Typically if you read business books or talk to anybody about starting a business, you would hear advice that is centered on the importance of having a business and sales and marketing plan; the focus is on numbers, figures and logistics that you would need in order to turn your idea into reality. But rarely would you hear the advice about having a Life Plan. That’s right, regardless of the size and the nature of the business you’re planning to launch, if you are an aspiring business owner, you must assess whether you and your life is actually ready to take on this venture. Overlooking this can often prove to be a costly mistake and a lot of unnecessary headache can be avoided by paying attention and planning all aspects well.
So what do I really mean by a Life Plan?
Your Life Plan will contain several things:
1) Your personal goals, ideas, vision and aspirations long term
Business and work is a component of overall life, albeit an important one; therefore it needs to fit in your overall personal plan; it shouldn’t be the other way around. What is your idea of success? What are you looking for in your life ultimately? What kind of life would you like to have? How big do you want your business to be? Will your personal life be able to handle the new entrepreneurial lifestyle and all the changes being in business will bring? These are just some of the many questions you need to pay attention to, ideally ahead of time.
2) Is your family on board?
Starting and staying in business is a long term decision and it’s not going to be like a 9-5 job by any means, where you go and come back at a set time and have a set schedule. Business requires long hours, total focus and commitment if you want to succeed. Especially the first few years when you are just getting established, trying to drum up business, building a steady clientele, takes a lot of energy and time. All this means time away from your family; do you think they will be supportive of the same? They need to be on board so you can do this successfully. And by no means should your personal life suffer because of your choice of work; it just wouldn’t be worth it.
3) Are you healthy enough to start and sustain a business?
If you’re wondering what correlation your health has with starting a business, let me explain. Starting and running your own business requires a lot of energy on a daily basis. There are times of stress and frustration due to the pressures of work and so it becomes imperative that you ascertain that you are actually physically fit and can handle entrepreneurship. You are equipped mentally and physically to handle whatever comes.
4) What about your finances?
A lot of people think about getting into a business because they feel this is the way to make money. And it may very well be but you must know as an aspiring entrepreneur, this stage comes after a while. Your credit score is important, good savings support is important as initially for at least a couple of years there won’t be any steady pay, if at all any. If you’re not in a financially strong position to begin with, your ability to stay, build and sustain your efforts won’t work out. And if you have a family to support, it just would make things that more challenging.
These are just some of the important aspects you must look into. It’s one thing to start a business, but another to sustain it. Don’t be in a rush into getting a business or a marketing plan ready, your first step should be to really have a Life Plan that addresses these aspects. Having this in order will help you succeed in the long run.