Take Away the Fear

Starting a business can be a scary proposition. But if you take five key steps, there’s a way to take away the fear.

1. Research. Knowledge about your market, your targeted customers, your advantage, and your competition can provide you with clarity — and position you to be decisive about your opportunity.

2. Protect Your Idea. Go to www.uspto.gov to learn about what steps you can take to protect your idea. If you haven’t yet, contact a reputable intellectual property attorney to walk you through what the process is for applying for a patent or registered trademark.

3. Start Part-Time. Instead of making the leap from your current job to running your own startup “cold turkey,” consider keeping your job for security and start your business on the side part-time. This will help you avoid taking unnecessary risks and it will ease the transition financially.

4. Outsource. To keep the complexity of your startup to a minimum, consider outsourcing functions like accounting, payroll, information technology, public relations and more. You might even want to outsource manufacturing, packing and shipping, and sales. Keep your strongest skills and most strategic activities—perhaps things like design, marketing, and/or customer interaction—in-house.

5. Be Willing to Fail. Come to terms with the fact that the best entrepreneurs fail. But if you’re smart you can limit those failures to small battles along the way. The key is to win the war! Know that failure is something that’s just part of business—as it is in life—and that you can work through those failures on your way to success.