I recently went on my very first camping trip.
The Rocky Mountain National Park is BEAUTIFUL in September, and I was so excited about experiencing on of my favorite places on earth in very “back to nature” way.
New to camping, I wasn’t sure exactly what to bring, so I did a little “googling”, checked out Bass Pro, and decided to tackle this adventure with a “trial or error” strategy.
My lack of adequate gear erred a lot more on the “error” side…
I’d packed dog beds but forgot my air mattress pump.
Had included the camel back, but not the first aid kit.
And made a point to bring my large DSLR camera (with tripod—for those tricky panoramic landscape series) but no lighter.
Ended up calling it a scratch, and finding a last minute pet-friendly hotel.
Starting your first business can sometimes go a little like my camping trip.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the great outdoors, that we minimize the risks involved, and overlook a couple essential steps of preparation (like a lighter).
As the old adage goes, “If you don’t prepare to succeed, you are preparing to fail!”
Good news – you have everything you need to prepare to succeed.
The resources are out there; you just have to put forth the effort to explore and research the information you need to ensure your business is a success.
Adam Rivette, Barrel Backers Co- founders says, “Learn as much as you can from others before jumping in and starting your own business. It’s not as glamorous as current news sources would have you believe, but if it is your calling, then there’s no better place to be.”
While every business is unique, and every industry has its own set of “quirks”, here are four resources I use to make sure I’m prepared for my next business venture:
A lot of entrepreneurs will work in their desired industry prior to striking out of their own. Learning on someone else’s dime can be great way to minimize your cost of education, while getting the experience necessary to succeed on your own. Such intern opportunities can be super helpful, especially if your chosen business involves technical or trade aspects that may not simply be developed from reading a guidebook or talking to others.
I love hearing from aspiring entrepreneurs. Hearing their passions, and assisting them in turning their dreams into reality, validates everything I do. There are a lot of fellow entrepreneurs out there that share my “give back” interest.
Identify a few interesting peeps in your industry and ask them how they did it. Books and coursework are great, but gleaning candid insight straight from the source – invaluable. Who knows, maybe they’ll even agree to mentor you through your entrepreneur journey, or help you identify additional educational opportunities.
As a college professor + MBA grad, I feel somewhat obliged to say, “take some business courses!” However, taking a couple college classes (Like Accounting 101) doesn’t work for everyone’s schedule or learning style.
In today’s information saturated world, there are a TON of resources available to suit everyone’s educational needs – podcasts, conferences, articles, blogs, videos, online courses, books, etc. Find whatever works for you, and dive in!
Trial & Error
Every entrepreneur will make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of the trial and error process. Yes, making mistakes can be a big pain (+ costly), but it’s often from these mistakes that we glean valuable (and oft times, unforgettable) knowledge. Recognizing that not all your business decisions are going to be spot on, budget for the trial and error period. Designate a cash reserve – some sort of a cushion to help you tackle the unexpected. Mistakes happen to everyone; the smart ones PREPARE for them.