Getting started – 8 steps to finding your WHAT
Recently I attended a Business show in Johannesburg, South Africa with many other entrepreneurs and found a number of exhibitors offering useful advice for small business owners or those considering entering the world of self-employment. I am sure for many the one question they had is “Where do I start?”
Not so long ago I started my own business but, at first, I had no idea WHAT kind of business I should go into. Who would pay me? Why would they listen to me? What was I giving up?
I would like to share with you the steps I followed and hope that this may help you get started:
Step 1: Know yourself – book a few sessions with a Life coach or Career strategist to discover your “Why” and “How”. What are your strengths? What motivates you? What do you value? What does your community think about you? What environment do you like to work in? Do you like working with people, numbers, ideas?
Step 2: Connect yourself – establish a strong profile on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. A professional photo is critical, detailed work history, accomplishments and certifications important but to really attract people build a strong profile and be active and consistent. See mine for some ideas.
Step 3: Project yourself – reach out to old friends, work colleagues and others in their own business, meet in person, have coffee or tea (my preference :-p), ask them about their stories and discuss ideas for your WHAT.
Step 4: Buy a notebook and start writing down all your ideas, thoughts, feelings or create a collage of photographs from magazines reflecting the ideas, feelings, vision for yourself.
Step 5: Identify and name your fears out loud – I thought I was fearless but turns out I was wrong. I was afraid to give up the security of a paid, senior level job. I was afraid of what my family and friends would think. I worried that nobody would want to buy my services and that I wouldn’t be any good. Once I named these fears they became less intimidating and I could move forward to my WHAT
Step 6: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN – Start writing a Business plan and answer the following questions –
- What services/products am I selling? Design them
- Who will want them? Target them
- Why do they need me? Help them
- How do I want my customers to feel? Value it
- How will I know when I have achieved success? Measure it.
- What will success look like? Visualise it.
Step 7: PLAN some more – Write down the numbers and assumptions. You can’t skip this step. It’s your Financial Plan. It will be the difference between success and failure, believe me.