I am sure that many of you have had an idea for a business, and dreamed of taking that leap from not “working for the man!” to be your own boss. For me, this wasn’t my dream… I was at a job where I did not like changes being made and saw a need that I could fill. I am in health care, and don’t know the first thing about business. I think this nativity actually worked in my favor. There are likely many reasons that you have kept your own dream from becoming a reality… It’s not easy, I won’t sugar coat it, but it is possible!
First off, I am not an expert in business. Far from it. But I did take the leap, and have sought out what bare minimum resources I needed to start a small business. I am a physical therapist, and I am confident in my physical therapy skills. I have a Doctorate degree, and hoped this was enough education to get my company off the ground. I was met with a world that gave me many more questions than answers.
After a year and a half of plugging along, I entered a “pitch contest.” This is a competition where entrepreneurs present their business plan to investors just as you would if you were asking for money, but instead you get advice and practice to help for the live version of Shark Tank. Through this process, I realized just how little I knew about the business world, and attributed this lack of knowledge as the reason for my business’ slow growth. During an orientation meeting, the competitors were asked if anyone was working with an incubator… I naively looked around for the genius helping neonates! I didn’t know how to calculate my return on investment, or even what churn meant. If you feel as lost as I did, don’t fret and don’t give up on your idea!
What was my solution to speed up my learning? To get my MBA. With a concentration in Entrepreneurship. This is an expensive and time consuming solution, it’s not for everyone. I am learning much more about the business world than I could have imagined, and the entrepreneur classes are interesting. However, much of the focus is on finding investment, and how to present to investors, and how to structure the deals you are seeking. The other part, the actual building of the business, such as budgeting, planning staffing and monitoring growth metrics, is what you are guided through with assignments… It was an interesting dichotomy to me. I am bootstrapping my business, as I am sure many people plan to do (at least in the beginning.) Even if you choose to seek investment, don’t you need a proven concept to bring to them? So I thought I would share the steps I have taken, and the tips I have learned through my personal journey for anyone else who doesn’t know the first step to take to make the leap. I will do my best to answer any questions you might have.