7 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting My Business
As I’ve said many times before, I was a horrible employee. For many years I played the employee fame, but I know that it really wasn’t for me. Then, in 1997, I had the chance to do what my heart had been yearning for all along, going out on my own, in my own business. My new husband was my inspiration for moving forward with this goal. I felt that I was prepared and ready. How hard could it be right? Boy did I have a lot to learn. It all seemed so easy on the outside looking in, but actually making the business work was a whole other animal. There are many things I wish I had known before I made the leap, but unfortunately, I didn’t, and I had to learn them “on-the-job” as I went along. I’ve gone through all the situations and lessons and decided on the Top 7 that I want to share with you now so you can get a head start on success.
1) Failing to plan is planning to fail
You can’t run your business by the seat of your pants, hoping that things work out as you go along. Starting a business is one thing, but keeping it going is quite another. Successful companies and organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars creating and implementing strategies and plans for their business. You need to follow their lead.
Starting now, when the year is fresh and new, is the best time to think about where you want your business to go and what you want to do for the next 11 months. You’ll be surprised at how focused and on-target you can be when you follow an actual plan.
2) The Customer is NOT always right
This is the one concept I had to address early on. One of my first clients presented me with the opportunity to create a full marketing package for his business. I was thrilled because it was a huge win, out of the gate. I worked through the night to finish everything, because he needed everything right away. I delivered the project and waited for payment. Well, not only did I not get paid, I never heard from him again. The lesson learned was never do anything without a signed agreement and if a project sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If I had slowed down enough to get more details, a signed agreement, and a deposit, I would have been much better off.
3) Investing in your business means ROI 4Eva
With the constant changes in technology, marketing methods, and access to new information, business owners have to be constantly watching out for the newest, latest, and most advanced “whatever.” It can be both a good thing and a bad. You want to stay on top, but you question whether you can take the financial hit to do it. The truth is that you can’t afford not to invest in the latest technology, execution methods, and techniques. Look at it this way, if you don’t, or won’t, your competition will. Take some time to examine your budget and be sure to include personal development, professional development, and technology upgrades.
4) You’re not an island
When you first start your business, you feel that you have it all under control. But you quickly figure out that you need something, but you’re not sure what. It all has to do with the feeling that you have an obligation to do this thing all on your own. Believe me, you do not. The key is to remember that others have done this and are still doing it, but they know something you don’t. You need to take advantage of the knowledge of other business owner’s minds by joining online and in-person organizations that focus on helping you to succeed. These organizations can cater to your specific niche, your ideal prospects and clients, or focus on other aspects such as marketing or working capital. American Express OPEN forum is a perfect example of all levels of business owners coming together to address and demystify the world of business.
5) You need a system for that
A good friend and colleague of mine, Bernadette Harris, founder and CEO of By the Book Accounting, who is also a client, teaches that if there is something that you do in your business that only you can do, you’ll be doing that task for the rest of your business life. Bernadette says that one of the key reasons businesses fail is that they don’t have systems in place to handle both the every day functions, such as how to answer the phone to more intricate processes like onboarding new clients. The reason systems are important is that if you are doing everything in your business yourself, you can’t grow. Having systems in place means that you can now hire people to do the tasks that aren’t essential to you making money. This makes it easier for you to grow, expand, and be the real BOSS you always knew you could be.
6) It takes money. Period.
I know you’ve heard over and over, that it takes money to make money. That’s true, but the real deal is it takes money. Period. End of story. Let’s face it, you can’t start, run, and maintain a successful business without money. It may not take thousands, but you will have to come out of your pocket for certain things. Yes, sometimes (actually, a lot the time) you can get away with “Free.” But “Free” only goes so far for so long. You will have start-up, on-going, maintenance, and next-level costs. Be prepared for them and get ready to pay them.
7) You can’t work with everyone
When I say everyone, I’m referring to clients, JV partners, vendors, and contractors. Everyone that steps into your business stratosphere affects everything around you. Their energy rubs off on you and causes you to react accordingly. This is a fact; everyone’s energy is not compatible with yours and it doesn’t need to be. The people who are attracted to you and your business are the ones who are for you. They are the people who you will be able to work with and get along with successfully. When you try to make relationships work that aren’t meant to, it will exhaust you and worse, nothing good will come of it.
Being prepared with this knowledge ahead of time will save you countless hours of grief and frustration. You’re welcome.
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge I wish I’d had when I started my business over 23 years also, you will be much better off.
But there’s one more nugget that will really help you to succeed, get your business on track, and keep it there. You must take care of yourself as well as you do your clients or your business will never be what it really can be.
When was the last time you actuallycCarved out some me-time for you? Or woke up ready to take on the day? When was the last time you felt great about your business? Your life?
My long-time friend and colleague, Lynnis Woods-Mullins and I have a special treat for you. With both of us being long-time entrepreneurs ourselves, we know your struggles:
- Taking little or no time for yourself
- Struggling to make work-life and regular-life balance out
- Making needed decisions that keep your business running smoothly
So we’ve come together and created a brand new, results-driven masterclass,
3 Massive Mistakes Even Smart Women Entrepreneurs Make that KEEP them Feeling
OVERWHELMED & STRESSED OUT!
Thursday, January 18, 2018
4pm EST / 7pm PST
And we’re inviting you to attend. We’ve got the answers to help you get back on the success track with life and business.
See you there!
Please share this post with your friends, fans, and followers.