While everyone else is busy wrapping up their year, you can set your business up for success by considering the following before you launch:
1. Define what success means to you.
Before launching your business, take the time to do a little soul searching on what success really means to you. Creating your own definition and picture of success is often critical to understanding where you want to go—and getting there.
When I started out, I knew I didn’t want to go back to my desk job with uninspiring work. At that time, success meant becoming financially stable on my own through my own business. Of course, my definition has evolved into something much more meaningful today. The key is not to put too much pressure on yourself to encapsulate it all the first time around.
2. Consider what problem you’re solving.
Once you know what you want, answering some tough questions can help define your business:
- Who are your ideal clients, and what problem are you solving for them?
- How are you planning to reach them?
- How do you provide unique value?
Once you can answer these questions, create your own personal goals based on these insights. You might have monetary goals, lifestyle goals and goals based around the impact you want to make. It’s important to prioritize these and ask yourself “would you rather” questions. For example, this year might be your year to focus solely on monetary goals instead of visibility goals like getting national TV airtime.
3. Ask for help.
Ditch the idea that you have to do it all yourself, and invest in the support you need to succeed. Get people on board with your idea. You might be able to rally people around you by investing in a few select mentors.
Every time I’ve faced a problem, such as a new customer wanting to see my past performance or testimonials from current customers, which I didn’t have in the beginning, I’ve looked to others for help. I’ve engaged in joint ventures and brought in outside business consultants. I’ve boldly approached numerous people to help me—that’s the way to success.
4. Do a survey of your personal finances.
Take a deep dive into your personal finances. Take on the role of an objective observer, and do a survey of your current situation. Fully understanding your personal situation is often critical in helping you understand what personal risks you’re willing to take. You will likely need to determine how much initial investment you'll need to launch. The more you can leverage your own assets rather than relying on outside funding, the more control you’ll have over your future.
5. Build your tribe.
In today’s overcrowded business environment, you can take advantage of social media to start connecting with customers and fans immediately. Content marketing can help you distinguish yourself from others in your industry if you focus on producing relevant, high-quality content. This can be a great addition to your company blog, Facebook page, website or even LinkedIn profile to help you build credibility with potential clients who haven’t realized they need you yet.
6. Own it.
It’s OK to look to others in your field for encouragement or motivation, but don’t compare yourself to them. Ignore the noise from everyone around you—even if that means going away for a weekend to unplug. This is your business, and you’re the one with the creative vision to follow.
Sumi Krishnan is the president and founder of K4 Solutions Inc. a consulting firm in Washington, DC, and a member of YEC, an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs.
Read more articles on leadership.
This article was originally published on December 24, 2014.