EXCERPTS from “Why Your Business Won’t Grow” a forthcoming How to book for minority entrepreneurs by kevRoss
I’ve been in business now for 17 years. I’ve been very lucky because it’s been estimated that up to 85% of new businesses fail within the first four years or less. Some studies state as high as 60% of new businesses fail within the first year. During the past two decades, I have seen many examples of why small businesses fail and succeed and I’d like to share a few tips for those of you who are considering diving in and trying your own business. These are the MUST haves and the MUST dos.
Have you ever been in love? REAL LOVE? The kind that makes you forget the rest of the world exists and EVERYTHING is about the other person? You can talk on the phone for hours to them but it seems like minutes? You leap out of bed ready to take on the day with a huge smile on your face because you’re experiencing true happiness? Unfortunately, for most, this feeling is temporary but not if you own your own business. Why? Because business is the SAME WAY! “Do what you LOVE and the money will Come” is exact and true. What is it that you LOVE to do, that you could do ALL DAY, that when you are doing it, it feels like you are not working? There’s your potential business!
You Have a Budget
Rules are VERY different for minority business owners. We don’t often have the rich family members or the father that came home after his workday at the top ad agency to talk about his day at the dinner table while the maid serves steak to everyone but many of us have been fortunate enough to see entrepreneurs in our family. The aunt that owned a beauty shop, the uncle that owned a repair shop. The grandmother that owned a restaurant etc. I would STRONGLY suggest not taking out loans if you don’t have to for two reasons: I don’t like dealing with middlemen, they can rob you of your passion and make you change your mind and it’s always best to start off NOT owing someone. It ALWAYS helps if you have money stashed to start your own business because you start off is the same way you do business and the way you end it. If you start of begging, your entire business will most likely be based on you begging. If you have to beg people to convince them of your value, you are in the wrong business. They should SEE the value.
You Have Vision…
I am surrounded by other entrepreneurs or people who are on their way to being entrepreneurs. We attract each other and most of my closest friends are entrepreneurs. I have a friend who loved to experiment with cheesecakes. He worked for the gas company for his full time gig but he would do things like make Peach Cobbler Cheesecake, German Chocolate Cheesecake, Cheesecake Pound Cake, Oatmeal Raisin Cheesecake and even Sweet Potato Cheesecake. People would go NUTS over those Cheesecakes and he started taking them to work and his coworkers would offer him up to $30.00 to make them ONE of his Cheesecakes. Before he knew it, he had to rent a kitchen and he was making at least 50 Cheesecakes a weekend as word spread. He LOVED doing it and he became a better person while he was doing it. He wasn’t bound by the work grind and the stress he had to often face working with broken gas lines in the field. Who could be passionate about that? To make a long story short, he was also not comfortable with the lack of security he felt he would have without a full time job. I along with several other entrepreneur friends tried to convince him that he could triple and even quadruple his current income and have continued growth over the next five years that would make him incredibly successful but he did not have VISION. He let the opportunity pass him by.
Are you ORIGINAL?
Doing what someone else does because you have the same contacts or you see that they are making money may work for a while but if you are not churning out the same quality product that they can you will eventually fail. If your business is based on mimicking what someone else does, it’s NOT time to start your own business, it’s time to either do a better job or think of something else. The greatest part of being an entrepreneur is the passion that you AND ONLY YOU have for what you do.
Do People Keep Coming Back?
One of the GREATEST signs that you are able to start your own business is if whatever it is that you do has the same clients coming back for more WITHOUT you calling them. Your clients are the best friends to your business. If you have been in business for more than 3 years and you don’t have at LEAST one or two MAJOR clients, something is wrong. Prospects are not seeing the value of what it is that you do.