Life is full of firsts: first time driving, first apartment, first love, first job, first paycheck (woo hoo!). The harder or scarier the thing, the more memorable it is, like running a first marathon or skydiving... so I hear. (I haven't done either of those yet.) Doing something for the first time requires a willingness to embrace the unknown and faith that everything will turn out OK. We've all experienced the first set of "firsts" I mentioned. Except maybe the driver's license. (What...? It's possible that some of my readers live in NYC. Or Paris. I don't, which means my first license is so old that the hairstyle in my photo is almost cool again.) But what about other big firsts? Since this is a blog about small business, it's no surprise that being a first time business owner comes to mind. Talk about a memorable experience!
How To Make 1 Year Feel Like 5? Start Your Own Business!
No matter how ready you feel, going solo and launching your own business is a whole other level of crazy. It's completely nerve-racking; insomnia-inducing, grey hair and wrinkle-producing stressful. Terrifying actually. It's a big leap to go from just collecting a paycheck and letting someone else shoulder all the responsibility and worry, to becoming the person who does all the shouldering and worrying about basically everything. Sounds fun! Who's in?
I always knew that I wanted to own my own business and was lucky to be able to start relatively young. I've been at this a long time now. No need to try guessing how long. And if you ask me, I'll probably answer something about dog years and entrepreneur years being the same. Then all answers will put me magically, vaguely somewhere in my thirties. Anyway, the point is this: I've been in business for myself long enough to have gained a lot of valuable experience and to be able to share some lessons I've learned. Some of those discoveries came easily. And, (lucky me!) some came the hard way after much frustration, hand wringing, tears and self pity. And guess what? Those are the ones I really remember and that matter to me now!
First Time Business Owner: Before You Begin!
Here's my to-do list to help you not suck at being a first time business owner.
What's the plan, Stan? Whatever you do, don't skip the planning stage! Having a solid business plan is super important. It'll give you direction, keep you on track, and help you focus your time, money and energy toward your core business. That's just my one-sentence summary, but be sure to give your plan sufficient time and research. Cutting corners at the outset will only hurt you in the long run.
Goooaaalll!!! You need to be clear on what you're working toward, so set goals. (Put them in writing!) Define what's important, what's not. This will help you determine how to spend your time and where to allocate resources.
Name your price point. I cannot stress enough how important this one is: Figure out your pricing! Don't underprice your product or services, which is a common mistake not only for new business owners, but for those venturing into new areas of business or launching brand new products. Make sure you plan for all expenses related to producing your product or providing your services. Pricing is something you may need to revisit and revise.
Know thy customer. Everyone knows that market research is important. But it's not enough to know your industry, you have to also know your customer in order to understand what they will and won't buy.
Don't underestimate the value of marketing. You'll need to get the word out about your business, so include this in your initial business plan. Whether you plan to spend money with a targeted campaign or take a more grassroots approach (e.g., social media and referral-based incentives), make sure to have a plan for getting your name out there.
So You're Up & Running, Now What?
There are many more things I learned (the hard way!) that could have saved me countless headaches — and money — if only I'd known better! Once you're open for business, don't let these two important things slide.
If you're not an expert, hire one. Now's a good time to lawyer up! Or accountant up, if that were an expression. Let's say you went to design school. You might be great at creating amazing artistic pieces, but that doesn't make you an expert on reviewing contracts or handling accounting and taxes. Nor should you have to be. Hiring help for areas outside your skill set can save you money and trouble in the long run. Totally worth it!
Be flexible! Plan for things to NOT go according to plan. With a plan B on the back burner, just in case, you can avoid wasting time and money regrouping and figuring out what the hell to do when the unexpected happens. You may have a setback, but being prepared for it — without completely freaking out — can get you going again faster.
Let's say you follow all this advice and you still have insomnia? Join the club! Running a business is hard. You're guaranteed to make mistakes, have some failures, need a few do-overs. It's all part and parcel of being a first time business owner... and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Be Oh So Quotable This Week!
Oh by the way, do you feel like you're too busy? Or like you're always working but not much is getting done? Your solution is right here and it's FREE!
I always say running a business means the work never ends! Ain't that the truth? I bet your to-do list is a mile long! Make sure that the items at the top of your list are the things that relate to being more profitable. Everyone is so proud of being so "busy"...But Are You Making Any Money? Don't be too busy to focus!
Check out the summary of last week's business tips and motivational quotes from my Instagram page which you hopefully got to see in real time! If not, let's make sure we're following each other on Instagram!! So...here is this week's roundup of Instagram images of My Top Business Tips and Motivational Quotes.
First Time Business Owner – Tip #1:
"What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise." – Oscar Wilde
First Time Business Owner – Tip #2:
"If you don’t have big dreams and goals, you’ll end up working for someone that does." – unknown
First Time Business Owner – Tip #3:
"A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way." – John C. Maxwell
First Time Business Owner – Tip #4:
"The job of a manager is to support his or her staff, not vice versa, and that begins by being among them." – Bill Hewlett
First Time Business Owner – Tip #5:
"Don't wait. The time will never be just right." – Napoleon Hill
Let's talk! I'd love to hear about your experiences as a first time business owner!
Are you a first time business owner? How's it going? Do you have any advice to share? I would LOVE to hear from you! Anyhoo...I publish these business tips and motivational quotes to get you fired up for your work week!
Oh by the way, want to eliminate frustration and increase cash? Discover 8 simple ideas to get clients, identify the three types of clients and create your sales system. Get Our Top 5 Strategies right here for FREE!
P.S. Of course that's not all we've got! Searching for more tips about running a business?
Then definitely take a look at these:
I'd love to hear your ideas! So please comment below and then SHARE!
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