The Very First Thing You Need To Do to Start Your Own Company in Construction, Development, or Real Estate
Many of us have the dream to start our own businesses. But how? There are so many things to do, from finding clients to handling the accounting to hiring a team. Then there are the doubts. "How do I start something new while still working full time? How do I keep my income going? What if I can't find new business or make a go of this?" The details and unknowns can stop us--or, at least, delay us--from pursuing our dream.
Good news: there is a way.
Go Have Coffee
To get real traction on starting a business--no matter where you are now--just have coffee (or any other socially acceptable beverage). 50 coffees, to be precise.
In his article, How 50 Cups of Coffee Can Change Your Life, Peter Thompson describes how he launches a new business idea by first committing to having a conversation over coffee with 50 different people. As odd as it may sound, the method works and has several benefits.
Benefit 1: You can start immediately. No need to have a full business plan. No need to have all 50 people lined up. Make a small list of people you already know and book some coffees. Get insights about what you business can look link and what some good next steps would be. Get guidance to other people to have coffee with.
Benefit 2: You will make progress. You need not act on every idea you hear but some of the ideas will make sense to act on right away. You will know because they will be both easy and exciting to do. Act on what makes sense, come up with new questions to ask your coffee mates, and book your next round of coffees..
Benefit 3: You will gather a "board of advisors". No one can succeed alone. Even the most iconic entrepreneurs are not soloists. Your 50 Coffees program will help you meet a crew of people to help. Some of the people you speak with will care more, be more encouraging, and want to stay in touch. This core group will be you initial board of advisors, a loosely formed group of people of whom you can ask more detailed questions as you go.
Benefit 4: You will gather steam. Most of launching and running a successful business is a mental game. In addition to the practical advice and connections, your 50 Coffees program will build your confidence and propel you.
Here are some tips that will make your 50 Coffees program easier.
- Yes, 50. Commit to having (at least) 50 such meetings. Most people see solid progress after 12 or 15 coffees, which is encouraging. But committing to and conducting 50 coffees will give you a much more solid foundation and build up a stronger momentum.
- Make it easy for them. Most people will happily book time with you if you make it easy for time. Be flexible with timing or offer them 3 or 4 options for times and dates that would work.
- Track it. In a notebook or spreadsheet, keep track of who you met, when, what ideas they had, who they referred you to, and (important--see below) what they are currently working on. Use your sheet to help you book, follow up on, and act on the ideas from your meetings.
- Remember: people want to help. Many think that they can't ask others to meet for coffee. "They are too busy, they won't want to be bothered, they may not know enough to be comfortable helping," they say. The truth is that most people want to help. You asking for their insights and guidance make them feel great. It's a win-win.
- You may be able to help them, too. As you meet more and more people, you will invariably hear something from one of your coffee mates that could help another. Make it a point to ask every coffee mate: "What are you up to at work and home?" and "As I meet more and more people, I may bump into people who you might like to connect with. Would you be open to introductions like this?" When such happy collisions happen, make the intro via an email, call, or meeting.
- Be ready when you find a Negative Nelly. Some people you meet with will be less helpful or encouraging. About 15-50% of people will be having a bad day or will just be pessimistic. Don't take their negativity to heart. Think of them as whetstones to help you sharpen your sense of confidence about what your business will be.
- Take the next step. These meetings will give you lots of ideas. The good ones will feel good, exciting. If you get an idea that feels like a big struggle, a big weight, a big "hafta do," pass. Learning what you don't want to do is just as important as what you will do.
In a much shorter time than you imagine, your 50 Coffees program will help you launch a new business. Or--just as good--it will help discover for certain that launching a business isn't right for you now and give you a solid plan for what is right.
Either way, you got this.
Today's photo courtesy of Eric E Castro