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Key Factors to Starting a Business

iStock-518951290.jpgAs an entrepreneur, there are many considerations in opening a new business. Considerations may include funding, developing of your product or service, marketing including website development, finding the right location for your business or digital storefront, attracting customers/creating sales and many more. Of course, it’s important to also consider challenges related to the psychology of entrepreneurship. Today’s article provides a snapshot of the top five psychological considerations you could experience which can help to reveal some insights and tips for ways to overcome each.

Perfection

It can be easy to get caught up in the belief that everything needs to be perfect. You may feel that you have to have the perfect idea, make the perfect pitch, and see perfect results. Of course, this is an impossible standard to meet at all, and even if you do meet it in any one area, it will be impossible to maintain as you develop your company. Constantly striving for an impossible standard will put undue stress on you while enhancing an ongoing and increasing sense of unknowing and possibly failure. Alternately, it may totally paralyze your business efforts because you’re stuck trying to perfect something.

Tips

  • Recognize that even a good idea may not be immediately lucrative, and that once it is lucrative, it may not be as lucrative as you dreamed it would be. That doesn’t make it a bad idea, and that doesn’t make it a failure.
  • Quite simply, you can never see success or any change if you’re too afraid to take risks, and risks taken with strategy can be fruitful. Accept that some things are going to go wrong, that mistakes will be made, that learning comes from these mistakes and that some results simply won’t be as spectacular as desired.

Fear

Of course, perfection is an aspect of another psychological consideration, namely fear. This particular consideration can wear many masks that are different for every person, and worse, it can sound exceptionally reasonable. For instance, if you’ve let the idea that you’re not a good salesperson or that you’re not a good enough leader hold you back, you’ve made a decision out of fear. If you look at the rates of success for startups and decide that you’re already doomed to fail, you’ve made a decision out of fear. Starting a business (and in fact, owning and running a business) is a business development process filled with risk, uncertainty, and even at times, instability. Learning to make balanced decisions for your business while facing and understanding your fear will help you in the long run. It can be natural to have fear. What matters at the end of the day is understanding the underlying fear and managing it.

Tips

  • Don’t focus on negative outcomes. Instead, adjust your perspective to setting and  focusing  on achievable goals and next steps.
  • Turn those goals into value, and use that to build relationships with investors and customers alike. Remember that no one failure — even serious ones — mean you’ve lost your shot at success. Each and every setback is a learning opportunity.
  • Take steps to improve yourself. Take business classes, seek mentors, attend seminars, and participate in industry conventions and other events. This will help build your confidence while giving you more of the tools you need to build your business.

No Support System

With everything that needs to be done, you may allow yourself to become overwhelmed while starting a new business. Responsibility for the entire business falls on your shoulders, and every success only increases the feeling of responsibility. Without a support system, you’re literally doing all the heavy lifting on your own, and the cost of every rejection or project failure takes its toll on you personally as well as your company’s bottom line. It becomes harder to stay motivated and easier to become stuck  by indecision.

Tips

  • Find a mentor, or even more than one. Mentors can provide guidance when you feel lost and help you maintain perspective.
  • Surround yourself with dependable people. For staff, choose people you can delegate tasks to and train them so that your expectations are met as tasks are completed well; when there’s too much on your plate, you can pass tasks on and focus on the things only you can accomplish for your business.
  • Make a plan that identifies business priorities and breaks them down into manageable pieces. These become benchmarks that allow you to see your successes. Further, identify which responsibilities you can delegate from the beginning.
  • Make time for friends and family. They may not be able to provide business support, but they can provide emotional support and respite from the stress of starting your company.
  • Take advantage of entrepreneurship communities and other networking opportunities.
  • Celebrate successes!

>>> Learn more about the First Years in Business course

Lifestyle Imbalance

Starting a new business is  time-consuming, and you could find that it’s become all encompassing. You may find that long hours working in the business have turned into unhealthy habits such as sleep deprivation, not enough active exercise, and increased sedentary behaviors.  The demands of a new business on top of these  behaviors may also strain personal relationships if you cut out time that you would otherwise spend with spouses, children, and other family or friends.

You might believe that these sacrifices are worth the eventual results when your business finally gets off the ground, bears fruit, or becomes truly successful. However, there’s no guarantee that this will be the case. It’s just as likely that bad eating habits and lack of sleep will lead to poor communication and bad business decisions as they exponentially compound decision fatigue. The stress from your personal relationships suffering can spill over into your professional relationships and vice versa.

Tips

  • Remember that you are not your business. You are important as a person apart from your business. You are worth taking care of yourself.
  • In the work-life balance equation, don’t make the mistake of believing that work is more important or that work and personal time should be equivalent. Take the time to understand the priorities you have in each part of your life and make sure the right priorities get your attention.
  • Create a task schedule and stick to it within reason. Build in time to eat, rest, exercise, and enjoy your personal life.
  • Again, don’t forget to delegate. You should also leverage technological tools to make things easier. You don’t have to do everything yourself, and you shouldn’t force yourself to try.

Worry

According to some studies, more than a third of entrepreneurs “worried about yesterday,” and given the considerations we’ve already discussed, it’s obvious that any entrepreneur has more than enough to worry about constantly. But for you, that worry may stack up exponentially, and you may end up feeling alone in your struggle.

Tips

  • Develop ways to adapt with other four considerations, especially having a support system and finding lifestyle balance. These will help develop the tools to recognize when normal workplace stress has developed into something much more serious.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially from mentors. Know that many entrepreneurs have been in similarly dark places, and many of them have still become both visible leaders and successful in their industries.

Keeping these considerations of entrepreneurship in mind will help you prepare yourself for the rigors of opening a new business. By acknowledging the biggest obstacles for entrepreneurs on the psychological level and learning the tactics to solve them — or even avoid them altogether — you increase your odds of success and satisfaction.

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The Oregon Small Business Development Center Portland Community College has  helped thousands of businesses over the past 30 years. We combine one-on-one  advising with programs taught by business experts, giving our clients the  resources they need to grow their businesses. We’ve celebrated many successes  with our clients. We'd love to celebrate your success. 

Topics: Small Business, Starting a Business

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