10 Things You Should Know Before Starting Your Own Business
Even if you follow the advice, that doesn't mean you're going to be error-free when starting your own business. Each business owner will face their own unique set of problems to tackle - which ensures that there will be plenty of instances of trial and error.
10 Things You Should Know Before Starting Your Own Business
The path to becoming a good company owner is not smooth. Bumps, forks, and sudden detours make it up.
Surprisingly, most owners of companies would not have it any other way. It is an honour badge that we proudly wear.
That doesn't mean there were errors I wish I hadn't made. Not that I'm ashamed. These errors helped me get to where I am today. It's just that the journal might have been a little easier and less frustrating if I could have stopped them.
With that in mind, there are 10 things I wish I had learned before I started my own business.
1. Running the business is always the top priority.
The biggest misconception about starting your own business, maybe, is that you're only focused on pursuing your passion. You're not only going to make handmade jewellery, cook on your own food truck, or design websites 24/7, in other words. Perhaps that would take 15 per cent of your time.
Instead, you will spend much of your time designing your own business plans, marketing, selling, customer service, and conducting administrative duties such as bookkeeping, invoicing, and payroll. In short, first of all, you're a business owner and then a web designer, chef, or handmade jewellery maker.
I know this is not what you signed up for but the sooner you accept this truth, the sooner you can start a successful business and sustain it.
2. It's about helping others, not turning a profit.
Although you need to turn a profit obviously, that's not your target. Your focus should be on helping your clients fix an issue or making their life easier. You may be an incredibly knowledgeable consultant, but if you're only concerned with making money, how can your customers benefit from that in the long run? It isn't. And you will be delivering mediocre results.
It wasn't just that I figured it was a way to beef-up my bank account when I began my payments firm Due. It was because I was searching for a simpler and more affordable way to send and receive cash to my fellow freelancers and small business owners - a dilemma I have personally faced.
You will start offering a superior product or service that will draw more customers until you know that it's not about you, or how much money is pouring through your bank. And the more revenue you'll generate as you have more customers.
3. The importance of cash flow management.
Make no mistake in this respect. The lifeblood of your organization is cash flow. You end up spending more money than you bring in when you don't treat the cash flow properly. And when you don't have enough money to cover your required expenses, how long can you continue to remain in business?
The most successful way to handle your cash flow is by making a budget and explaining every cost so that you know exactly where your hard-earned money is going.
4. The odds are stacked against me, and that's alright.
This time and time again you've probably experienced it. But the majority of corporations are going to fail. So what steps are you going to take to reduce those odds, at least?
There's no one-size-fits-all solution, but for as long as you can, you can try doing something like holding your current work. This gives you time to build an emergency fund, perform market research, and begin to gain some momentum. You need to hire the right people and continually improve your skills, even if it's to make the big leap.
It is not the end of the world, even though the company fails. At least you have developed new skills, insights, and learned from your mistakes to make it even stronger for you to come back.
5. It's lonely.
Think of the work in the past that you've kept down. There was a feeling of community, whether it was flipping burgers in a restaurant or as an accountant at a big accounting firm because you and your colleagues were all in it together. When you start your own company, that is not the case. It's only you, and it's just you. Your shoulders collapse with every decision and transparency. And that is a strong, lonely burden to bear.
Getting a co-founder or business partner can reduce the burden and make the journey not so lonely, but you can create a safety net if you are not in that role. It may be your partner, family, best friend, or other business owners who are experiencing the same experience you are having. For advice, emotional support, and the occasional venting session, you're going to need them.
6. Activity doesn't equal growth.
What do you see as growth? Do you just add all of the fancy features to your product? Is it a swanky new office or 20 new staff? Is it the glowing review you have just got in a leading publication in the industry?
That is all great. But growth doesn't constitute it.
Development implies that you are building and attracting clients to a product. It's that.
7. A part-time gig gives you peace of mind.
After all, this can sound counterproductive, isn't it distracting from your top goal as it splits your attention? Not when it's giving you peace of mind.
Bear in mind, good organizations don't happen immediately. Time is required. And there will be periods during that span when money does not come through the door. This meant countless sleepless nights for me worrying about how I would pay this bill or question my business decisions. The next morning, how could I be productive and focused?
Getting a second gig on the weekends, such as freelancing or delivering pizza, alleviates some of that economic burden so that you are not distracted.
8. Optimize, outsource, and automate whatever you can.
Entrepreneurs have the mentality that something needs to be done on their own. Not only is it a one-way Burnoutville ticket, it's just bad for sales. I say, why would you put resources into those assignments if you can't design a logo or loathe accounting? Your time will be better spent doing the duties you love and are able to manage.
Even better. It is now possible to outsource and automate a lot of these activities. For instance, on sites such as Upwork, Guru, Fiverr, and SimplyHired, you can employ freelance writers, accountants, or graphic designers. There is no lack of resources, in addition to outsourcing tasks to freelancers, that can automate most of your marketing needs, such as interacting and retaining clients.
9. Engage with your audience.
With some faceless nameless company, the clients don't want to do business. They want to know that on the other hand, there's an actual person. Someone who is going to respond and consider their pain points to their inquiries.
One of the most important tasks business owners must work on is engaging with their audience. Responding personally to comments left on forums, blog posts, social media channels, review sites, and emails instead of hiding in an office and never interacting with your customers. Speak and mingle afterwards at business functions. Talk to potential customers when waiting for a flight.
This provides you with insights into what your customers are actually looking for, creates trust in you and your customers, and sets you up as a figure of authority.
10. Don't forget to have fun.
What you're thinking, I know. Why take a vacation or play hooky on a Friday afternoon so that when you have so much work to do, you go hiking with friends?
Because life needs to be appreciated. This keeps you sane. It lets you refocus and come up with fresh ideas for problem-solving. Your batteries recover when you're exhausted. And you will celebrate your little wins by using them.
Plainly put. Don't work to death yourself. It is not healthy for either you or your company's welfare.