In this mini-class, Santi Pathak is giving us tangible steps to get a business from a mere (although very exciting!) concept to concrete actions that get your company off the ground. This week, she's all about turning dreams into real steps, challenging fears and building a support team.
You have an idea for a business? Great! Now all you need to do is...??
Starting your own business can be daunting, not just because of the financial uncertainty, but sometimes simply because you have never done this before, you have no clue where to begin, and you feel all alone.
Well you are not. One thing to remember is that whatever situation you are in, there is someone else out there who has been in the same or at least a relatable situation. Find that person and pick their brains. Every person you meet is going to know something you don't and will have experienced something you haven't and which just might be relevant for you. So the first thing to do is to tell everyone what you want to do. Do I hear you say: "But what if they steal my idea?"
Don't even go there - no matter what it is you do: people can always steal an idea. What they can't steal is your vision. So have faith in yourself that you are the best person to make it happen. Your idea didn't come from anywhere, it will be close to your heart for a reason and only you can implement it in the way you want it. My business partner (and sister) Mira and I got our first corporate yoga client, before we even started off properly. We were at a party one night and happened to chat to someone about our new business venture. And this lady just so happened to be looking for yoga instructors to come into their office without people having to get changed and sweaty! You might think that's a lucky coincidence, but I happen to believe that you make your own luck - by maximising your opportunities and being positive. Had we not passionately talked about our business, we would never have found out someone in our vicinity was looking for two motivated girls like us to teach office yoga. So tell everyone what you are up to and you'll find the right people to help you on your way to success.
Of course it helps having a business partner, someone to complement you, to hold your hand when things are tough and to high-five when things are going well. Choose them wisely, though. Having a business together is like being in a marriage, so make sure you are compatible!
GET A PRO TO HELP
Especially if you can't (or don't want to) have a business partner: get a mentor. People love helping. Ever noticed how hard we find it to accept help and how little we think of helping out when we can do so very easily? Use this! People like feeling needed, like feeling that they are imparting their wisdom and knowledge on someone, like being part of a success story in the making and being rewarded in ways other than money.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
Nobody expects you to know everything when you start off. As you are out speaking to peers and pros, you will learn more and more about the first steps to start a business (don't be afraid to ask questions that you think are obvious) and about what your strengths are. You don't need to be an expert at everything: learn to delegate. Don't do the things you're not a pro in or the things you absolutely hate. Chances are your time would be much better used on something else. Think about what your hourly rate is and how long it would take a person other than you to get things done for you. Worth it? Then hire them.
BURY YOUR EGO, DON'T BE AFRAID
There is no reason to be scared of anything. If you feel uncertain, I have got news for you: being in control is an illusion. Most things in life are out of our control, so you might as well enjoy the ride. What you are in control of - always - is your own attitude. So my tip is to get rid of fear:
- fear of embarrassing yourself: whatever might feel huge for you is something that other people will forget in an instant. In the best possible way, you are not that important, and isn't it liberating to know that?
- fear of failure: you will most certainly fail, that's part of life, and you know what? You'll learn much more from the things that didn't work out than from those times when everything went well.
So seek out challenges, seek out failures, they'll get you further in the end). Don't take yourself too seriously. Life is too short and too much fun for that.
Santi Pathak is the co-founder of Pathak Yoga and a brilliant self-starter and entrepreneur. Next week, she will talk to us about SEO and getting your business SEEN. Watch this space!