A startup business is, in many ways, like a newborn baby. In many, more important ways, it’s not at all like a baby, so don’t go looking at the two things as identical. But, in many ways, your approach to both things will have aspects in common. Not least of which is the fact that, right at the beginning, both will need a lot of attention and care. As they get older, they’ll have the ability to do more without direct supervision.
In the beginning, though, there is a lot you have to be aware of when trying to make a new business function well. Not least of which is the point that it needs to be serviced with income. Until such time as you have self-sustaining income streams, you need to be keeping the business afloat. And because this is the stage where so many startups bomb, you need to be careful how you do it. Caution is key in managing small businesses.
How Do You Get Started?
No business should ever be set up without a lot of planning having been done. Yes, you’ll hear stories about the maverick business guru who used £10,000 left to him by an elderly aunt to start a business that made billions. And mavericks make for good stories, but also for a lot of terrible ones that never make the headlines. When you haven’t got a lot of money to play with, use every penny wisely.
Follow Your Heart … Right?
It is a reality that you’ll want to listen to your heart to make a startup work. If you can’t be enthusiastic for what you’re doing, you may as well not do it. But let it be like driving a car. Your heart can take the wheel, but your brain needs to be controlling the pedals. You can be a maverick with the direction, but not with the speed. Particularly since the stakes of failure can be extreme.
Giving Up Some Control Is Essential
You may have it in mind that this business is your baby and you will make all the decisions. However, it depends on how you’re financing it. Borrowing against your house is a risk, for example. If you’re wondering “I’m remortgaging do I need a solicitor“, the answer is yes. Legally, you do. And you’ll be glad of their advice when it comes to making any deal, because the stakes are dizzyingly high in the early days.
Thinking about it, this is one of the ways in which your business is least like your baby. As parents, we are instinctively protective and cautious with a child. Sometimes, with businesses, we are enthusiastic from the beginning to the point of being reckless. You want this business to be still going – or to have funded other ventures – by the time you come to retire. So don’t take stupid risks with it.
If you want to think of your business as being like your baby, here’s one way we can all agree on. If you treat it kindly and give it the tools to succeed, it can support you in your old age. So do your best to be a good parent to it.