This time next year we’ll be millionaires!!!
January has arrived, and for whatever reason, it remains a favourite time to make all your decisions on where we want to be in 12 months-time, what life changes we are going to make and how everything will be different this year.
Starting your own business may well be part of your plan (Brits are 10% more likely to start a business in January than any other month), but realistically how many of us have said that in January and ended up at the same Christmas party come December, with the same boss that you really can’t stand, and wondering after several glasses of your favourite tipple ‘why am I still here?’
Well, count me as 1 of them. 30 years in employment and probably 15 of those started with “I’m going to do it this year”.
Eventually I did, but not in the way I would have expected or wanted to (and not in January). When I did take the plunge, it was completely out of necessity, and not because I decided it was time to ‘live the dream’.
I found myself in a position where I simply had to do something. My business started very hastily, no big plans, no forecasts, no marketing ideas, hardly any clients and no idea how I was going to get them. I did the precise thing that I would tell everyone not to do!
Failing to plan is planning to fail
Quite a well-used saying but very true, and I can’t think of a better one so I’m using it. My failure to plan could easily have cost me my business.
Simple questions remained unanswered.
How was I going to get new clients?
Who are they and where will I find them?
What prices should I be charging?
How do I market this business?
Without any plan on how to build the business I was treading water at best and sinking slowly at worst.
Plan, Plan and Plan some more
That is what I tell everyone to do. And I tell them because by not doing that I wasted the first 6 months of my time in business. Still not knowing where I was heading, never mind how I was going to get there.
I had one big advantage though. I understood my finances inside out. Not just my business finances, but my personal ones as well.
Whilst the business did start making a profit, I knew it was not enough for me to survive on.
That was so important. At least I wasn’t blind to the fact that something had to change. Instead of hitting the brick wall of failure hard, I knew I was slowly heading towards it. I knew I had to change it, otherwise I would be going back to employment, attending another office Christmas party, with another January just around the corner
The survival budget
Starting a business is a huge decision. I have always said you must do your planning and then I did the exact opposite. If nothing else, it proved that I was right in what I was saying – which makes me feel better!
If you are thinking about starting your own business, take it from me – work on some real planning, and start with knowing your personal finances.
Before you do anything, make a survival budget. It will show you the minimum your business needs to achieve to keep your head above water.
And to help, why not download a copy of my survival budget template to get you started. And keep an eye out for my next blog which will show you how to complete the survival budget and what it means for you and your business.