As an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared for anything and everything that life could throw your way. This means arming yourself with a toolkit of items, resources, connections, and safety nets that you can tap when needed. At the very least, we recommend including the following:
1. List of Goals
The most dangerous threat to an entrepreneur is a lack of direction. As soon as you lose a sense of where you’re going, you lose the ability to carry out disciplined and intentional acts that are productive and high-returning.
How do you maintain a sense of direction? The easy answer is to establish a list of running goals and to have them handy at all times. (This should be a document that actually contains written goals. Having it “in your head” isn’t good enough.)
2. Business Line of Credit
Life happens. In today’s digital age, it’s possible to go from earning five or six figures per month to making virtually nothing overnight. For some businesses, all it takes is a simple tweak to Google’s search algorithm or a change in the way Facebook ranks content. Those are uncontrollable risks that you can’t afford to live with.
A business line of credit can help you offset certain risks that are outside of your control. Should something happen and your revenue temporarily dries up – or if you ever need to infuse some quick capital into something – a business line of credit can help.
3. Disability Insurance
Insurance is the last thing you want to spend money on. You’d much rather allocate that money to something that directly benefits your growth and revenue. And it’s easy to justify these decisions. However, you can’t afford to ignore contingency planning.
Life happens and you never want to get caught in a situation where you’re unable to provide for your family. To protect against the threat, you can secure a special disability insurance policy for self-employed workers that will kick in when you’re unable to work. (And if you know how to compare policies, you’ll discover that it’s much more affordable than you think.)
4. Supportive Group of Peers
Entrepreneurship isn’t for thin-skinned individuals. In order to survive over the long haul, you need some serious intestinal fortitude. But you also need a little help. And this is where a supportive group of peers comes into play.
Every entrepreneur should have a close group of three to five fellow entrepreneurs and business owners to turn to for support, encouragement, and accountability. These are people who understand what you’re going through and are able to speak into your situation with the right amount of purpose, conviction, and clarity.
A group of peers serves one purpose. A mentor serves another. And every entrepreneur needs both.
A mentor is someone who has already been where you are, but has gone on to accomplish bigger and better things. They understand your situation, but have insights that your peers can’t provide. They’ve seen success and failure and know how to put you on a path to growth.
6. A Notebook
You have so much information spinning through your head that it’s dizzying. There are to-do lists, ideas, aspirations, appointments, education, finances, marketing, innovation, etc. Trying to keep track of everything renders you useless.
One simple way to control this endless flow of information is to keep a physical notebook on you at all times. (A small pocket-sized notebook works well.) Any time a new thought comes through your head, write it down. At the end of your workday, you can then take these notes and schedule, delegate, or set them aside.
If you want a more systematic and organized approach, try a method known as bullet journaling. It’s a system that allows you to take ongoing notes in a way that clears your mind and prevents you from forgetting about important tasks and responsibilities.
7. These Numbers on “Speed Dial”
Nobody actually uses “speed dial” anymore, but as an entrepreneur, there are certain numbers you need to have easily accessible in your phone at all times. They include:
- Insurance agent
Depending on your business ventures and skillset, there may be other essential names to add to this list. The point is that you need to be prepared for anything and everything. You might not call these individuals on a regular basis, but when you need them, you really need them!
What Would You Add to Your Toolkit?
Clearly, this isn’t an exhaustive list. It’s a good starting point, but it won’t serve every need for every entrepreneur. What must-have items, resources, connections, and safety nets would you add to your imaginary toolkit? This is a question worth letting marinate.
Jenna Cyprus is a freelance writer from Renton, WA who is particularly interested in travel, nature, and parenting. Follow her on Twitter.