Sources of Inspiration for Starting a Business
Maybe you’ve been talking about your great business idea for a long time now. You know you can do it — so what’s stopping you? Or maybe you started taking steps toward making your idea a reality, but something came up and you just haven’t gotten around to committing yourself. The following suggestions can help you get some traction on your idea for starting a business. They can also serve to inspire you and spur you on in your business endeavors.
- Join a community business organization. Almost every community has an organization where you can meet and talk with other business owners. If you get involved, you’ll have no trouble finding people who offer encouragement to take the next step in starting your business. You’ll also find people who can help you take that step.
One highly respected community organization is Rotary International, a humanitarian group of businesspeople who dedicate themselves to improving their communities and providing scholarships and other benefits. The advantage of Rotary is that wherever you travel in the world, you are likely to find a local chapter. To become a member of Rotary, you need to be nominated by a current member.
If you don’t know anyone who is a member, start by joining your local Chamber of Commerce and the various trade organizations for your industry. Chances are you’ll find a Rotarian in one of these organizations as well. Rotary membership is a great way to start feeling comfortable about wanting to become a business owner.
- Tell a friend. If you announce to a friend that you intend to start a business, that friend will ask how it’s going every time you meet. The need to report progress should be enough to motivate you to make at least some headway. Nothing is better than to have a friend keep nagging you about your great idea — that’s what friends are for!
- Leave your job. Leaving your job is a pretty radical step, but some folks can never quite get up the courage to start the businesses they’ve been dreaming about without having a cataclysmic event push them into doing it. Leaving a good job is a major decision that must not be taken lightly, and it needs to be considered only after you’ve done your homework on the business concept you want to execute. You can do all the feasibility work for your new business while you’re still at your job and not leave until you’re ready to devote full attention to the new business.
- Spend time with someone who has already started a business. What better way to get inspired to start a business than to spend time with someone who has done just that? Spend a day with an entrepreneur or business owner you admire — perhaps someone in your favorite industry. Shadow that person, observing what he or she does on a day-to-day basis. Entrepreneurs love to talk with fellow entrepreneurs, especially budding entrepreneurs. Your chosen person can give you personal advice based on his or her experience on how to get started, what pitfalls to look out for, and how to balance your personal and business lives.
- Find a mentor. When you’re starting a business for the first time, it’s wonderful to have someone you can turn to when you need advice, when you’re frustrated or discouraged, or when you want to share a small win. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, but the best mentors are ones who believe in you and can be honest with you, who introduce you to important people you need to meet, and who pick you up when you fall down. A mentor may be someone who has had a successful business in the industry in which you’re interested or someone whom you admire regardless of whether he or she happens to have experience in the same area as you. That’s why it’s so important to network, get out there and meet new people, because you never know when you’ll meet your mentor, the person who ultimately starts you on your way.
- Do something — anything. Leap into your opportunity with both feet and start doing something that makes your business happen. File for your DBA (“doing business as”) or your incorporation papers with a business name. Set up your home office to accommodate the new business until it’s ready to move to a more formal site (or like many entrepreneurs today, keep your business at home and operate it virtually over the Internet). Get your domain address for the web. Have some business cards made up. It doesn’t take much to start building a critical mass of activities so that, before you know it, you feel like you’re honestly in business.