No Shortcuts - How to Start a Business

I am starting a new business.  I will keep Sloane up and going, but want to test out a new market in the golf space.  I am passionate (some say obsessed) with the sport and see an opportunity.  Golf has boomed with COVID.  People are stuck at home and golf is one of the sports that can be played while socially distanced.  

I am very busy with my day job at P&G.  Sloane keeps me busy.  My 10 month old also keeps me busy.  I have a lot going on and want to see if I can start another business amidst the madness. 

I want to document the progress to show how it is done and keep pushing myself to make the needed progress.  You will see that this is a very step by step process that does not happen overnight.  It takes a ton of commitment and patience, so you have to start something you care enough for the long haul. 

Step 1:

Come up with the idea:  I have been noticing that golf has been taking off since COVID started.  A lot more people are playing.  Over the years I have seen brands like Travis Mathews and Linksoul come into the market offering cool West Coast style clothing to combat the traditional brands like Nike, Callaway, Titleist, etc.  Many people see the traditional brands as boring and basic.  The new people to golf are looking for something more exciting.  Not what they grandfather wore when he golfed. 

Golf is something that I am passionate about, as well.  I have played since I was in elementary school and really love the sport.  I love the challenge.  I love the connection you can make with people.  I love getting outside in beautiful places.  I love talking about it.  I actually have about 5 co-workers where golf is a weekly discussion point. 

I saw Macklemore started a golf brand essentially for the same reasons I want to start one.  He wants to wear something he feels good/cool in.  Not a basic white cotton polo like the rich guys at the country club.  

I think there is an opportunity to start a new golf brand targeting a lot of the new players entering the game!

Take a Commitment Step:  This is important!  Somehow make a commitment to this.  Go from talking about your idea to DOING something about your idea.  It can be something small.  Just do it.  That will ground you and show to yourself that you are taking a step forward. 

My first step was to find some URL's I like and buy them on GoDaddy.  It's a pretty cheap thing to do.  When you do it though you FEEL like you did something important.  Now that you locked a couple possible URLs your mind starts thinking about possibilities.  You can now take the next step. 

Without taking a commitment step you are in LA LA Land.  You are thinking.....theorizing......wondering......dreaming.  You are doing NOTHING to actually get the business going.  

Slowly Progress By Taking the Next Best Step:  Some people at this point want to ask for money.  They get overly excited thinking that they are starting the next Apple.  They start skipping steps.  I see the process almost like building a house.  You can't put a roof on without the foundation or walls.  

The reality is that the process takes awhile and people have a hard time building something slowly.  They want the big win.  They want to show people that they are crushing it.  The process is very unsexy at the beginning as you pour the foundation.  

My next step after the URL was to incorporate the company.  I worked with my lawyer to do this, but it also can be done via a program like LegalZoom.  You now have an ACTUAL business.  You can put CEO on your LinkedIn.  ha.  This makes the venture formal.  

Think About What is Needed as You Build:  You now need to take some time to think through what building this business looks like.  Start laying out the steps to get there.  Do you need a partner?  How is your business model going to work?  How are you going to be different from what else is out there?  What is the fastest and easiest way to start the business BEFORE asking people for money?  

Skipping through this thinking part could open you up to doing things that just don't make sense as you progress.  Hiring someone way before you need them.  Taking money way before you have a path to sales.  Making a misstep here could make life stressful and also doom your business. 

For me, the logo design is really important.  I want to develop something unique in the market that will resonate with the consumer I'm going after.  I hired a college student to help me with this.  We are going back and forth on the logo design to get it to a point where it's good enough.  Not perfect.  Good enough.  Many people call this an MVP (minimum viable product).  I want something good enough that I can sell and see if people like it.  If people do like it, then I put more money into making it better. 

I am now also looking at what products I would start with.  Hats?  Shirts?  Where would I get these manufactured?  How much will they cost?  How much will then I have to price the product for?  Once I figure that out I need to figure out the website.  What will it look like?  How much will that cost?  Who will develop it?  How will I then get people to the site?  Should I do a Kickstarter?    

Step by step.  Step by step.  It's easy to get overwhelmed with EVERYTHING, but it's all about conquering the next thing.  With each step you build momentum and confidence.  It feels slow in the moment, but in a year you can make a ton happen. 

Stay tuned for updates on my progress and good lock in your own venture!