I started my first business when I was 10.
Now, that’s young – whichever way you look at it. I used to sell music CDs. You see, back in the day, having your favorite tunes, assembled in one CD, playing in your order of preference, was a big deal!
I saw an opportunity and took advantage of it.
I went to college, completed my bachelor’s degree, and started my first “real” business – a travel agency. Over the years, I’ve learned invaluable lessons about starting a service business from scratch and propelling it to success.
The point is – it makes perfect sense to start a business when you’re young. Sure, not everyone is born an entrepreneur. But, if you have a knack for business, the earlier you take the plunge, the better.
Some of the most renowned entrepreneurs launched their businesses before hitting 30. Yup! We’re talking about the likes of Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs, to mention but a few.
And you don’t have to know everything – start with one plan and evolve with it.
There are ground rules, though.
Here’s a rundown of what you need to do to set a thriving service business.
Do the Math; It’ll Help you Avoid Common Pitfalls
A whopping 8 out of 10 startups fail within the first 18 months of operation, according to Statistic Brain Research Institute. Now, that’s a mind-boggling 80% crash and burn.
One of the reasons new businesses fail is inadequate financing. You must, therefore, determine your source of funding before you start. In other words, your source of capital is as essential as any other decision.
Indeed, turning down money doesn’t sound like a good idea, especially if your business is in its initial stages. But, you have to be aware that there are a hundred and one ways to fund your service startup – the only difference is that they aren’t all equal.
A bank loan, for instance, can get you started. On the flip side, however, you have must have collateral. On the other hand, if you can persuade potential investors that your idea is noble, there’s a probability of securing a venture capital investment.
In short, you should vet your source of capital and partners before starting your business. Who are your possible partners? What value do they bring onboard? Can they help you make connections that’ll enable you to take your startup to the next level?
You’re Better Off with a Mentor by your Side
I was lucky to have a “business background” before I started my company. Even then, I got a mentor. Do you know why? Well, because I figured out that I need someone aware of the challenges I’m most likely to encounter.
So, before you venture all out, find an industry insider to guide you through. Think of your mentor as someone to fill in your shortcomings and, most importantly, assist you in making informed decisions.
Be on the Right Side of the Law
There are no two ways about this – you must have all the required licensing and certification before you start your service business.
Familiarize yourself with the local regulations to avoid running into trouble down the line. Determine the legal structure of your service business. After all, it’ll have an impact on things such as your liability and tax.
One more thing,
Hire an intellectual property lawyer to look at your proposal.
The Bottom Line
Yes, the service industry is complex, whether you’re an IT startup or travel agency trying to position yourself for success. It’s challenging even to determine where to begin.
You have to do more than research on the demand for your product. Seek to solve a problem to stand out from the crowd. In other words, never make a mistake of starting a business before you’ve analyzed what it really takes to succeed. Do your homework!
Oh and, start a mission. Keep improving your product and creating a loyal customer base.