You've lost your job.
Your business failed.
You filed for bankruptcy…
But you won't give up. You will come out fighting. The big question is…
How do you start over?
In today's article, I'm sharing my steps for starting a business – when you have to start over.
Steps For Starting A Business From Scratch
- Burn your boats
- Face reality
- Extend your runway
- Save your energy
- Avoid misinformation
- Sell, sell, sell
- Evaluate & Adjust
1. Starting Your Business From Scratch – Burn Your Boats
To burn your boats is to acknowledge that there's no going back.
The phrase dates back to 711AD when Muslim general Tariq bin Ziyad landed in Gibraltar and invaded the Visigothic Kingdom of Spain.
He ordered his ships burned upon arrival, driving it into his troops that they could not go back.
The only way was forward.
Hernan Cortes did the same thing in 1519.
Once he got to Mexico, he his scuttled ships and told his troops that they would either conquer or die. He went on to conquer the Aztec Empire.
Notice a trend? These men said “screw it,” conquered everything in their path at any cost, and are remembered for it.
You need to cultivate the Burn The Ships mentality. Starting your business from scratch requires a sacred effort and resolute determination. This might mean you sleep in your truck, eat oatmeal every day, and stay single for a while.
Keep yourself laser-focused. The hardship will be worth it.
2. Starting Your Business Over Again? Face Reality
Ostriches plunge their heads into the ground when they feel threatened or overwhelmed.
If you failed in one business, you might be terrified to try again.
Your mind narrows solely on your failures.
You look for distractions wherever you can find them to take your mind off the challenge.
6 steps for starting a business from scratch:
- Accept your current situation – denial leads to anxiety and chronic physical pain.
- Acknowledge your problem – come out of denial.
- Face the consequences – accept your role in how you got here and how you can learn from it.
- Identify specific goals for starting your business – what do you want to gain out of it?
- Focus on factors you can control.
- Make a comprehensive plan in order to achieve your goals.
Be honest with yourself and where you want to be.
3. Starting Over? Give Yourself A Runway
A plane requires a runway to take off. The faster that air passes over the plane's wings, the less air pressure there is. This gives the plane lift it needs to takeoff.
The longer the runway, the more time the plane has to pick up speed.
You need to give yourself a long runway – time and space to breathe, make decisions – and act on them.
Let's go over two ways to achieve this.
1. Give Yourself Time To Breathe – Manage Your Money
Ruthlessly cut your expenses.
When I started my business, I sold everything I didn't need to survive. This included my motorcycle, my TV, any camera equipment (excluding video cameras).
I ate bare-bones meals. I used this cash to pay off my MBA and give me breathing space.
It's simple: The more money you have in your pocket, the more wiggle room there is for your business.
2. Give Yourself Time To Breathe – Manage Your Time
Guard your time at all costs.
The first step toward this is securing a space to work uninterrupted. Your beautiful wife and kids are distractions you don't need while you hustle.
Your basement, a park bench, truck stops at 4 AM. These are all solid options for a tranquil work environment.
Know how you spend your time. Analyze which tasks steal most of your time and eliminate them. Set deadlines to ensure you complete the most critical objectives on time.
Remember to focus on one thing at a time – you won't get anything done by multitasking on several projects.
4. Steps For Starting Your Business – Save Your Energy
We all have different rhythms.
Some of us are night owls while others shut down in the evening. The first step is to identify the time where you have the most energy and hone in on that.
Know your limits. If you experience a slump every day after lunch, powering through that will do more harm than good. Do some physical activities such as stretching during the slump. You could even power nap for 20 minutes.
Integrate high-energy foods with your diet. Sweet potatoes, green tea, nuts, and spinach are ideal for this.
Stave off burnout by working in high-intensity intervals with regular breaks.
Gamify your energy by focusing for 20-30 minutes, then reward yourself with a 10-minute break.
If you're starting your business from scratch, your goal should be to devote a minimum of 6-7 hours to your business each day.
The more quality work you can get done in that time, the better.
5. Before You Start – Beware of Misinformation
Only 25% of businesses last over a decade. The odds are against you – knowledge is your best friend.
While we're on the topic of honesty – you don't know everything.
You might be an expert when it comes to landscaping but you might not have a clue how to run a website.
One of the most important steps for starting a business is to be very careful about where you get your information from.
Your best friend may be supportive, but does he have experience in business management?
Don't hesitate to pay money to find the right coach, mentor, or community in your industry. The expert advice you are likely to find is well worth the money.
There are countless memberships you can attain in order to get a better industry or business insights. It could be as easy as searching on Facebook and joining the relevant group.
6. Starting Your Business From Scratch? Sell, Sell, Sell!
Forget business cards. If you're starting your business from scratch, you need to focus on getting your first deposit.
Putting money in the bank extends the runway we were talking about.
Your service needs to solve a bleeding neck problem.
What does this mean? When your neck is slashed, you don't consider the quality of the beds at nearby hospitals – you just rush to the nearest one.
How do you identify a need in the market? Here are some examples.
- Find your target audience.
- Discover peculiarities in your audiences' buying habits.
- Identify what customers like and hate about existing products.
People are more than willing to put money down if it means somebody will solve their gravest problems.
7. Starting Over From Scratch – Evaluate & Adjust
You've made your first sales. Your business is stable, and you have the breathing space to go back and review your strategy.
Let's say that you made 10 sales. Go back to that list and identify which were the most profitable.
What was unique about that product or service that got people paying more?
Adjust your target audience based on that data.
We often console ourselves with “staying busy” but that's not enough. This is the time to bring in the tenets of Essentialism, my favorite book on time management.
To eliminate the nonessential is to stop doing things that don't contribute significantly to your company.
Feeling overwhelmed after cutting the fat?
Consider hiring your first employee to help with customer service issues while you handle the big picture.
Take care with this step, though – employees can be a considerable expense when you're starting your business over from scratch.
Be certain that you can't do this on your own anymore.
Starting over from scratch isn't easy. I've been there and I got through it – and I know you can too.
Follow the steps in this article and remember, from darkness there comes light. Learn from your mistakes and come out the other end stronger and more successful than ever before.
Next up, do you need additional business advice? Click here to check out the 25 lessons I learned while running a successful business.