The Co-working Diaries

Do’s & Dont’s Before Starting Any Business


“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.”  –Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

Wouldn’t it be great if someone could give you a "to do" list when you were ready to start your company that would guarantee your success? Even better, what about a "not to do" list of things to avoid at all costs?

Many people feel that starting business is a very mysterious process! People are aware what a business is like and what are the steps to take, but there are few methods and dos and don’ts which people often forget while doing a business.

Here are few do’s and don’ts before you start a business:

1. Do’s

 Do keep an open mind. It’s been important to be flexible and stay open to the right opportunities that have come on your way. If you have a passion for learning something new, you’ll never be disappointed.

 Choose the right business for you: Side businesses generally fall into six primary categories: creating products, providing services, running a business, helping others, doing physical work and performing. Take time to do a self-assessment of your own talents, interests and skills to see what might work best for you, and where you're most likely to find customers.

 Do find a strong partner and support system. Having a partner who brings different strengths to the table is critical. Approach opportunities and issues from different directions, and those distinct perspectives are paramount to our success. Find mentors and others in your industries to help you brainstorm and vet your ideas.

 Do make time for networking. Identify industry events, professional organizations and conferences that can acquaint you with those who can further your business. You never know where you might meet your next mentor, investor, employee or customer. If networking isn’t your forte, find a strong partner or ally who can help represent your business.

 Do plan ahead. One of the most complex challenges of running a business is determining how to grow in a smart way – scaling at the appropriate rate, managing and growing people and deciding when to promote from within versus hiring externally. Success depends on looking into the future and gauging what you’ll need months and years down the road, not just what will meet your immediate needs.

 Do perfect your pitch. When networking or talking to investors, you must articulate your business idea quickly, clearly and concisely. Research the competitive landscape and market opportunities and understand the ins and outs of the financing you need.

2. DON’TS

 Don’t act hastily. Regardless of the issue, nothing is ever as extreme as anyone thinks it is, for better or worse. It’s important to take a breath, ask the right questions and get the full story before taking action. Taking the time to understand a situation completely is hard to do, but it’s always the most effective.

 Don’t be intimidated. It’s wrong always to assume that potential investors are more intelligent than you are simply because they are sitting on the other side of the table. Focus on being prepared, getting them excited about your business and presenting facts to support your claims.

 Don’t take no for an answer. Inevitably, you will hear “no” when running your own business. Don’t stop there – ask the person who says no to recommend whom you should approach next. If you believe in your business idea and your dream, keep networking and promoting your business.

 Do make time for networking. Identify industry events, professional organizations and conferences that can acquaint you with those who can further your business. You never know where you might meet your next mentor, investor, employee or customer. If networking isn’t your forte, find a strong partner or ally who can help represent your business.

 Do plan ahead. One of the most complex challenges of running a business is determining how to grow in a smart way – scaling at the appropriate rate, managing and growing people and deciding when to promote from within versus hiring externally. Success depends on looking into the future and gauging what you’ll need months and years down the road, not just what will meet your immediate needs.

 Don’t ignore what’s happening in your market. Businesses have always had to adapt to evolutionary change as production techniques and consumer preferences evolved. In recent years, rapid technological changes and globalization have made revolutionary change increasingly common. Failing to adapt can cause businesses to flounder.

 Don’t rely on external financing. External financing from lenders such as banks and other investors can be helpful later on, but relying on it for your business plan when you’re just starting up is never a good idea.

So go out there and get your business going!

Mallika Mishra