At Detail and Design, one of the services we offer is small business support. We can assist you with business and marketing plans, financial projections, and organizational systems. Part of any good business plan is an audit of your own skills as a potential business owner and a recognition of where you might need to bring in some outside support. To get you started, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do I think long-term? As a business owner, you will find yourself putting out figurative fires day-in and day-out; however, if that takes up all of your time, you will not be able to move your business forward. You need to think long-term: imagine what your business will look like in 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, and in 6 months, and then chart out how you will get there. Once you put in the time to map out your plan, you will know on a week-to-week basis what steps you need to be taking to get there. Trying to make those decisions without any planning will only lead to spinning your wheels.
Am I organized? As important as it is to think of the big picture, having a successful business requires attention to detail and a healthy dose of organizational skills. As your business grows, do not rely on your memory to keep you on track with following up with customers, paying bills, sending invoices, and depositing checks. Do the work of putting reminders in place and streamline your systems so they do the work for you.
Am I willing to do the grunt work? Owning a business is not all glory. It often involves working long hours. In the beginning, you may wonder if the income will ever justify the work and stress. We’ve all been there. This is when it really helps to look at your 5-year plan and remind yourself of where you’re headed. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. If you are sticking to your long-term plan and staying organized with your day-to-day responsibilities, you will see your hard work pay off.
Do I know when to ask for help? If you’re concerned that you are missing some of these skills - don’t fret! Nobody can do everything themselves. The great thing about being in a community like Durham which is so supportive of small business is that there are plenty of people to turn to for help or advice. Lean on your friends for feedback, and run your ideas by as many people as possible. Ask for referrals to professionals who offer services that will fill in gaps in your skill set. If your books are a mess, find an accountant; if you can’t get organized, hire a coach. The investment will pay off, and your time can be spent doing the things you do best.
So you still want to start a business? Go for it! We’d love to help put your vision down on paper and support you in making it a reality.