Launching a small business is OVERWHELMING. There is no getting around it. It is exciting and stressful, and you are mostly fuelled by adrenaline and coffee [oh coffee, sweet coffee] until there comes a point where exhaustion and potentially a crash takes place. There is SO much to do that unless you have a plan in place, you are likely to become distracted or dare we go there, you may even drop the ball!
Adore has compiled 7 tips on how to survive the whirlwind launch phase of your business.
- Passion. Launching your small business is one of the most exciting times! Whether you’re building and shaping your future, or launching your passion project, that passion is what drives and motivates you to keep going when you don’t have the answers or you’re nearly burnt out [because yes, burn out will most likely happen]. You must have passion for what you’re doing. If you are not passionate, get out now!
- Avoid Burnout. You are throwing everything you have at this business, every spare minute, even between the hours of 12am and 3am and unless your launch happens in super-fast, lightning speed time, you can’t keep this pace up. You have other commitments in your life: be it a partner, kids, or you may even still be working as an employee, things you can’t put on hold, areas of your life that still need the same attention as prior to your wonderful business idea. With all this going on, you could definitely burnout, and when you are launching your small business, burnout can have dire effects… like mandatory bed rest which ultimately means delaying your launch. It is so important to take care of yourself, take some time out and actually sleep so you can remain switched on and have fresh ideas when you are working on the business.
- Personal Rewards. Following on from more sleep you need to do something for you, set aside a snippet of time just for you. This is not only important during the launch phase of your business but also during start-up phase and for life in general. If you are a busy mum this is particularly important. You can set rewards for yourself along the way. Not only will small rewards keep you motivated but they will also keep you focussed and give a sense of achievement. For example, once you’ve finished that blog post, get outside and go for a walk [a personal favourite], or, if you complete your first accounting software training session, hoorah, book that pedi appointment. Doing something for you and keeping healthy will keep it all in perspective.
- Goal setting. With so much to do when you’re heading towards a launch, you’ll need to set a plan and goals, especially if you have a launch date in mind. Even if you don’t hit your goal date at least you will have direction and something to aim for. Set yourself tasks and estimate how long it will take for you to carry them out and then you can set a date. It will help you immensely if you plan each day of work to ensure you’re maximising your time. Break up your day into 30-minute slots and allocate tasks, even if a task is 2 hours. You will be able to put aside that time and not forget a 30-minute lunch break to regroup and refresh your golden self.
- Business plans. Time, or lack of, is a major issue when launching a small business. It comes up in nearly every tip listed so far! Business plans can take a considerable amount of time to prepare, however you need to at least get your ideas on paper and follow a direction. Consider using a one page business plan – it saves time but gets your ideas on paper in 20 minutes! It’s something you could even put up on a white board and review it as often as you need to. Try this 20 minute business plan.
- Join communities. When you’re launching a business on your own it can be a very lonely affair. You are deep in it but where is your go-to work buddy to bounce ideas off? This is where groups become important, there are all sorts of groups online, from freelance groups to online digital communities, start-up groups and mum groups. Some of these groups meet regularly or you can keep it online, whatever suits you. Online communities are ideal to keep you motivated, test ideas and stay inspired, seeing fellow entrepreneurs reaching for their goals. If online isn’t your thing [but let’s face it, if you are starting a business you’re most likely going to have to tackle online at some point] you could look at joining a local networking group, some meet bi-weekly and some monthly. There might even be a future business partner there for you to meet. Alternatively, you could approach someone to be your mentor, someone you think could be a good sounding board and give you tips along the way. A mentor is a strong relationship to have, while it should be about work it should also be about a friendship too, so don’t abuse the time that someone is willing to give you for free. Whichever way you proceed, the support of a community, your tribe, will be invaluable as you travel this journey of being a small business owner.
- Don’t listen to everyone. When you announce your business idea there are going to be people who suddenly become experts in your area and give their 10 cents worth. Whether it’s old Aunty Betty or your nosey neighbour, everyone will have something to say. So be careful who you choose to discuss your idea with and don’t listen to everyone’s advice. Like anything, you will get overwhelmed with people’s opinions and start to have self-doubt. Pick 2 or 3 key people you can discuss the concept or ideas with – people in different areas that you can draw on their expertise. That way you can still stay focused and not let that entrepreneurial mind stray in too many directions!