Building a business can be a very lonely place where doubt breeds and the unknown rules. This brings about our natural way of thinking if only we had more money, more time, more help, less competition, more customers and we end up focusing on what isn’t available to us right in this moment.
I firmly believe and have seen it time and time again when you are starting a business – be present and realistic to the current situation.
You need to be clear you have available to you right now – in terms of resources such as people and how much time they have available and how much money you have.
Only once you have this benchmark can you start to work out what you need up until your first customer. Key needs are – how much resources, what type of resources, how many hours, how much money.
Now you have a start and an end (call it the first race). You can now do a gap analysis to see where you fall short.
Okay so now what? Well you can now get your creative juices flowing – remember the answer isn’t just stop, or get more now, you could for instance, rework the resources you need, rework the budget, look at ways to get in the cash.
Cash for instance can be through you and your team providing consulting services and using this money, lending money from people that believe in the business, debt funding or equity funding, grant funding and probably a whole of other options in between.
You can also shorten the end – and find a nearer goal and work towards that. The key about goals is that you should link it in this case to decision points for stop/go in early stage businesses. You need to be constantly looking at what you have achieved (what you have now) and what it will take to get to the next hurdle and if you are prepared to continue to this next hurdle.
Another great benefit of this is that it keeps you focused, helps you feel less overwhelmed as starting a business there is so much to get right that you can get lost in all of this and never get anywhere.
Keep your focus in short bursts – working from what you have to what you need to get to the next decision point. This doesn’t mean you have to be immovable it just helps you have a focus which you can decide to change
– shift the decision point, try a bit longer if things are working out, change direction. They magic here to help you get to that first customer is that you should focus on each step and not think about the end of the race – that can be too daunting and result in your or perhaps your resources stopping before they start.