Estimated reading time: 2 minute(s)
By Chuck Cohn
Most New Year’s resolutions involve self-improvement, whether it’s in the form of getting fit or finally starting the company of your dreams. If your goals for 2016 involve launching a business, you might be wondering which resolutions are most likely to help you achieve your aim.
Before I founded Varsity Tutors, I had the same question. Here are the resolutions I would now give to my younger self and other entrepreneurs:
Familiarize yourself with the demands of entrepreneurship
The entrepreneurial stereotype may be one of the best known in today’s society. He or she is young, in control of his or her schedule, and financially secure.
In truth, absolutely anyone can become an entrepreneur. Turning a profit, however, is neither guaranteed nor instantaneous. And while you may be CEO of your organization, you’ll likely find yourself working long hours, seven days a week. One of the best things you can do as a fledgling entrepreneur is familiarize yourself with the realities of the role. Whether you connect with other entrepreneurs on LinkedIn to ask them what they wished they’d known before beginning, or read similar articles online, consider making this your first priority.
Do your research
Great entrepreneurs live and breathe their visions. Great entrepreneurs also educate themselves. They review their individual strengths and weaknesses, and they turn to resources like industry blogs and magazines, conferences and mentors to address their weaknesses and reinforce their strengths.
In addition to weighing their strengths and weaknesses, prospective entrepreneurs should research the external and internal factors that will impact their companies. External factors are those outside your business—for instance, who are your competitors? How will you distinguish your product or service from theirs? Internal factors are those inside your business. Leadership is a prime example—what type of leader are you? What company culture will you create, and how will that help you grow your startup?
Write a business plan
It may be tempting to forge ahead without a concrete business plan. After all, you know your pain points, you know the solution you intend to share with your target audience, and you’re ready to work.
This may see you through the first weeks or months of operation, but a business plan is designed to guide you through several years—generally three to five—of operation. For instance, how long will you need to operate the business prior to becoming profitable? How will you market your product or service and who will you need to hire when? The thought of writing a business plan may seem overwhelming, but your second resolution—to do your research—will provide you with the raw materials for your plan.
The last step is to execute. With a well-researched business plan in hand, you can position yourself and your new company to take full advantage of 2016.