What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Business
Tips on Starting a Business
You have a great idea, you decide now is the time to start and go all out, yet nothing happening. There is total silence.
This happens to most people that have never had a business. The main reason being there was no strategy, or there is a marketing strategy but no business strategy. Without a clear plan, without understanding what you are doing and why, you are wasting your time and effort. This blog is to go over a couple of things I wish I knew before I started my very first business – ten things in fact.
Before I start, although it’s not specifically mentioned below the one thing I constantly see missing from plans (including those that have been in business a while), is the wellbeing part. I cannot stress how important it is to make sure you have a section in your strategy for your wellbeing and that of anyone else working for you. A car cannot run empty, nor can you. Everything I offer includes wellbeing because of this. I want you to succeed not burn out. I use various methods in my programs (121 and group) to help you not only set realistic wellbeing goals but to make the process of learning and starting your business as stress free as possible.
Top Ten Tips on Starting a Business Right.
Starting a business is an exciting and challenging journey. You may have a great idea, but there are always things you wish you had known before embarking on the journey. With so much online, it can get crowded and confusing to what it really needed to get going, what will work for you and what won’t. Online can help with the different ideas available, there isn’t just one right idea, however, the quickest way to find the right way for you is to have a strategist, coach or mentor to help you figure it all out (note I said help you figure it out, not just tell you the right way – this is key).
Anyway, back to the topic of the day. Here are ten things I wish I had known before starting a business:
1. Make a Commitment
Starting a business is hard work at the start. Starting a business is not just about having a great idea; it’s also about hard work and dedication. You will have to put in long hours at the start, sacrifice your personal time, and work tirelessly to make your business a success. However, once the basics are in place, start looking at how to grow your business – this should form part of your strategy. Never hustle and set yourself clear SMART goals each week or month to achieve to keep you on track.
2. Don’t Skip the Strategy
A good business strategy is crucial: A well-thought-out business strategy is essential before starting any business. It will help you to define your goals, target market, competition, and financial projections as well as get you off on the right track. If you don’t take the time to create your business strategy, you will find it hard and your business will suffer because of it. Start off how you mean to go on and create that inspiring business strategy today.
3. Know Your Financial Ins & Outs
Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business. It is essential to manage your cashflow effectively and to have enough cash reserves to sustain your business during tough times. Even if you are starting a business with nothing, you need to understand the figures and where your cashflow will take you (or where it may limit you). The purpose of a business is to gradually increase cashflow in while keeping profits at an agreed acceptable profit margin (as detailed in your strategy).
4. Network, But The Right Way
Networking is a must in any business. It helps you to build relationships with potential customers, partners, and investors, as well as the opportunity to meet like-minded entrepreneurs. Attend networking events, join business groups, and build your online presence, but don’t get sucked into everything. Assess the purpose of the event, who is going and what you want to get out of attending. Don’t be fooled or pulled in by free tickets or gifts. When you starting a business, you need to prioritise your time so understanding the benefits of any networking opportunity is a must before deciding if to go.
5. Market The Right Way, With The Right Tool
Marketing is essential for any business to succeed. You need to create a marketing plan that will reach your target audience and drive sales, which forms part of your business strategy (at a high level). There are many marketing tools that can be utilised for all budgets (free to high cost) so make sure you know what you want to achieve before looking at tools. On a side note, if you are going to ask people for opinions on tools, remember they are not you. They will have different needs and skills so it’s better to find something that ticks your boxes then take out a free trial (if it’s a paid tool).
6. Look After Your Clients/Customers
Customer service is everything: Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. You need to provide excellent customer service to retain customers and gain new ones. Respond to inquiries promptly and address complaints professionally. Treat everyone with respect and as an individual. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re just a number to someone you are spending money with. If you set expectations right at the start, make any communication you have clear, and continue this over all communication points, then you’re off to a great start.
7. Remember Your Strengths & Weaknesses
Identify your strengths and focus on them when you start your business. Where you can, hire people (one-off, temporary or permanent) with skills that complement your own and fill out any gaps in your knowledge. On the opposite side, look at your weaknesses and decide how best to reduce the impact of these. You will do this as part of your business strategy and quarterly reviews but you need to know what your starting point is. Think about it, if you hate sales, how are you going to get clients? If you hate tech, how are you delivering and advertising your services?
8. Be Adaptable To Change
Be adaptable: The business world is constantly changing, and you need to be adaptable to stay ahead of the competition. Be willing to pivot your business strategy if necessary to meet the demand of your clients. Don’t create anything without validating the idea or approach otherwise you could end up wasting your time on something no one wants. Remember that just because something works today, it doesn’t mean it will work tomorrow, next week or next year.
9. Patience Is A Gift
Be patient: Starting a business takes time. It may take longer than you anticipated to reach your goals but it doesn’t mean you won’t. Be patient and stay committed to your vision. Knowing why you are starting the business, understanding the drivers you have for motivation and focusing on your strategy, will all help pull you through the tough times (and there will be some, no matter where you are in business).
10. Failure Is Not A Reason To Stop
Failure is part of the entrepreneurial journey. Learn from your failures and use them as an opportunity to grow and improve your business. If you are not making mistakes, you are not pushing the limits. No one is perfect and the sooner you can accept that, the sooner your journey will progress. It can be tough failing and impact your self-esteem but remember how many attempts Thomas Edison had before getting it right or how long it took you to walk, talk, read, see, etc.. Everyone has different timescales to how long they take to learn – it’s not a race and there is no right or wrong answer. Every failure brings you one step closer to the answer.
In conclusion, starting a business is not for the faint of heart, but it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Keep these ten things in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to building a successful business.
My last piece of advice before I go is don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness and doesn’t mean you don’t know your stuff. It means you have passion and want to succeed but don’t have all the answers – no one does and if anyone says they do, they’re lying.
There is a lot more to starting a business than considering the ten points above. If you take nothing else from this, make sure you take these two things: don’t start without having a business strategy fully completed and you have set boundaries both for you to stick to and your clients so your wellbeing is not negatively impacted without a valid reason.
If you want to learn about business strategy and setting your business up right from the start, why not contact me today to see how I could help you. My business model gives you the opportunity to work with me in a number of different ways, from one-off sessions, group programs, 121 programs and more.