By Per Wickstrom
I know a lot of people in America want to start their own business. I certainly did, and have done so many times. America is a great country for entrepreneurship, and what better way to live the American dream than to open one’s very own business? Owning your own business can present you with an unmatched level of enjoyment in creating your own game and your own goals and ambitions.
After working for many different companies that specialized in many different trades across multiple states I was able to start up my first addiction rehabilitation center in 2001. My career and my passion in drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation has been a rocket ride ever since then. I have found true success in doing what I love the most and feel the most strongly about, and that leads me to the first point on my five point checklist for starting your own business.
This list is a simple one, but starting a business can be tricky, and I’ve found that having everything nice and itemized out can be darn helpful. Here’s what I can tell you to start:
-Always pick something that you are passionate about. When you’re starting a business or thinking about starting one, first ask yourself, “Am I passionate about this? Can I get really excited about selling this product? Is this business model going to make me jump out of bed every morning, grab my cup of joe, and go to town on it?” If you’re answer is no or if your business idea is just about the money, then back off a tad and pick something that you, personally, can get really excited about. I guarantee you will have a better time and be more successful in the long run if you do.
-Determine the overall viability of your product, idea, or business model. The truth is you can be passionate about anything, but not everything will turn a profit. I’ve worked in the automotive industry, an industry that can go really well or really poorly depending on the market, the dealership, and the type of car being sold. So be sure your product will sell, and do your research to ensure that this will be the case.
–Put together a business plan. I really want you to take your time with this. Itemize out every expense imaginable that you will have to run your business and to run it well. Work out profits for each sale and figure out whether your profits per month will cover your expenses. Crunch numbers on startup loans and lengths of time till the business starts generating real profit. With all of this data, put together a plan of attack that will get you to where you want to be as fast as possible. I can’t stress this enough, and in my experience I’ve noticed this to be one of the biggest failings in American entrepreneurs. No one wants to do the groundwork and crunch all those tedious, never-ending, numbers and figures. Those numbers just go on and on and on and on. People just want to jump right into it, but that’s how you lose thousands of dollars. What is it the Boy Scouts say? “Be prepared”? As tedious as it might be, this careful prep work is worth it.
-Figure out the money. An entrepreneur is always watching the dollar. He or she is watching it come in, and watching it go out. A lot of people say that startups always take more time than initially estimated to get rolling, but I say that’s nonsense. Your startup will take as much time to get going as you decide for it to take. Figure out how much it will cost you before you even begin and double-check and triple check your estimates. If you think it’ll take a year, then work out your living expenses for a year and get those covered, and then make sure you have all the money you need for the initial startup too.
-Make it a family affair. Some of my best business relationships have been with family members. In fact, in 1978 I started helping my dad out with his Cadillac business. That was a stellar experience, and it got my foot in the door in the automotive industry. Get your family involved in your business and maybe even recruit a few of them to work for you or at least help out. I have multiple family members working with me now and the joy we take from not only working on the same projects together but also working towards the same goal of rehabilitating drug and alcohol addicts is quite rewarding.
I’ve been around the entrepreneurial game for decades now. It can be pretty nerve wracking sometimes to start your own business, but the benefits outweigh the concerns. Follow some simple advice here and there and apply good old fashioned common sense day to day and it’ll make a world of difference. Do each step of the plan fully and really double-check yourself. It can’t hurt to be cautious, but don’t overdo it and psych yourself out. Remember, life’s a game best played with good spirits and even better ambitions!
Per Wickstrom is the founder and CEO of Best Drug Rehabilitation, one of the top holistic rehabilitation centers in the country. He found sobriety after a decades-long struggle with addiction and has since dedicated his life and career to helping others find the same life-affirming success he has. To learn more from Per, please check out his blog or connect with him via YouTube or LinkedIn.