“What’s holding you back?”
That is the question we ask all our budding entrepreneurs. Their response is generally “the timing is not right.” This is an understandable answer and one we have heard a lot from aspiring founders but more often than not we disagree.
There is never a right time to start a company — there is only a now moment.
The “now moment” is a time when starting and running your own business is the only thing you can imagine doing. It is not unlike other major milestones in life — getting married, going back to school, or thoughtfully deciding whether or not to become a parent. There is no right time, just the must time.
Just like those other major life events, you need to be ready to make your must time the right time for building a business. It takes self-awareness and a willingness to be vulnerable. You need to make the necessary changes to your mindset and actions from the start to set yourself up for success.
Procrastination comes in many forms. When it comes to founding a company, there is often a mental game of fill-in-the-blank that aspiring entrepreneurs play.
It goes like this:
“I will start a company when ____.”
Generally filled in with:
“When my kids are older.”
“When I pay off my mortgage.”
“When life settles down.”
So, how can you overcome the “when _____ happens” challenge and start one of life’s great adventures with calm confidence?
Start with your first business purchase — a notebook. Divide it into five sections, titled as follows: Thoughts, Feedback, Purpose, Money, and Sacrifice. Then, to hold yourself accountable, choose a month when you will devote yourself to deep introspection.
Track your thoughts & ideas
Start immediately, there is no time like the present! Write down ideas, thoughts, challenges in day to day life (the best business ideas come from fix life’s problems), concerns, relationships and goals. After about 2-3 weeks starting looking through your thoughts, remove any obscure thoughts that were just nonsense, then look for patterns in ideas, concerns, goals, etc. This should focus your mind on what you want to do or the particular challenges you think you will face by setting up a business, be that relationship or business challenges.
Find feedback, find answers
Describe your idea to people you trust and use the experience to learn. Make sure can you articulate the problem you are solving easily and is your language clearly. Try and gauge if people get excited or nervous when they hear your thoughts. Capture the answers — a strong reaction (positive or negative) is a sign you are onto something big.
Find & form no your purpose
Lasting and meaningful companies are holy on a purpose. Look at your thought-tracking and feedback lists, then ask yourself if your underlying motivations are tied to your core path in life. Map the motivations to your purpose and assess where things do not line up.
Are people enthusiastic that you are on the right track? You need to know exactly why you want to start a company and the closer the purpose is to who you are including what you want to become, the better chance you have for success.
Consider value for money vs cost
You must build something that real people with real needs will find value in and pay for — otherwise you do not have a lasting business.
Force yourself to document why customers will pay you, then estimate how much. Start there and create a simple one-page business model to explore the real mechanics of the business and how you expect it to be successful.
Pre-qualify what sacrifice is needed
You will need to commit and sacrifice from the start if you decide to pursue your idea. Firstly, see the pain before committing to feeling it, next on your to do list is to start another week to write down all the ways you will need to sacrifice while building your company. Go for as much detail as you can and list out what you will give up for at least two years. This is your final level of consideration before jumping into the actual ‘doing’ so really take time to consider all aspects.
Not many people are ready or willing to do this kind of deep thinking and introspection, this could be why so many start-ups fail in their first 12 months of existence.
Too many people start businesses for the wrong reasons and fail themselves and those around them.
Mass action takes mass courage.
After all, founding a business will define you. There is never a perfect time to start a business but there definitely is a “now moment.”