Are you ready to start something new? The scary thing about starting something new is that it usually means getting rid of something old. It also means getting out of your comfort zone and into a tight and potentially unpleasant circumstance in order to see your dreams come to fruition.
When you think about it, each day brings a cycle of destruction and growth on a rather mild scale. So, it’s out of your office chair and home for dinner…out of the classroom and into the line at the big box store…out of the jungle (yes, I’m back from my hiatus in Costa Rica, but still trying to recapture the Pura Vida mindset!) and into the swirling world of social media.
However you want to slice it, business is a part of life and in life, change is inevitable. Destruction has to pave the way for growth and this is why we always have difficulty when we start something new.
Go Ahead. Go Out On That Limb!
When was the last time you went out on a limb to wipe something out because it was the only way you could start fresh? For most people, this kind of big destruction and rebirth only happens a few times in their lives. But if you’re a small business owner, it might happen every few months. The key to being a savvy business person is knowing when to fold, when to rest, and when to build. And being ready for the shifts that come.
Often, business people have a particular personality that naturally tends toward the cycles demolition and rebuilding. Going out on a limb to start something new becomes a part of life that makes sense and has a solid track record. I think I heard someone call it the “entrepreneurial spirit” at some time or another. Call it what you will. It’s just logic for a business person.
When most small business people begin their journeys to move off of the corporate payroll and out into the land of freedom of self-employment, the first difficulty is the fear of the unknown. We think there is stability in working for a large company with a payroll department and there is, especially if you’re good at what you do.
We fear for our survival and level of comfort in every situation. But of course, we know that the best rewards are given for the biggest risks and business is no different. There’s no doubt, there’s nothing comfortable about starting a business.
Building something from scratch requires nose-to-the-grindstone focus, seeking help from the smartest people around, being able to roll with the punches as they come, having patience and faith in your efforts, and having an exit strategy.
No one builds a building by herself, and she definitely doesn’t do it from the comfort of her couch while watching old Sex and the City reruns. Even the best teams and ideas pose risk, and being realistic is important. Not all businesses are going to meet or exceed their goals. Most don’t. Still, there are some best practices that will help keep you sane while you start something new, whether that something is starting a new business, launching a new project, or forming a new habit.
Best Practice 1: Networking from the Start
When I first started my business, I treated networking like it was my only job. I sent cold emails to everyone in the area with established businesses related to mine. I went to local Chamber of Commerce events. I chatted up the local Small Business Administration office. I met local business people and the “movers and shakers” where I live. I met all the smart people I could find to exchange ideas and insights. In the marketing world, there’s always a networking luncheon somewhere, and often these are great venues to meet people that might help you, professionally or personally, or both.
Often, destruction of something old begins in these very settings, and the building of that which is new and fresh comes as a direct result. You never know who you’re going to meet.
Best Practice 2: Hire Super-Smart People
The team you put together at the beginning of your venture makes all the difference. Support and guidance from those who “know” is vital to being able to move forward. And the best support team are those who know that the magic happens beyond our comfort zones. Making sure that you are being supported by go-getters will always support your go-getting.
Whenever you start something new, it helps to have a solid team of people who excel at something you need and compliment your strengths. Don’t be afraid to hire people who are smarter than you. They are the ones who can teach you the most and push you to be your best self. This is a vital part of the process of resting and building, which becomes a cyclical process in the life of any successful business.
Best Practice 3: Cash in Favors
Having an attorney friend is certainly helpful, in addition to a good CPA. Think about it, there’s gotta be a friend of a friend who does this stuff that can help you. Whenever you meet someone new, have in the back of your mind a list of referrals and types of people you are looking for. There’s no reason why you need to hire a stranger when you definitely have favors you can cash in. Anyone with the gusto to destroy something old to build something fresh has earned some respect and favors along the way. Go ahead, cash ‘em in!
Best Practice 4: Offer Something Really Good
If you’re demolishing something to start something new, the new thing better be really really good. Reality TV has even gotten on the bandwagon of supporting fresh ideas of innovators and inventors. It is clear to see that there is a tremendous amount of competition out there for everything.
You have to make sure that whatever you are offering stands apart from your competition in some way. You’ve got to be able to say how you’re different and why, all in about 30 seconds. Over and over again, for a long time. And be super proud of whatever it is that you’re saying. If you take the time to really think this part through, others will feel your authenticity and no matter what you are selling, the word will spread. It feels amazing to walk into a room, meet someone new, and hear them say that they’ve been wanting to meet you. Talk about a confidence booster!
Best Practice 5: Have Patience, But Not Too Much
You get what you give. And starting a business includes working hard to plant the seeds of growth, water them, and then rest for a moment (but not too long) to watch for the growth. Patience is important, and it’s a good idea to plan how much time you rest between campaigns, between pushes, between long work weeks. It’s better to set an intention than to get lost in the thick of the action when things get messy. And they always get messy. The pyramids of Egypt took time to build and with patience and steady focus, any establishment can stand the test of time.
Best Practice 6: Have an Exit Strategy
There’s a Kenny Rogers song from just before I was born about knowing when to fold ‘em. And it’s true. If you toss your last silver piece onto a sinking ship, it’s just going to weigh it down more.
Be realistic with your expectations. Be smart with the amount of money you are spending at the beginning and it will be easier to stay the course. The less overhead cost you have, the less risk you take, and the longer you can withstand whatever challenges you face.
But inevitably, everything becomes the grounds for rebirth through its process of destruction, and the best thing a savvy business person can do is to foresee the end of his business. It’s important to have mental and physical checklists in place so that when the ship is sinking (and it will at some point, whether it’s in 5 or 50 years), he can swim to a paradise island close by for a vacation before starting his next adventure. Maybe the vacation between the destruction and the rebuilding is the best part! :)
Whether you are starting a new relationship, a new job, a new business, or moving to a new community, know that the process of breaking down and building back up is inevitable with anyone seeking growth. I’m no dating expert, but I sure can help if you’re a bright business mind seeking to break down something that isn’t serving you anymore so that you can start something new.
That’s where having a PhD in your pocket is so handy. Smartypants is a part of the job description here, being a member of your team with support and experience is my specialty. Give me a call if you need a little help breaking down some walls to build new ones. We’ll even have some fun in the process!
Photo credit: vadmary / 123RF Stock Photo