vision boardSTARTING UP A BUSINESS can be a real challenge.

Let me revise that.

For most people, we struggle with what it takes.  But I met a guy this week who’s started up so many ventures that it boggles the mind.  And many, if not most, were quite successful.

He’s that “serial entrepreneur” that we tend to laud and admire.

But for the rest of us mortals, there’s a lot to be scared by.  We’re usually taking significant financial risk, we’re leaving a predictable income, and following a passion to build something on our own.  Lots of people “helpfully” remind us that we’ll probably fail.

I’ve found that there are some solid principles to help get through the scary bits.

First, be thankful for what you have.  We’re living in a time of great opportunity, and you have more resources at your disposal than 90% of the people on the planet.  You probably live in a country with some social supports should everything absolutely fall apart, but it’s unlikely you’ll get to that stage.  Why?  Because you’re learning as fast as you can and using your brain to make intelligent decisions.  You’re reading a blog from a business coach, for heaven’s sake!

Second, use as a touchstone that purpose and vision that drives your passion.  Make a vision board if that helps you.  Or a powerful mission statement.  But make it meaningful, something which gets you out of bed in the morning.

Third, reframe mistakes and setbacks as learning opportunities.  This might feel like mental gymnastics and positivity run amok, but I’m absolutely serious.  When your top customer leaves and puts a serious dent in your financials, it’s time to learn from a bunch of powerful questions:

  • What will we do differently next time our customer relationship management?
  • Should we shoot for a different balance of accounts, not relying so much on any one?
  • Will we try to replace this customer with a similar one, or is this an opportunity to do something different?

Fourth, it’s good to remember that it’s not all about you.  Sure, this is your business and you’ve put your heart and soul into it.  But there’s seven billion other people on the planet who have needs and desires as well, and they’re not there to serve you.  So be modest, serve your customers and employees, add value to the world, and you’ll probably do just fine.  At the end of your life, you don’t get to take your business with you, so just do your best to make a difference and then let the world continue on.

It’s all about perspective.