People who hope to be successful in business know that they will have some sacrifices to make along the road. If you’re planning to hit the ground running and make a profit quickly, then you will have to accept it’s going to take hard work and some late nights. It’s well worth it, in the end, but it might not feel like it to begin with as you go for a full week without ever sleeping properly. Slowly but surely, you’ll hit your groove and find everything more manageable, but let’s not pull any punches here; it’s hard to launch a business.
Furthermore, anything you do will be harder if you go into it with additional challenges. The stresses of running a business will be at least doubled if you have doubts over the wisdom of your course of action, or is your ability to react to setbacks is infringed in any way. If you have additional time, space, or financial constraints, it stands to reason that you will find it more challenging to get off the launchpad, so to speak, and to break Earth’s orbit (to extend the metaphor) as you try to get your business into the stratosphere.
It is for this reason that you should make sure part of your business’s launch involves clearing the boards personally, as you make the necessary adjustments to help you get stuck into your startup with the enthusiasm it deserves. Let’s look at the checklist of items you need to deal with ahead of launching your new business.
Don’t let yourself get double-booked
There is an impression that business owners can “have it all”: the successful, profitable business; the harmonious and fun home life; and the healthy lifestyle that allows you to face every challenge with energy and vigour. The truth is that you can certainly have all of that once the business is established – but to begin with you’re going to find your time monopolised by the efforts involved in starting your business and correcting any flaws that are exposed by its early operations. And there are always initial flaws, unfortunately.
You’re going to need to set time aside to make sure you can deal with the often punishing schedule that a startup entrepreneur will face. This may mean having to miss the occasional night out, offer your apologies for a family gathering or two, and sometimes maybe even miss out on a holiday that you’d been looking forward to. Once things are up and running you can re-enter this social landscape with a vengeance, but initially you’ll need to be prepared to say “no” to some engagements. That’s hard to do, but you’ve got a very good reason for it, so be prepared to say “no, for the moment” – people will understand why you’re doing it as long as you’re prepared to explain.
Don’t be held back by debt
In business, you will often have to make big decisions against a deadline. Sometimes, those decisions will be expensive ones and they may involve borrowing. Few people run a business entirely debt-free these days, and if you don’t have at least the option of a credit line you’ll find yourself hamstrung. For this reason, you don’t want to begin your startup story with a significant list of debts already on the table. It can complicate any attempt to borrow more, and even if you do secure more borrowing it will add another commitment you don’t want.
Before embarking on your startup journey, it is therefore wise to simplify your personal debt picture – pay off any cards and loans that you can, in full, and have at most one or two commitments including your mortgage. For those you can’t immediately cover, consider the benefits of debt consolidation loans to streamline your commitments. If you had to be totally debt-free to enter the business world, that would rule most of us out. What you do need is to have your debt under control, and that’s not impossible.
Get a clean bill of health
Having a startup usually means a lot of late nights and early mornings. It can mean missed meals and a fairly scattered approach to getting the nutrients and the rest that you need. Ideally, these sacrifices will be kept to a minimum, but there is inevitably a lot you can’t be sure of when you’re starting out, so you’ll need to be ready for them. It is essential that you know where you stand health-wise before you commit yourself to what is a very draining experience.
If you’ve been experiencing any symptoms, talk them over with your GP and understand their implications (if there are any). Commit to a full check-up, including blood pressure and general wellness monitoring, and ask your doctor’s advice on how to best ensure your health during this time. You don’t want to carry any question marks into such an important period in your life.
Ensure you have the space for everything
People often talk about needing space – usually metaphorically – during any testing time. While it is certainly important to have metaphorical space that allows you to make decisions without pressure, you do also need literal space. You need somewhere that you can work unencumbered, whether that’s an office where you can take calls and receive business visitors, or storage space where you can keep stock.
If you try to live and work in the same areas, you will find that eventually the two worlds become unacceptably intertwined and you’ll never really be “off the clock”. Commit, from the start, to having a business-free space in your home where you don’t answer your work phone or read any email – because the more your business inserts itself into your home life, the more it becomes like a stressful job you can’t quit, and the less it feels like something you do so you can enjoy life more.
Embarking on the future with a clean slate and clear goals in mind will allow you to give the business your best shot. With any luck, you will be able to ensure the best outcomes for your personal and business lives without having to compromise too much.