ones revolve around low entry costs and increased collaboration among entrepreneurs. The rise of the internet has opened up thousands of potential business options, many of which still haven’t been explored.
Here’s another reason today is your moment: Time is a commodity, and the longer you wait to do something, the less time you’ll have to enjoy it. Every day you hold off on creating your business is a day a competitor can start, build, grow and expand. Every day your business doesn’t exist is a day your company never will get back. The sooner you begin, the sooner your business can grow.
If your business is ready to go to market, do it it as soon as possible. If you have an idea you believe will work and you’re willing to put in the time, effort and energy necessary to make it happen, why haven’t you moved forward? There are no excuses for putting off your future — unless, of course, you’ve already decided your business idea or product is mediocre, at best.
Business ideas abound.
Many people want to be entrepreneurs, and they have the drive to get it done. But not everyone has a million-dollar idea. If you’re in this camp, think first about what interests you most. Maybe it’s the conditions of your current work environment and not the job itself that has you looking ahead to something more.
Imagine you’re a CPA who believes you could run an accounting firm better, smarter or more efficiently than your agency’s partners. You’re in luck: Accounting is highly profitable because people always will need your services. Offer something that established businesses can’t, and you’ll have a success on your hands.
You’ll find the same pattern at work in nearly any field. Consider the current emphasis on physical health. Personal trainers, yoga instructors and a host of active-living experts are finding opportunities to fill specialized niches with their own businesses.
If you’re looking to join the entrepreneurial field but don’t know how to begin, start with this list of business ideas. The best part? Each has low startup costs, so you won’t need to deplete your life’s savings to start living the professional life you’ve imagined.