Dreams float in and out of our minds all the time. But there’s always one that sticks. That makes you stop and look at it for a little longer than normal. That stays in the back of your mind amongst the hustle of everyday life, wondering if it will ever make it into the real world.
You know what I’m talking about.
That one business dream you’ve entertained for so long you begin wondering if it can exist outside the realms of your imagination. Maybe it’s that bookstore you and your cousin promised you’d one day open together, or an App idea you just can’t get out of your head, or perhaps it’s simply a cafe name.
Entering into a new business endeavour, while exciting, can also be incredibly daunting. And there are will always be those doubts and hesitations that can prevent you from pursuing the idea for too long. What happens if I fail? What if the business doesn’t succeed? What if my dream becomes tarnished? There are so many factors you need to consider, which can determine whether your dream is realistic or just an ideal. This is probably why many turn away from the prospect of creating a business, in fear of failure, and instead are content with living out the dream in their minds.
But is this truly a good enough reason to not explore it in the first place?
I think not.
So, where exactly should you start? And what are some key stepping stones to kick start turning that business dream into a reality?
Step 1: Define your Dream
Take a moment to define your business dream. What does it look like? What shape does it take? Who is your audience? Why do you want to pursue it?
This can often be the hardest step.
How can you expect the business to develop and progress without a direction to be led in? Take advantage of the opportunity to connect with your business dream and understand it more thoroughly. Find out what makes it unique; what will make it stand apart from the rest of the competition. You want your business to be bright, rather than dulled by others that surround it. Most importantly, hold onto why you want to pursue it, as you take the next step.
Step 2: Develop a Business Plan
Every successful business has a plan, whether it’s established for the next 5 years, or simply a starter on how to get the business up and running. Sketching out a plan is such an important stage within a business’s success, as it helps to give you focus, motivation and drive. When doing so, it’s essential to research your market and understand your audience, consult with others in your field, develop marketing strategies, detail your finances and, of course, set yourself goals.
Keep in mind that businesses often entail a lot of trial and error; you won’t always get things right the first go around, so it’s important to remain flexible as the business plan progresses. As much as a plan may change and develop, starting with a basic outline, no matter how small, is better than going in blind.
Step 3: Understand the Challenges
As much it’s vital to embrace the positives when creating a business, you also need to identify the challenges you may come up against and figure out ways to work around them. Challenges come in all shapes and sizes, and like I said before, there are always going to be elements of your business that don’t work or could be improved upon.
This is also a great time to evaluate your own weaknesses, or areas you are less equipped in, and consider if you are going to need outside help. For instance, writing is such an integral part of a business, but it’s not everyone’s greatest strength, and if not done correctly, can be a huge challenge for a business to overcome. Instead of fumbling in the dark within an unknown talent, why not employ a copywriter to help you out? The same can be said for a number of other services, including digital marketing, web design and brand design.
If you are able to identify some key challenges you know you may face, you will have a clearer concept of the overall picture before you dive in. This way you aren’t caught off guard if challenges do arise.
Step 4: Find the Balance
It’s important to find the balance between your dream and the business itself. As essential as it is to combine the two, you also don’t want to let one overshadow the other. It can be so easy to get caught up in the semantics of a business and lose sight of the true reason you started the project in the first place. At the same time, too much focus on your dream can potentially limit the business in its development and growth. Either way, this can often result in the business’s credibility and reliability declining, if not correctly managed.
Understanding how to find the balance can, in the long term, ensure great employee morale, work environments, customer satisfaction, and not to mention, quality of work. In fact, these steps are a great way to develop a sense of balance within your business before it has even begun:
Defining your Dream, gives you passion and drive, Developing a Business Plan gives you focus, and Understanding the Challenges gives you perspective. Giving all of these an equal footing and importance, can contribute greatly in the creation of your business dream.
There is, of course, so much more that goes into developing a business, but sometimes it’s the fundamentals, and the things you often overlook, that are the best to start with. As Martin Luther King Jr said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”