What's Your Goal?
Your version of success + Your version of a happy lifestyle = Your end goal.
Before you start, you need to have a clear end goal. Essentially, you need to decide how you define “success.”
For example, if you want to spend most of your time traveling and enjoying your family, you probably don’t want a traditional company with dozens of employees or an ecommerce shop that requires you to package and mail products every day of the week.
If your goal is to make millions of dollars, quitting your day job and investing $100,000 upfront may be something you’re willing to do. If your goal is to make enough money to pay off your mortgage and student loans (that would be me!), you probably want a business that requires little initial capital and can run in conjunction with your day job.
To clarify your version of success, here are some things to think about. Your responses will drive the direction of your business plan.
What would you consider a successful business?
This is the most important question to consider. You need a clear understanding of what you are hoping to achieve.
Here are some examples:
- I want lots of money.
- I want more free time.
- I want to build and create something.
- I want to learn new things.
- I have a problem I am passionate about solving.
Chances are, you want to achieve several of these. When answering this question, you need to identify the one you want the most.
For example, if you want to solve a social problem such as childhood hunger, your business will not truly be a success unless it actually helps solve the problem. Yes, you want to build or create something, and you want to learn new things, but neither of those are the ultimate determination as to whether your business is a success.
What lifestyle do you want?
As I mentioned earlier, the lifestyle you desire will determine the business you want to pursue. If you want to spend more time with your family, you’ll likely prefer to work from home and have the flexibility to set your own hours. This would limit your ability to hire employees and require a business you can run by yourself.
If you are social and want to work with others, you can pursue a business model that requires multiple employees. You will need to ensure the business model can support leasing an office and paying these employees’ salaries.
If you want a traditional life of going to an office and working forty hours a week Monday – Friday, then you probably don’t want to start your own business at all because you’ll be working MUCH more than that.
What investments are you willing to make?
Starting business takes a lot of risk and you need to decide what you are willing to invest. “Investment” doesn’t necessarily mean financial, though that is one kind. You can also invest your time. Any business will require at least some investment of both time and money, but you can generally trade some of one for the other.
For example, you can spend money hiring a web developer to set up your website, or you can spend time learning html and CSS so you can build your own. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of investment. You’ll spend more money hiring an expert, but will be ensured a high quality result. You’ll spend less money doing it yourself, but may end up with a terrible website that hurts your business. You need to decide which path you want to take for each part of your business plan.
You’ve found your end goal.
By combining your answers, you now know your end goal and what you are willing to invest to achieve it. From here, you can design a business plan that will lead you to your version of success and happiness.
Real Life Example
In each post, I will include a real life example. Some will be mistakes, some will be successes, but they all will be truthful.