Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. And not everyone has what it takes to start a business. It’s time consuming, stressful, requires extreme focus and dedication, and it takes a tremendous amount of sacrifice. On the plus side however, starting your own business can be one of the most fulfilling and exhilarating experiences of your professional life.

Having built several businesses of my own, including The Blue Sky Thinking Group that is now valued at over $100 million, I’ve learnt some things along the way. So if you’re interested in knowing what to do before you start a business of your own, read on…

  1. You’ve got to want this!

 Not everyone has the drive and determination that’s needed to be a successful entrepreneur. Do you struggle with motivation? Do you find yourself procrastinating during the day? Are you just in this in the hope of making a quick buck? Then you might want to rethink starting your own business.

  1. Don’t quit your day job straight away:

It may be tempting to quit your day job and start your new business venture as soon as possible, but you have to be realistic. Have you saved up enough money to get you through the rough months that you’ll inevitably go through when starting out?

If you haven’t planned ahead, then use your evenings and weekends to research, study, and lay the foundation for your business. Stop spending money on things that you don’t need, and save as much as you can!

  1. Develop an idea:

How is your idea different from all the other ideas out there? In an oversaturated society, it’s vital to stand out from the crowd. Don’t just start a business on a whim. Develop a business concept that you’re passionate about and that you have experience with. If for example, you were toying with the idea of starting up a digital agency, but you don’t actively use social media yourself, this probably isn’t the best option for you.

It’s vital to believe in your products and services. Passion will propel you forward.

  1. Know your service offerings:

What makes you and your business idea special? How can your business, service or product improve people’s lives? Are potential investors going to buy into your idea? Can you make a profit selling this product? Will your product work? These are the types of questions that you need to answer before you even think about going any further on your business quest.

Bounce your ideas off of those who are close to you, or those who know you best. A mentor, friend, or family member might be able to give you some constructive criticism, or at the very least offer some support and encouragement.

  1. Have a solid business plan in place:

If you’re going to be pitching to investors or new clients, you’ll need a watertight business plan that includes a company summary, an executive summary, your target market, and your cost projections.

If you don’t have enough capital of your own, then you’ll need to find the right investors. Set up appointments to meet with as many investors as you can. Your investor should be someone that shares your passion and believes in your product.

If you don’t see eye-to-eye with a potential investor then that’s an immediate red flag. That being said, it’s important to listen to what potential investors say. If they’re willing to invest money into your idea, then the least you can do is listen to what they have to say.

  1. Know how to network:

How can you possibly build a successful business if no one knows who you are? Go to as many conferences and seminars as you can and make sure that you get your name out there.

Get involved in your community, join some committee’s or clubs, and build your network! Build your credibility and become known as an expert in your industry.

  1. Know your statistics:

I’m a firm believer that knowing your numbers will help you get to where you need to be. It’s imperative that you know exactly what’s involved so that you know what you have to do in order to get to where you need to go.

You need to work back from the result you’re looking for. Lets say your new business is in the sales industry, and you want to earn $100,000.00 in the next three months. If each sale is worth approximately $5,000.00, then you’ll need to make twenty sales in the next three months to meet your target.

In order to make twenty sales, you’ll need to see about forty prospects. To make one prospect, you’d need to generate ten leads. Looking at the maths, this would mean that you have to make 400 prospecting calls, which would generate the sales, which then would generate your income. It’s important to know your statistics so that you can achieve your targets.

  1. Stay positive:

Stay far away from people who tell you that you can’t do something. The naysayers, or negative people around you will only bring you down and keep you from achieving the kind of success that you’re after. Being successful means that you’ll have to have a tremendous amount of motivation, and in order to be truly successful you’ll have to surround yourself with positive people and mentors.