Lachlan's quick tips for starting a business

Starting a business is what I would consider the single hardest phase of entrepreneurship for most people. Starting out a life of potential self-employment is incredibly daunting and can seem complex from the outside looking in. The best way you can overcome this is by simplifying entrepreneurship in order to get kick started. My quick tips for starting a business are as follows:

  1. Consider your strengths - what do you do at work, what are your hobbies/passions, what would people say are your redeeming qualities

  2. Choose your weapon - what product or service do you want to provide, in what format will you deliver it?

  3. Reach out to your network - approach your closest family and friends and ask them to refer you your first customer.

  4. Get three paying customers - if referrals alone are not enough, literally cold call/email/letterbox drop. Who is your client and where can you access a population of customers that would likely need what you are offering?

  5. Service your first three customers - go above and beyond to make sure they have a positive experience

Do these first steps and then worry about the next set of questions like how to expand, where to market or how to properly structure the business.

Until you have verified your product or service with your first paying customers,any questions other than the first five above are simply distractions.

When starting a business, separate short-term cash flows from long-term cash flows

There is a strategy that I have seen very rarely discussed in entrepreneurial advice that I think is a critical driver for long term success of new businesses. This strategy involves developing a plan for both short-term and long-term cash flows.

There are a number of reasons why this is so important.

1. It is easy to see the long-term big picture, but harder to see the little steps needed to be taken to get there.

So many start ups have founders that have a big dream. It's easy to see yourself at the head of a corporate table delivering your biannual marketing strategy for your ingenious invention you created many years ago. It's more difficult to envision yourself scraping together short-term finance in order to afford to produce a minimum viable product which only MIGHT recuperate your initial investment, let alone the time spent. Creating a short-term cash flow goal allows the steps to become more clear on your path to the big time

2. Motivation can get stifled when not seeing financial return for reward.

It is incredibly difficult to spend 20 hours a week outside of your regular 9-5 if your business is earning no income. It's only natural for your passion to decrease dramatically if you don't see results in the early stages. A short-term cash flow can also provide you with a form of metric to assess current results while maintaining long-term goals.

3. You deserve to reap the benefits of your work today, as well as in the future.

For the most successful entrepreneurs, the peak of their success is always at some point in the future. The notion is that the hard work put in today will pay off at a later point in time. This rings true for everyone, including yourself if you maintain your work ethic and drive. For this reason, it's also valuable to include some short-term benefits or cash flow objectives so as to benefit the you of today. If you can live your best life today, this will give you the greatest sense of fulfillment and also have a compounding affect on the output you can achieve.

If you've got a business in mind, or are just starting out, what do you think are the best ways that you can immediately monetize your idea so as to separate short-term cash flows from long-term cash flows.