Gil Youman's Five Steps To Starting Your Business
Have you ever been at work and thought, how did I get here? A lot of people are in a job that they either don’t enjoy or has nothing to do with a degree they spent four or more years to obtain.It might even be a good job with a great company, but there’s just no passion or meaning to the work you’re doing.
That’s exactly where I was in 2017. The trouble was, what else could I do? I knew I wanted to own my own business, but unlike Liam Neeson I did not have a “very particular set of skills” that would allow me to hang a shingle and earn a living on my own. If you’re in that same boat and trying to figure it out, think about these five steps:
- Figure out what you want to do with your life. If you have a marketable skill (accountant, attorney, electrician, plumber, etc.)
the answer might be easier. If you have been a corporate drone for two decades, it’s a little tougher. In my case, I spent a lot of time thinking
about how the skills I had learned in various roles would translate into entrepreneurial success (e.g. marketing, financial analysis, customer
- Choosing what you want to do. Do your homework. If you have picked an existing company, are the financials strong? What is the
five, 10, 20-year outlook for your industry? If this is something in which you’ll be making a large investment of time (and more importantly, money)
you want to make sure that you are reading as much as you can, talking to everyone you know, and meeting people who are already in that industry.
- There will never be a “perfect” time. I put off my own decision for about five years, and always had a reason not to do it. If
you’ve done step 1 and 2, go for it! Being your own boss (and bearing the responsibilities that come with that) can be daunting, but it’s also
- Be ready to make mistakes. I’ve owned my business for two years, and made at least 20 significant mistakes in the first year
that I corrected in the second year. The most important part is that I corrected those, and even though I had more mistakes in my second year,
I am already improving on those as we start year three. Some ideas were great, some were terrible, but they all were worth trying. I’m pretty sure
that will never end.
- Creating a winning culture is not an overnight task. My aunt advised me soon after starting this adventure that it would probably be 18 months before I could really start critiquing myself. I was sure that was way too long, and that my ideas would instantly transform my business. Boy, was I wrong! There is always so much that can be done, but you have limited time. I’ve adopted the principal, How Do You Eat an Elephant? One bite at a time.
Gil Youmans is the owner of nine Cost Cutters Family Hair Salons, with three locations in Lexington. After a varied career spending eleven years in the logistics industry and another decade with an insurance company, he made the leap of faith to own his own business and leave the corporate world. Every day brings different challenges, but being an entrepreneur has always been his dream and is now the reality.