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Do you remember the first time you took a 10-meter dive? I still catch myself reliving that moment. My stomach bunched in knots, and I felt all shades of fear while doubt whirled around my head. Taking the plunge for the first time can be petrifying. But there are those who dive from great heights with ease, turning it into an art. Both my mind and my muscles confirmed that my first dive was far from perfect.

 

You don’t have to be a novice diver to empathize with the sensations “AHHHHHHHHH!” and “WHAT WAS I THINKING?” Life alone offers enough opportunities to take the figurative dive, especially when you open your first business. Just like with diving, there are techniques first time businessowners can keep in mind to get their business off on the right foot, despite the accompanying sensations of an emotional free-fall. 1. Ready. Are you ready? The best way to answer this question is to interview fellow business owners who survived the plunge and study how they did it. You need to wrap your mind around the paradigm shift of working for the man to becoming the man. Are you ready for people to depend on you for a paycheck? Are you ready for long hours and sleepless nights? Owning your own business holds great potential for fulfillment and financial success. However, business ownership will also be one of the most difficult things you will ever accomplish– are you ready for it?

2. Set. The next step is to ensure your business structure is sound and plan how you’ll launch it. When you’re diving, you must choose your landing: a belly flop, a pencil dive, a swan dive, or flailing around and hoping you won’t break something. This is comparable to structuring your business because it determines how you “land” once you’re serving customers. People often turn to franchising because they are investing in a business whose structure has been tested and proven successful. And there are a multitude of industries and sectors to choose from, so they can still own a business they are passionate about. Also, buying a franchise resembles hiring a personal trainer coach you on diving like a pro before your feet ever leave the rock.

3. Go. Once your feet are over nothing but air, remember there is no going back. From this point on, you need to be wholly devoted to landing your figurative dive. Have you ever seen a diver float back to solid ground after falling 5 of the 10-meters? Launching your business is no different.

As someone who’s been starting and growing businesses for the past 20 years, I can say it is the most difficult and most satisfying thing I’ve done (that includes my 10-meter dive!). If you would like to discuss starting your own business, feel free to contact me at @DScottAbbott or sabbott@fivestarfranchising.com.

 

I have five kids. That should say it all for this blog post shouldn’t it. Every single one of my kids went through a phase of asking me why to just about everything in life. Some people may find that annoying, but I always enjoyed giving as intelligent a response as possible, only to hear why? again. Eventually I would give in and simply respond with – why not?

Its the cop out answer isn’t it, but one thing I have learned is that people can get stuck in asking the why questions for so long that there is no decisive action, and they are left in inaction, forever analyzing but never progressing. I was never too fond of those philosophical course I had to take at college, I have always been interested in action.

A number of years ago we had a board meeting to discuss methods of expanding our franchise concept, and we discussed many of the traditional as well as nontraditional channels we could use to get in front of the kinds of candidates we seek to award franchises to. We had the good fortune of a board that was stacked with intelligent and very experienced and successful entrepreneurs. During this discussion one of these respected board members, in response to asking if we should risk a lot of money on a unproven advertising channel, asked – Why Not? – we are all a bunch of entrepreneurs, what are we afraid of? I loved that response, and as well as the challenge that it presented.

Sometimes you have to do things you don’t know will work, you have to venture out into the unknown because if you don’t then you will never know what you could have had if you hadn’t simply asked the question -Why not? that’s what entrepreneurs do.

Just do it!

If you’ve been in business very long at all (meaning you’ve had an empire as big as a lemonade stand
on the corner when you were six) you’ve probably heard the phrase “The devil is in the details.” It’s
a silly mantra that we spout whenever something wrong comes up. You might refer to it as Murphy’s
law, meaning that the worst possible thing that can go wrong inevitably will. Whatever way you look
at it, you have heard the phrase that the tiniest things are going to trip you up. So what can you do
about it?

When the devil in the details rears it’s ugly head, it is never when you would like it to. It never happens
during the planning phase of a new project, product launch, or marketing effort. It will always appear
when all appearances suggest that there is no possible way to fix it. This is where you discover the
differences in the hobbyists and the businesspeople.

Last minute disasters are inevitable. They will come up, and you will have to deal with them. The best
thing you can do is prepare yourself as much as possible, get your resources ready, and most of all, take
the advice of Douglas Adams in his classic book “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and “Don’t
panic!”.

Having the confidence to face the unforeseen details of a project without losing your head will make
you stand head and shoulders above your competition. If you want to survive, you must stay in control
of your own thoughts, feelings, and emotional states. Here’s a little secret you can use too: Have an
emergency kit handy for when things are at their worst. Fill it with something that makes you laugh (a
favorite comedian, comic book, or picture), something that makes you feel good (a pair of clean socks,
a fresh shirt, or some other comfort item), and a list of people you call when you need a pick me up.
Keep your kit at your desk, ready for you when you need it.

You won’t be sorry.

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