By Abbie Davies Steinbacher
I often get asked what the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is. While there are many challenges that come along with being an entrepreneur, from my experience as founder of the kids yoga company, My First Yoga, I believe that the single hardest part is just getting started. Not the prep time spent dreaming, researching and forecasting, but the exact moment where you commit to being all in. Maybe the moment involves leaving a job or signing a lease, it's different for everybody. But the moment of commitment always includes taking on significant personal and professional risk.
So how do you know if you're ready to commit and get started? There is no scientific equation to determine one's entrepreneurial readiness, but I have found that those who are able to successfully answer the following three questions tend to be most ready:
- Am I cut out to be an entrepreneur?
- What type of business should I start?
- How do I know if people need what my business is offering?
If you're thinking about starting a business, here are three tips to consider while preparing to answer these telling questions:
Confidence is everything.
Confidence alone will not ensure your success as an entrepreneur, it plays a very important role. In large corporations a certain amount of groupthink, suppression of independent thinking during the decision-making process to avoid conflict, is tolerated. To become a successful entrepreneur you will need to be prepared to shake all people-pleasing tendencies. Feel confident making decisions that are in your company's best interest and comfortable explaining these decisions to clients who may feel disappointed.
Play to your strengths.
The one certainty about starting a business is that it will be challenging, so why not do the best you can to set yourself up for success? When deciding what type of business to start, begin by evaluating your strengths and weaknesses. Sit with each of your business ideas for a few days and determine if they play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
Find ways to test demand inexpensively.
The goal is to avoid spending money or time building a product or service for which there may ultimately be no demand. Does your product idea provides a solution to a common problem. Most successful businesses ideas do. Next, figure out your target market and talk about your idea with potential consumers who fit the demographic. It is important to approach these conversations with an open mind. Remember, negative feedback may not mean that your idea is doomed to failure. It may just mean that you need to re-think your approach.
Finally, when it's time to test the market with a beta product, make sure to think inexpensively! Don't worry about making the first iteration of your product perfect. Just make sure that it is functional. Continue to collect feedback and release revised, cost-effective versions.
Abbie Davies Steinbacher is CEO and founder of the kids' wellness company, MyFirstYoga. MyFirstYoga provides kids yoga outreach to schools and has a growing line of kids yoga products. Abbie and MyFirstYoga have been recognized in outlets such as The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Parenting Magazine, Parents Magazine, Yoga Journal and The Boston Globe. Abbie has a degree in Psychology from Harvard, and is a certified adult and children's yoga instructor.
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