Welcome to 2012. It’s a new year and many of us take this opportunity to make New Year resolutions, whether it’s a diet, kicking a bad habit or even starting a business. I personally believe that more businesses will be started this year than ever before due to chronic high unemployment and people simply wanting to create their own economic opportunities.
Combine this with the low costs of launching a business- thanks largely to the decreasing costs of technology, and you’ll see a proliferation of newbie startups. I’m excited by it all and that’s why I’m here – to share my experiences as a corporate refugee turned entrepreneur who’s founded or cofounded multiple businesses.
It’s always inspiring to read stories of success. When we hear about entrepreneurs who literally sold everything they had to start a business from a garage, toiled away for several years, and then ended up selling to a multinational firm— who wouldn’t get excited? This fuels our very own dreams and desires for launching a successful business. This was certainly true for me when I thought about and ultimately founded an earlier business, NuKitchen. However, the reality of taking an idea and turning it into a meaningful business is quite another story. The effort and energy involved is substantial from structuring the business, raising money, hiring the staff to getting the marketing plan in place. Many entrepreneurs will attest to the amount of energy that must be invested to make your business a success, from depleting your savings to countless hours devoted to building the business.
Anyone who’s in the early stages of starting a business or just thinking about it, should be aware of some of the harsh realities of starting a business. After all, at least 50% of all new businesses fail according to the SBA. My goal here isn’t to dissuade you from starting a business- really, it’s not- but instead to get you to take off your rose colored glasses. Plan before you take the plunge. Before I left corporate America to become an entrepreneur, I spent over a year planning my new business launch. You know what? It paid off because after 5 years of building that business, I was able to sell it to a publicly traded company. Even if you don’t want to sell your business, you’ll need to make sure that it’s meeting your objectives- at the very least profitability. I’m convinced that if you follow a plan that includes getting experience, networking, getting the right amount of funding, hiring or partnering with the right people, and implementing a marketing strategy, you’ll be off to a good start. I’ve been advising startups for a long time and getting these elements in place helps to build a solid foundation. My advice? Be passionate but be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy in the process. You can be among the entrepreneurs who turn their dreams into success stories. You just need the right combination of capability, opportunities and perseverance. Keep me posted on your progress.