I’m often asked about the proper order of things when starting a business, and people expect to get an answer like “write a tagline,” “get your hands on capital,” “design your logo,” or “patent your product.”
My response is far from any of those.
My answer is, in fact, “Before you do anything else, decide what kind of life you want to live.”
You see, too many entrepreneurs and start-up owners build their companies based on how they see the business, and then break the news to the people in their lives about what they will be giving up. When in reality, the right order of things is the exact opposite.
Determine what kind of life you want to lead. How much time do you want to make available for family and friends? How much holiday time will you need each year? How much flexibility would you like to afford yourself? What is your passion—the one thing you would do even if you weren’t getting paid? Only then should you build your business…and build it to not only allow the time you’ll need for the life you want to live, but to earn the profits you’ll need to support that life.
Here are some of my suggestions for accomplishing this:
- Know your WHY. Why are you in business? If your answer is money or notoriety, you won’t be in business for long. You must have a larger purpose, or you will lack the motivation to move forward.
- Pursue your passion. If you’re going to get out of bed every morning and hit your business running, you’re going to have to do something you LOVE.
- Do it because you want to, not because you can. Too many people discover that they have talent and then decide they must build a business around that—even if it’s not something they enjoy doing. Remember that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. You must be able to stay motivated every day, or your company will not be profitable.
- Delegate to a fabulous team. Choosing the right team members is a critical task, and a time and energy investment in selecting the best ones will pay off…big time. There will be aspects of your business that do not fit your skillset or that you don’t enjoy doing. Find people who are fueled and inspired by these tasks and delegate, delegate, delegate.
- Know your profits. It’s easy to think you’re making a profit when you receive cash from a sale. However, it’s important to tally the costs that you’re accruing on a daily basis and make sure that cash is covering those expenses, and still providing the profits necessary for supporting your ideal life. If you determine there’s not enough, then it’s time to reduce overhead, improve efficiency, create more products or develop an upsell strategy.
- Utilise technology. Not every technological advancement will serve your business; however, when an app saves you time and money, it’s increasing your profit margin as well as the likelihood that you’ll be able to live the life of your dreams. Technology, when efficiently employed, can be among your brand’s highest ROI operations.
There are countless ways that you can stack your business strategy to create the kinds of profits you need for living the life you want. The important thing to remember is that you should never adjust your life goals based on the profits you’re currently earning—that’s backwards thinking and it will leave you feeling discouraged, and ultimately without the business OR the life you want.
So let’s commit to putting first things first. Your life, your recreation, your family come first. And when your business is built around all of that, you’ll end up loving everything about work AND play.