The key to ‘just starting’ your first business


Everybody says ‘just start’ but it’s a lot easier said than done, and potentially the hardest part of your business journey.
The true key to starting is taking things one step at a time. | Image source: Getty Images

‘Just starting’ your businesses isn’t as easy as it sounds. We can’t all one day quit our jobs, lay out our life savings and start a successful business all in one day. There is planning and strategy that must go into any business venture. It’s important to differentiate ‘starting’ from ‘launching’ and know that there is so much you can do before pre-investment.

But first, some advice: It’s nice to remember that at this stage, that nobody knows what they’re doing when launching their first business. It’s time to make your idea a justifiable reality. The true key to starting is taking things one step at a time. This is vital to staying on track and not rushing into something you’ll regret. Make a very simple list of tasks and the order that they need to be done in, then go through them one by one, even if it takes months.

“Nobody can guarantee that any business is going to be successful, so only invest the time and money that you’re willing to lose.”

Looking at the list as a whole is overwhelming, and it’s easy to give up, but trust me, you can get it done. Many of the things on the list will seem impossible at the time, as you’ve never done them before. For me, these were things like applying for my first liquor licence, or working out alcohol restrictions. I’d never done them before, and found the whole idea of it so overwhelming, serious and scary that I almost gave up. But once I’d figured it out, the fear was gone.

There will be an underlying pressure to launch that will come from people constantly hassling you about when the product or service will be ready, but it’s smart to not get sucked into the rush. Business is like gambling. Nobody can guarantee that any business is going to be successful, so only invest the time and money that you’re willing to lose. Something you can guarantee though is that you’ll always learn valuable skills and lessons by just starting. So, what should be on your list?

As mentioned, we have to differentiate ‘starting’ from ‘launching’. Starting involves all the tasks you can complete pre-investment, to get you launch ready. They’re tangible, low risk, and the things that people tend to get the most excited over. ‘Starting’ can include thinking of the business idea, business name, logo and branding, look and feel and basic operations. Where most of us get stuck is the not so fun part of the starting phase, this includes a strategical business plan, financial planning, personal finance planning, realistic personal time commitment and realistic risk management. These are all things that must be done before you can properly dive in and commence the launch phase.

Once the above is ticked off and you’re still feeling excited and comfortable to move forward, it’s time to launch. If your business is product based, this might mean manufacturing your first batch of product and selling your first unit. If you’re a service-based business, this might mean gaining your first client and sending your first invoice.

Now, you’re on your way! The hardest part is over and now it’s time to keep selling. Throughout the business journey your goals, operations, systems and ways of doing business will change, but that’s okay, because you’ve started.

Ellen Weigall is an entrepreneur with a passion for empowering women in business. Find out more about Ellen About | BABY Pink Gin