Many of us have dreams of starting our own business. And often time these dreams are just that: dreams. But they don’t have to be! You can get up and do something to make your dreams a reality. Today.
But I’m busy, you might say. I have a family, a mortgage, a headache… Well, let me tell you, now might not be the right time to start a business. But tomorrow is definitely the wrong time. Never
is the wrong time.
Jacob Hill, creator of Offploy – a specialist ex-offender HR company in the construction, retail, manufacturing, healthcare and education sectors – shares my view. Jacob recently wrote an article
discussing why we should all stop making excuses and give it a go.
On paper, Jacob had every reason to give up on his dreams: he was an ex-offender carrying a constant little voice of self-doubt in the back of his head telling him ‘it was never going to work’. He was also carrying (and is probably still carrying) the worst voice that many entrepreneurs battle with… The one that whispers ‘you’re a fake’ or ‘they will find out you’re not any good’.
Rather than lock himself in his room and stay in bed, Jacob reached out to his support network who helped him find the courage to stop making excuses and just give it go. As a result, Offploy has since partnered with Milton Keynes College
, and had four other great organisations come on board to apply for the company’s first government grant.
Here’s Jacob’s advice to not only get your first sale but remove those demons from your shoulder telling you you’re not good enough.
1. Start talking about your idea
Start with your friends but don’t stop there; go further afield and start discussing your idea with people you work with or perhaps people you don’t usually talk to. Let them know your idea and use this process to neaten your pitch down to a couple of minutes. If you can describe what your business does or will do in one or two sentences, it will stand you in good stead when picking up the phone to potential clients.
2. Create a wish list of potential clients
Have a think about your dream clients. Who are they? What do they do? Jacob used his local business magazine to find the top 250 employers in his local area and chose 55 he wanted to be using his company’s services. Having a list like this gives you a tangible goal to work towards.
3. Ask for referrals
Speak to your support network and see if they know anyone on your list. Being introduced to a potential client through a mutual contact is by far the best way of meeting someone new.
4. Pick up the phone
You could spend the rest of your life preparing yourself to talk to potential clients, but picking up the phone and actually speaking to them is the best way of actually finding out if you’re on to a winner. Do your research on whom you want to be dealing with. Don’t go in at CEO level unless it’s through a referral, as no receptionist in the world would forward a cold call to the top. It’s always better to have a department you want to speak with in mind, and even better, a person’s name in that department. You’ll also become really good at sidestepping the gatekeepers who are eager to fob you off with an email address!
5. And finally… Ask for help
Asking for help is the single most important thing you can do to ensure you and your businesses are here in years to come. Quick chats with your support network help more than you might think as you can call and confide in them, and they can rely on you too. It is so important to have those around you who have your best interests at heart and people who you trust completely.
So are you making excuses? Are you giving it a go? Make today the day you say ‘yes’ to the latter.