Souky Souky

Step Eight: Set a Date

Starting a BusinessEllen Dittmar

If you have made it this far in the starting a business process, we need to first pause and take a minute to reflect. You have come so far. Seriously! Go back and look. Revisit your earliest photos, logos and/or business names. Look at the many versions of your business plan. Take a peek at your brainstorming scribbles. And look where you are now! All of that...every little thing...was YOU just taking one foot and placing it decisively in front of the other. It just goes to show that even small steps take you places.

With 3,576,998 things left to do to get your business up and running, I think it is easy to overlook all of the things you have already crossed off. It is easy to just focus on what still needs to be done and forget that you have already accomplished so much! Especially when you start looking around and it feels like everyone else in the world is further along than you are.

I get it. As I write these words, I can say that I am "there" now. I have to keep reminding myself that I didn't start this business so that I could just get it done. That is not my end goal. I wanted to enjoy the process. Every little step. When I look at it like that, I feel enormously fulfilled and proud! Here I am...a 40-year-old wife, mom and full-time teacher....and I am doing it. It is not perfect and I have so much to learn but I am slowly but surely getting closer to that mountaintop of a goal.

And if I can do it, I promise you...you can too!

Okay now that that little pep talk is out of the way lets talk next steps. The next step is to choose a date to launch your sweet little business. It is as simple as looking at your calendar and selecting a date to open your doors to the public. Then, you work backward. What steps do you need to take each week to make sure that you will be ready for your launch?

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When choosing your launch date, consider three things:

  1. Reality
  2. The Perfection Trap
  3. Your Success Rate

The first thing you need to consider is the real-life logistics that need to be in place before you launch. If you are sourcing your items from Timbuktu, you need to make sure you will have said items on hand well before you open your doors. Duh! So give yourself a realistic window to get your business properly set up before you launch.

The second thing you need to consider is that you will probably never feel "ready" to launch. Your business will probably never feel "perfect". And if you wait until it is perfect, you may just be waiting forever. So...yes...give yourself a realistic time-frame to set up the core components of your business but don't fall into the perfection trap. Accept that your business is going to be a constant work in progress.  And then jump.

The last thing you might want to consider when choosing a launch date is your potential success rate. Try and choose a date that gives you the highest potential rate of success. If you are opening an ice cream shop in Vermont, maybe you don't want to open on January 28? Just a thought.  Even if your product is amazing and people will eventually buy it, they might not want it in the dead of winter. And that could leave you feeling a little deflated and unmotivated. Instead, aim for a date that will let you get a glimpse of what your business could be on the best day. Build momentum. A little success out the gate may be just to boost you need to reach a little higher.

Once you have your date, make a gigantic to-do list. Work backward and start allocating each task to a given week or day leading up to your launch.

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Maybe it is the teacher in me but there is nothing more helpful than a well thought out to-do list. And there is seriously nothing more gratifying than crossing items off your list! I freaking LOVE it!

So off you go....set yourself a date! Etch that date in stone and commit! You got this!