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How to Start Something New
There is a thought that the best way to start something new is to just get going with it: leap in with both feet and then deal with the consequences as they appear. However, not everybody has the nerve to make that leap. Especially if your new thing is a fully-fledged business, which will probably take the bulk of your budget, skills and time. While building Beetroot, we’ve learned a few lessons that could help you or someone else in an entrepreneurial situation.
Share your ideas
Some say that when planning a new escapade you should keep it in secret until you succeed. It’s not only because of the superstitious belief that you won’t achieve your goals if you talk about them out loud. There is also a psychological explanation—sharing ideas makes us feel that we have already done something valuable, which decreases our actual efforts for doing something real.
However, our experience shows that there is hardly any compelling ground beneath this thought. Unless you’ve invented something unique, something which requires patenting, there is nothing wrong with sharing your ideas. On the contrary, talking to the right people can lead you in the right direction. Some of your interlocutors might have already been in your shoes and can advise you on the best way to implement your plans.
Pro tip: Talk your plan through with the relevant people. However, do not limit your efforts to mere chatting. Act twice as much as you talk.
Have a plan
Before diving headfirst into something new, it is advisable to have at least a general idea of what you are doing. Sounds obvious, but a lot of people stumble at this point.
There are two possible problems with planning. Some beginners take it way too easy, narrowing their efforts to mapping a place for the new office and choosing the colors of your future website. If we are talking about starting a successful business, you should go deeper than that—know your market, your audience and your competitors.
Another problem is tap-tapping around for too long. Frequently, someone doing it for the first time spends too much time on carving out every tiny detail of their business plan. After you’ve outlined the simplest blueprint of your future work, start acting. At Beetroot, we believe that there should be a red flag with this level of scrupulousness. Nobody knows enough at the early stages of creating a business and mistakes are always inevitable. The moral of the story? There is no sense in working too long on a detailed plan.
Pro tip: Craft a good plan, but don’t get too carried away with it. Business life—and life in general—is unexpected and you’ll definitely adjust your plan a couple of hundred times while hurtling along.
Learn to overcome fear
We are all afraid of the unknown. However, to succeed in your undertaking, you should learn to control your fear. Judging from my own experiences, the best weapon against uncertainty is rational thinking. When we were starting Beetroot, my greatest fear was wasting time and money. Trying to comfort myself, I looked at these problems through a logical prism. On the heels of this I realized that no matter how it goes I won’t be wasting time—I will be gaining experience. I won’t be wasting money—I will be investing in my future.
Pro tip: Fear is natural, but you need to control it. Take calculated risks and remember that nothing worth doing is easy.
Sometimes we fail. Unfortunately, failure is an inevitable part of starting something new. And after you fall down, it might be hard to pull yourself together—begin again! However, the success of your professional and even personal life depends on your ability to bounce back after failures. Take some time and don’t be too critical of yourself. There will be plenty of critics out there, so there is no need to join their club. Document everything that led you to the failure and try to think of another, more successful, scenario.
Pro tip: Use failure as a platform to gain experience and knowledge from which to start another project.
It is hard to underestimate the value of a great partner when starting something new. Business partners are meant to talk their ideas through and overcome the fears together. Partnerships do have their downsides, but I can’t think of any compelling reason to start a new business by your lonesome. What I can say from my own experience, is that your business partner shouldn’t have a similar thinking style. While you can understand each other, the more your way of thinking is different to that of your partner, the better. This will allow you to analyze situations from different perspectives and solve them more productively.
Pro tip: When starting a business, have no more than two partners, along with yourself, in your team. A bigger number of people will risk turning your brainstorming sessions into confusion.
Do your research, talk to people, but don’t get stuck in that phase. Actions will move you far more efficiently than simple words. But the most important thing to remember is to stay focused. When you begin something new and see that you are doing it well, you’ll probably be tempted to go further and start something else. Don’t get caught in that trap. As soon as you diffuse your efforts, your chances of failure will sky rocket. Perfect the path you’re traveling along and eventually your business will run a smooth and even course.