Dear Aunty B,
I saw your posts on the internet and am wondering what sage advice you have about surviving the first two years of a new business.
I got scared this week before signing a lease for a coffee shop that I was planning on starting in a few months. I listened to the naysayers and stopped myself in my tracks. And now – I am wondering if this fear is rational or even normal.
Thanks in advance,
Normal? No one in the history of the world has ever started their own business without feeling fear! And the reason you feel fear is you have no crystal ball and therefore no idea if it is going to be a brilliant success or a total nightmare.
So, yes, fear is your companion, especially for the first two years, which are the hardest for any business owner. But let’s look a little deeper. There is fear from trying the unknown. But then there is a perfectly normal gut reaction that can occur in people when they are about to do something unbelievably stupid because they have no idea what they are doing.
So let’s take you for example.
I am going to assume you have NOT woken up one morning and thought: Gee, I am sick of spending my day looking down kiddies throats when what I would really like to do is run a coffee shop and how hard can that be compared to saving lives every day.
In fact you have spent at least six months planning your venture, knowing that running a successful business is in fact up there with brain surgery.
You have done a comprehensive plan of the suburb, noting competitors, how they are travelling and how you are going to be different.
You have done a demographic study of your neighbourhood and understand that the upmarket, organic focused offering that the previous owner embarked upon, failed because the bulk of your patrons still get their coffee when they go to the meat pie shop.
You have in fact some experience of business; have done a marketing plan, a business plan, a budget for the first three years and a cashflow plan.
And you understand the emotions of your potential customers: what it is they want from the experience with you and the business.
You also have a plan for the next stage. When this venture succeeds, you know what you are going to do to grow the business.
If that is in fact the case, then find the nearest cliff and leap! You are ready and it is only fear and the naysayers who are holding you back.
Your Aunty B
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