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4 Must-Have Lists to Make Before Starting Your Business

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Owning a business is your best move toward achieving financial and job security!

I want your business to be everything you want and need it to be. So before you do anything else after determining your why, the recommended next step is assessing your personal and business considerations. It’s a simple 4-step process, described below.

I know you desperately want to spring ahead, but you must have something to fall back on when you hit the inevitable bumps in the road. This exercise gives you that.

STEP 1:

List all your special needs and any critical requirements that must be met by the business in order to make it work for you and fit your lifestyle. Whatever is most important to you or on your “wish” list, put it here now.

(Regardless of how much money you eventually make in your business, if these requirements are not met, you will not experience joy and, instead of loving your work, you will quickly grow to hate it. You would then be putting your health and most important relationships at risk — no amount of success is worth any of that.)

For example: scheduling flexibility so you can meet family needs, low start-up costs, product must be something you can create yourself, the web site must one you can maintain on your own, no travel because you hate airplanes, etc.

STEP 2:

Next, write down everything that makes your absolute yes list.

(These are your “must haves” that compensate you for the sacrifices you will ultimately make for your business and the “will dos” you are prepared to commit to taking on to make your business happen.)

For example: not working on Mondays, taking time off between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to be at home with your family, reserving the use of one of your credit cards for business only expenses, being willing to fire any client or person who doesn’t share your core values, and other things like this that are meaningful to you.

STEP 3:

After that, list everything you can live with and without temporarily for the sake of your business.

(This puts a face on the reality that sacrifices will be required to start your business and it keeps you from paying too high a price for pursuing financial independence by running your own business.)

For example: how much profit are you willing to share, what percentage of equity will you give up to investors, what luxuries will you forgo to redeploy the cash to support your business, to what extent will you change your current lifestyle to make this happen, and so on.

STEP 4:

Finally, create your absolute no list.

(These are the showstoppers and deal breakers that create conscious boundaries around what you will not accept or tolerate to achieve business success.)

For example: put a number to the maximum amount of debt you’ll take on, hours per week you’ll work, number of days you are willing to travel. Be very clear about your showstoppers!

It is vitally important to identify personal needs first. As you’ll see in future exercises, this is going to be a recurring theme. Any business you create that doesn’t support you and your own needs is not going survive long-term. You will quickly come to resent the demands it makes of you.

That’s it for today. Take all the time you need. Leave nothing off your lists. Otherwise, you’ll only be short-changing yourself. And regardless of what might happen in the coming year, always remember this:

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. — Charlotte Bronte

More next time. Until then, remember to LOVE YOUR WORK, whatever it may be.

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