What it really takes to get your business up and running

By Jill Chivers

If you are in the start-up phase of your business, then you know how exciting that time can be. There are a number of things you must have to have the best chance of succeeding with your new venture, which you can read about here.

To get your business up and running, you need all those things. There’s a lot written about the power of passion, especially for “heart centred” businesses who are looking to establish themselves. And sure passion has its place, but it isn’t the whole story.  Passion alone is far from enough, if it’s a business you’re looking to get off the ground and keep running.

In addition to time and money, you need skills. Skills to get your business off the ground, and skills to keep it going.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen these skills de-emphasized in favour of the sexier qualities such as passion, when new entrepreneurs are starting off. So it’s time to get clear on what it really takes to get your business off the ground, and to keep it running.

You either need these skills at the outset, or you need to develop them reasonably quickly, if your business is to have the best chance of success.

These skills include (but aren’t limited to) the following.

Planning and organising, and getting stuff done

You need to achieve certain things within certain timeframes. You need to get things done in a timely, if not very efficient, manner. These are the skills of planning, scheduling and organising. You need to know what you are doing, and when. And you need to be able to do it! The actual doing may require specific skills (such as the ability to write) and it also requires good time management, often willpower, almost always perseverance, and sometimes simple grunt.

Strategising and harnessing ideas

You need to not only be efficient and well-organised, but you need to be confident you are doing the right things. This is sometimes referred to as “having your ladder up against the right wall”. It’s one thing to get things done in a timely fashion, but are they the right things to do? What are the “biggest bang for your buck” activities that you need to be focusing on to get big mileage from your actions?


A business is something that sells something (products, services, ideas, time, a particular expertise). So you need to be able to sell that thing, to people who want and need it. This kind of selling is very specific – you have a need, I have a solution, so I need to be able to share my solution with you so you get what it is, and want to buy it. You need to be able to sell your thing – otherwise you have a hobby, not a business.

Promoting yourself and your business

This isn’t quite the same as selling, although it is an adjacent skill. Promoting yourself and your business is often more general and non-specific than selling your thing. It’s about your story, about being seen and noticed and ‘out there’, it’s about keeping you front of mind (so potential clients know you’re there for when they want or need you), it’s about telling people (including prospects) about what you do, why you do it, who you do it for, and what happens when people buy it.


I can’t think of a single business that doesn’t have stuff written down about it or for it. Whether it’s website copy, products such as e-courses, brochures, workbooks, articles or blogs, emails, social media posts, PowerPoint presentations, press releases, the big kahuna – a business book, or anything else, all businesses need written words, and words written. Either for them, about them, or as their actual products. Writing is a core skill small and micro business owners need to have or develop.

Identifying and offering (buying or developing) something to sell

If you don’t have something you exchange for money, an ‘offering’, then you don’t have a business. Your offering may be a product such as kids clothing or books or wine or car parts or something else that has a physical form. It may be an e-product (for electronic-product), such as an online course or downloadable book, which has a digital form. It may be a service such as copywriting or coaching or kinesiology – something that has no physical form but still delivers value (tangible and non-tangible value). But you need this THING, this offering, to have a business. So you need to either buy the thing from someone else (then on-sell it), or develop the thing to sell yourself.

Develop and use these skills and they will eventually become honed to a very fine point. And they will help you not only get your business off the ground, but keep it running for as long as you want it to.