It’s so easy to look at a thriving business that has been at it for 5, 10, 20 or more years and think that it always was that way. You see a well-oiled machine with a great product, staff that knows how to do their jobs, and customers lining up out the door. Strip all that away and go back to the time before it existed and there will always be a person with only an idea and a dream. Before taking action, this was me over 20 years ago.
Find your fun
As a recent college grad who couldn’t find her ideal job, I decided to bide some time and take a fun job at a local coffee shop. I loved every minute of it! Although I’ve never been a morning person, I got out of bed looking forward to the smells of the blueberry and hazelnut flavored coffees I would brew. I loved steaming up big foamy milk and making espresso drinks. Cleaning up and working hard satisfied my desire to get things done and do them well.
I knew back then that I wanted to have a shop of my own… Someday.
Finding my fun was the spark for my coffee shop dreams! Adapting some Marie Kondo wisdom, what is it that “sparks joy” in your heart?
Listen to your heart
Over the years, I started and stopped business planning more times than I can count. I always seemed to focus on planning and visualizing my concept — which is the easy part — but I never moved beyond to the more intense and difficult parts of business planning. Then I would always get discouraged and derailed anytime people would voice criticism about my desire to start a business.
- “You don’t really want to work in retail, do you?”
- “You’re going to be working ALL the time.”
- “That takes so much money; how will you afford it?
- “The economy is not good; it’s not the right time.”
Until one day, I stopped listening to all the other voices and started listening to my own heart. 💛
The message I kept hearing loud and clear was that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t have the courage to try. I decided that in the end, the worst thing would be regretting that I never went after my dream. That’s when things started to change!
Realizing that time is not unlimited can be very powerful because… Honey Child, we are not going to live forever!
Know how to get to the other side
So I began doing all the real work I was avoiding on my business plan — the difficult and messy stuff nobody really wants to tackle like financial projections, company policies, marketing plans, etc.
A question you may ask yourself when planning a business is “What are the tasks I’ve been avoiding that are necessary for me to complete in order to get to the other side?”
You DO want to get to the other side, don’t you?!
Then these are the things you should be working on! Start identifying the steps you’ll need to take. Be honest… you know what they are 🙂
Taking action on your idea & dream
I also committed to taking action and moving forward one step at a time. I made checklists and timelines, defined systems and protocols, put my hack graphic design skills to the test, and learned as much as I could about my industry, competition and the local market. I went to trade shows and tested products, talked to experts and played with coffee A LOT.
We small business owners need a breadth of knowledge in areas we may be clueless about. For me those included leasing, plumbing, design & layout, local ordinances and navigating Health Department requirements. Maybe you’re facing some of the same.
But first, Breathe!
It all gets done in due course, and once you get the ball rolling, you’ll often be naturally led to the next step. My advice is this:
*Take time to research and plan well.
*What is one small step you can take today to move you closer to your dream? Start with that!