I always think of starting a business in the same way I consider what it takes to grow a healthy plant. You have to sow the seed, provide the right environment, feed it, fertilize the soil, let the roots develop and presto! — one day you’ll see amazing shoots sprout up from the soil.
The work that goes on below the soil is the secret. A seed is steadily growing and takes time to develop. But once those first shoots spring up it’s a balance of watering and supporting its growth.
Similarly, when a farmer plants new seed, he doesn’t turn up in the field the next day and expect to see a full crop of corn. He realizes the principle of seed, time and harvest. He must water, nurture and tend the seeds until they sprout and grow.
Starting a business is strikingly similar.
If you have an idea, passion and a will to change the status quo, then you should also have the drive to stick it out in the long-term. Here’s a look at lessons I’ve learned while growing my business.
1. Find your passion and turn it into profit
If you have a passion for social change or to create a product that makes a difference, then it will show up day after day in your business. You’ll take the hard knocks, setbacks, and rejections. Then you’ll move on to other routes of opportunity. This is how a sustainable business and brand grows over time. Passion is the soil that that every great idea must be planted in.
2. Keep sharing your authentic, true story
Share your story and focus on your ‘why‘. Your audience wants to know what the actual difference is in buying your product or using your service versus a competitor … and how it will empower and change their lives. Focus on being transparent, authentic and human and your business will stride forward into the limelight.
3. Slow and steady brings a harvest
It’s often said that a founder will overestimate what they can achieve in year 1 and underestimate what can be achieved by year 5. Build your business like a strong pyramid; create a sturdy, reliable base on which to rest the future upon.
The beauty of being a small business or first-time entrepreneur is that you can change direction and be agile much quicker than slow-moving behemoths riddled by red tape. Think of a river – it’s always flowing in the same direction, but on occasions water drifts and diverts. It flows around obstacles, but never changes it’s direction of flow.
4. There are lonely seasons
When you take the entrepreneurship route and launch a business it can be a lonely ride. Initially the idea of working from your home office or the workspace of your choice can seem like perfection. But human beings are made for connection – it’s just how we are wired.
Over time you’ll crave the interaction, shared ideas and collaboration with others (something that is key to maintaining an open mind).
Make sure you find a business bestie, create a remote team or find group of people that form the basis of your personal support network. They keep you grounded, offer a new perspective and above all will keep you sane. And remember …
“An idea never starts out great – it grows into a great idea.” – Susan Hay, Editor of Thrive Magazine
This article has been edited and condensed.
After a high-pressured career in the corporate world as a Design and Brand Manager — and her own challenging journey with food — Susan Hay escaped the rat race and went free range. She re-trained in holistic nutrition, established ‘Thrive Design & Publishing’, and is the editor and founder of Thrive Magazine (not to mention, a published co-author of the Dial-a-Guru series with Pen Craft Books). Through design, social media and publishing Thrive Media champions great ethical products, brands and companies who are on a mission to make a difference and to make the world a healthier place for everyone . Connect with @ThriveFeelAlive on Twitter.