Is there ever a perfect time to launch a business? Maybe. However, most of us end up starting and growing our businesses in less than perfect circumstances.
Today's world is a chaotic and uncertain place. Politics have become more vicious than most of us can ever remember. Economic indicators seem to bounce around like rubber balls, and the differences between the rich and poor as well as the employed, unemployed, and under employed are more controversial than ever. People who thought they would be able to retire from a "regular job" are now competitive for part-time employment with entry-level workers. Full-time workers are setting up side hustles to help make ends meet. And the ranks of entrepreneurship are growing with traditional entrepreneurs, relationship entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs of all ages. So, how do you start an entrepreneur endeavor in such a frenzied and unpredictable world?
Go back to basics with your finances. Chaotic times sometimes create opportunities, yet these periods are not the time to get risky with your survival. Pay off your debts. Interest rates have been incredibly low for almost a decade. This means that many people used credit cards or loans to bridge their personal budget gaps, especially in the years right after the 2008 recession. While rising interest rates will typically be good news for savers, higher rates could spell disaster for people carrying lots of debt. Working under a crushing debt load not only limits your business choices, but it can weigh you down mentally. To be a successful entrepreneur you need free brain space to innovate. Worrying about bills takes up valuable thought time.
Another back-to-basics financial strategy is to create a budget and stick to it. In a world filled with unpredictability you need to know where your money is coming from and going. Access the vast amount of financial planning information that's available, but focus on experts who understand the realities of entrepreneurship. You must include a plan for building a cash reserve into your budget. About half of the US population could not handle a $ 400 emergency. You do not want to be counted in this number.
Build a diverse team. It's so comfortable to surround ourselves with people who think, talk and act the way we do. This is especially true when the world seems to be going wild. Yet, isolation and echo chambers are not the best way to understand and connect with potential customers. In addition, a diverse team of advisers or mentors is a great way to test new products and services for reliability. Practice your pitch on people from different backgrounds. Have a variety of professionals give you feedback on your business plan.
Create a self-care plan. For years I've advised entrepreneurs to remember nutrition, fitness, and mental health as important components for a successful life. I've cautioned newbie business owners about the dangers of having your office just a few feet away from the fridge, and warned about the isolation that can come from intense start-up focus. In a chaotic world, the need for entrepreneurs to practice self-care becomes even more urgent. You will deal with the stress of today's world much more effectively when you're at your personal best. To provide the needed healthy framework you may have to spend time and money in a way you did not when times were good and the world made sense. Consider quality food, gym fees, meditation classes and even therapy as investments in your entrepreneurial success.
Hold on to stability where you can. Entrepreneurs are known for being willing to take risks, and there's still a lot to be gained from taking chances and having faith in your idea. In chaotic times though, you want to be taking carefully calculated risks and keeping a bedrock of stability in your life. This may mean holding on to your day job a bit longer while you wait for your side hustle to really blossom. It may mean launching your business in phases rather than all at once, so you can make changes based on customer feedback. As you're pressing forward on a quest for business success, do not neglect your personal relationships. Routines like family game night, date night, or movie night with friends can be a source of relaxation and strength. If you maintain a spiritual practice, this too can be a source of stability.
Starting or growing your business in a world that seems unpredictable and unstable can present unique challenges. It's going to take a lot of energy and patience to navigate a business climate where people are unsure or edgy. You may need to improve your communications skills to thrive in a world where nerves are raw and tempers flare. Entrepreneurs in today's chaotic world need a solid foundation that includes sound finances, a healthy support network, a worthy business idea and a sensible self-care plan. It's still possible to wring success out of our chaotic world, but do not try to wing it.
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