By Joni Foster
The first step to starting a business
One of the first questions I ask a new client is, “When do
you want to open your business? Tell me a date.”
I often get a blank look from my client. “I don’t know” is
not acceptable. We sit together and come up with a date because setting the
date makes things fall into place.
Once my client has said the date out loud, she often gets a
look on her face of excitement and terror at the same time. Excitement because it now sounds real. Terror
because she doesn’t know how to make it happen.
Once we make the goal, though, we can start making a plan. We
quickly start making a list of what must be done before that date arrives. The list
starts telling us other things like what she or he needs to buy and how much
money she needs to get started. If we need to adjust the date, that’s okay. We
just need to make a goal to get the process started.
Goals are aspirational destinations.
Goals are not what you have to do. Goals are how you know when you have arrived.
Goals tell you WHY you are doing what you are doing.
Plans are your best guess today on HOW you will get to your
goal. There are many “almost right” ways to get there and almost never “the
perfect way” to do it. There are a few “horribly wrong” ways to get there.
Horribly wrong ways are often great stories at a party five years from now.
Goals tells you the destination for your journey, but the
journey will only be fun if you stay flexible along the way. If this is your
first time on this journey, there is so much to see and do along the way. Set
up your journey so that you don’t have to be in a rush to get to your goal.
Fail fast, fail often, fail forward. You can’t start something new knowing how to
Your best advisor is someone who has done it before. They
can tell you all their mistakes so you don’t have to make them, too.
It has to be okay to make mistakes. That’s how we learn and
Research, plan and go!
My husband and I moved out to the country a few years back.
It was a very strange environment for us having lived in the city most of our
lives. But together we had dreamed of having our little plot of land and now
here we were. Pretty quickly, we
realized we didn’t know how to do all the things that this new environment
required. How do we build a chicken coop? How do we fix a leaky roof? How do we
keep critters out of the house?
Ten years later, here’s my recommendation for tackling new
- Research: Find local folk who know more than you
do; and use the internet to ask questions
- Plan: Lay out your plan including how much it’s
going to cost.
- Action: Just do it.
The last one has been the hardest for me, being a
perfectionist. I don’t want to start something new until I know exactly how to
do it. Thankfully, early on, my husband and I made a pact: we weren’t going to
let “not knowing” stop us from “doing”. We gave ourselves permission to fail.
I have learned to just start with what I know, make a bunch of mistakes, and do it again. We look around our property today and feel very proud at all the improvements we have made. I can also tell you stories about what didn’t work, but we had to do it wrong many times before we got it right.