Patience is a virtue when starting up a business

Every Eid, I witness the same scene: people shopping at the last minute, just a day or two before the festivities start.

The malls get overcrowded and everyone is in a rush. My relative always jokes that it’s as if people do not know that Eid is twice a year, with one always after Ramadan. I personally love the rush and the festive vibes you can see and feel in the shops and markets.

While a last-minute panic works fine ahead of Eid, there are some things that should be taken slowly, in particular starting your own business. Hurrying the launch process of any new venture could end up sabotaging the whole thing.

It all begins with your business idea. Never rush into starting a business just because you want to jump aboard a business trend. You need to be absolutely convinced that launching your concept is the right step. That is why as much as I love setting deadlines to achieve tasks, at the ideas stage of a launch I advise against having specific targets in place.

Inspiration cannot be rushed or forced. Take your time to find what it is you really want to do. Equally important is doing your research to see how this idea of yours could fill a market gap. Keep a journal, explore your surroundings and do not think too much about finding inspiration. It often stems from unexpected moments.

Also, take time to choose the right name for your business. There are no rights or wrongs here, but there are some pointers. Before you go ahead and book that web domain, ensure that name is not already registered in your city/country. I advise choosing a name that can be easily spelt, and therefore is easy to find on search engines and social media websites. Also, avoid names that are too long. Above all, ensure that you are 100 per cent convinced with your choice, that you feel it is connected to your brand and is something you will still like years from now.

When I was younger I launched a small business in a rush. I picked the name quickly and then when that business expanded and I wanted to change it, it backfired on me. It was hard to make that transition and to communicate to our customers who resonated so much with the previous name. If I could go back in time, I would be patient, testing out the company’s name by asking people what they thought before I launched.

Also, explore different branding options. Your logo and branding is how people will perceive your company. The colours, fonts, and style you choose communicate your vision, beliefs and your promise to customers. Again, I advise taking your time and picking a design that you feel best reflects your brand.

Many designers offer two to three revisions to your design, so make use of them if you are not confident in the first one. Do not rush the process. Give the designer or designers room to create, to be inspired. When you receive the design, do not give your feedback straight away. Keep it for a few days and see how you feel about it at different times. When you are convinced, it may not be a bad idea to see how a sample of your target audience would react to it.

The same thing goes for your shop or office layout. Spend time exploring different options for the location, the interior designer and everything else associated with the process. You want someone who understands your vision and is able to execute it. Once you have all of your information set, you are good to go.

While I am a very efficient person by nature and usually do not like to wait before starting something, some things are better taken slowly and gently. You might be surprised at how the logo you liked yesterday does not look so great today. And with businesses, once investments are made, it can be hard to reverse some actions.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @manar_alhinai.

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