You most likely have been working with someone or better yet for someone up until the point where you have decided that you want to venture out on your own and now you are at this point, the edge of the void so to speak. You want to be your own Boss. You want to set your own schedule and work when you want to. However you think everything will be when you leave your current job to do your own thing, reality it might just blow you away.
Let me explain. For most of us, we have a special set of skills, let's say a contractor. Now even in being a contractor, you will have a bunch of smaller skills that enables you to be a contractor and even still what kind of contractor are you? For the sake of argument, you are a general contractor for residential building. That's a nice even job title. Let's say that for years you have worked your butt off, learning and growing your skill set. You have a good round general ability to build most things on a home. If there is something special that needs to be built, you can call in a specialist, a sub. That sub does the work that you don't want to do or you decide it's worth the time and money to have someone else do it. This reference is two fold. Being a general contractor is the job you are seeking, but running a business in many ways is a lot like being a general contractor. There are many facets of running a business you will have to do and learn how to do.
Back to starting your business! You are a contractor and you want to start your own small business, spread your wings. So here we go. Let's start with the most basics; A Company Name, A phone Number and You. You have the basic components to be in business but to get into the nitty gritty, you have to go beyond this in our 2019 digital world.
Here is the simple basics to get your business up and running:
The above list is really the basics. You can get by without a website, without email and even without registering your business name with the state, but things can get complicated quickly without some of the other basics. Lets go back to you being a contractor. In order for you to get a client, you will either need to put it out there to your friends and family that you are now doing this type of work, or you will have to run an ad of some kind. A small ad on craigslist might do the trick. So you put your name and phone number out there and list a few things you can do. You get a call. They want you to remodel a small bathroom. GREAT! You're off to the races.
Hey wait, slow down. We have a couple things to handle first. You haven't got the job yet.
So you schedule a meeting to give an estimate, free of course for the customer. Once you get to the house and introduce yourself you don't have a business card to give them. They have your number, there is no need, right? Maybe. You see the other business cards on the kitchen table for contractors that have come and given them an estimate. That's ok, stay confident, you got this.
So you start talking to the client about what they want and you can guess about what things should cost, or do you? You can't do materials yet until the homeowner chooses something, so you can only generalize labor for what they want to do in their bathroom.
You tell them you will take some pictures and measurements and get back to them.
Sounds like a solid plan. The client is asking if you can email them a quote.
Sure, you tell them, and you ask what their time frame is to get the project done. They are ready in two weeks and want to have a week of time to work out the design and materials.
OK you have some breathing room. You can work out a quote on your computer in word or excel and send it over to them. You have a personal email and that should be ok for now.
Now let's stop for a minute and examine this situation. Everything I have just described is based on the assumption that you have a computer, you know how to put an estimate together, you can create some sort of contract for the homeowner and you can do all of this in a week before they want to start their project. Not to mention, you will have to do the work. When it's done, you will need to get paid and then start the process over again. You may not have another job lined up for you when you are done and you will have to do some light marketing or maybe run a simple ad. Either way, you have your work cut out for you.
Like the title of this blog says, Do What You Do Best. Starting a business can be daunting and you will have to wear many hats and you will have to work way more hours than you ever thought possible. When you worked for someone else, you didn't take the work home with you or at least most of the times you don't.
Find your strengths in this process, learn that you may be good at certain aspects of "running of the business" and you can start to hone in on what those strengths are. The ones you can't handle on your own, you will need to work on finding someone you can hire to get those things done. Either way, this is a process. Understanding what you do best is sometimes realizing that you have a service that you want to offer that will be better than your competitors and you may need to work on providing that service and do what you can to build your business while realizing that you will need some help and guidance to get some of the basics done. One important fact, yes fact, you can't do it all on your own. Asking for help is absolutely imperative to growing a small business
Tim wrote a blog about the spark. It's this passion and determination and grit that launches a business off the ground.
Sometimes you may not really know how to get the things done that you need to and I'll tell you, most of the time, if your resourceful, you can find the information you need to at least get you in the right direction, but in this blog, my hope is to help guide you along the way. Give you the road map for what might be some good guideposts to get you down the road.
If you're still thinking, "yeah, I got this!", that's fantastic. Its that exact mojo that makes it go!
In the next few blog articles we will go through the basic list of getting a small business off the ground in detail and hopefully through this list I can make some of the larger hairier tasks seem smaller and more manageable.
Until next time…