I Wish Someone Had Told Me That Before I Started My Business…

I Wish Someone Had Told Me That Before I Started My Business…

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If you are thinking about starting your first business, you are no doubt trying to learn as much as possible in preparation. However, no matter how much reading or studying you do, it seems that nothing can prepare you for being a business owner. Most people say that there are so many things they wish they had known beforehand.

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To give you the upper hand when going into your new venture, we have put together a list of things that people wish they’d known before starting their first company below:

Decisions are suddenly much more important – You can often feel like you are always making important decisions when you are part of a large company. After all, there are certain expectations set on you. However, there are no parameters when you start your own company. It all falls on you to decide what the product or service is going to be, who your target audience is, how you are going to target them, and so on and so forth. Therefore, your decisions take on a much greater magnitude than ever before, and this is something that a lot of new business owners are not prepared for, even though they thought they were. It can be very liberating, but also rather scary too. Prioritising effectively is vital if you are to retain control of the situation.

There is a tool for virtually everything – If there is a certain task that is draining your time and energy, explore your options online regarding software and equipment. You will be shocked by how many options are available. There is a tool for virtually everything nowadays. This includes everything from communication tools to check printing software. The latter enables you to print your own checks. You can print electronic signatures directly to save time, as well as adding a second signature line when needed. This ensures your checks are completely tailored to your requirements, and it saves you a lot of time too. If there is software for this, imagine what else there is software for!

You will never NOT be working – It is likely that one of the reasons you wanted to start your own business is to break away from the standard 9-5 job. You will most certainly do that. In fact, you will never stop working once you become a business owner. You have probably already acknowledged the fact that you are going to need to put in long hours to get your business up and running. However, most business owners find it impossible to switch off. Thoughts and ideas will be popping into your head all of the time. In fact, it is a good idea to carry a notebook with you or make use of the Notes app on your phone to ensure you don’t forget any of these brain sparks.

Focus on building great relationships – No company is going to be able to survive without supportive communities and stakeholders, reliable suppliers, eager buyers, and talented employees. This is why you need to concentrate on building close relationships and expanding your network. At the end of the day, it is all about people.

Cash is king – This is arguably one of the biggest lessons you will learn as a new business owner. Cash is everything. If you don’t have cash coming in, your business is not going to survive. The same goes if you do not conserve the cash that you do have coming in. You need to be extremely careful, especially in the beginning. There are a number of ways you can reduce early business expenses in order to save money. This includes keeping office space at a minimum, resisting expensive office furniture, avoiding a fat salary, and using volunteers and interns when possible.

Customers will complain no matter how good your product is – People like to complain. No matter how much effort you put in, how fantastic your product is, or how much you have given that particular customer in terms of your time and effort, they still may be inclined to complain. How you handle such customer complaints will make or break your business. You should never argue with your customers and you should never take their comments to heart. Work hard to take their comments on board and improve your business. A good business owner is one that listens to his or her customers. Plus, if your overall feedback is glowingly positive, then you know you are on the right track overall.

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Hiring the right people is everything – One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is hiring anyone! Have you already promised your best friend a job? What about your sister and brother? Most new business owners feel the need to take on family and friends. They also opt for personal recommendations instead of developing a formal hiring process. This is not advised. The people you hire are going to be the lifeline of your business. A mistake here can be extremely costly. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your hiring process is correct. Firstly, you should test the waters yourself. After all, how are you going to be able to hire effectively if you do not have at least a basic understanding of what the person is going to be doing? It is vital to get a sense of the job. You should also develop a formal hiring process, which should cover everything from training and orientation to supervision and FAQ. Finally, consider more than talent. You need to find someone that is going to be the right fit for your business.

Being the cheapest on the market is not always the best way to go – When you enter a market, you need to offer something different that is going to entice customers to choose your company. Naturally, this leads a lot of new business owners to come into the marketplace with prices that are lower than the competition. However, this is not always the best way to go about it. Charging premium prices could be to your benefit. By charging a higher rate, you give the impression of quality. It shows that you are an expert in your field. Charging premium rates can also help you to grow your reputation, deliver excellent customer service because you are focusing on a fewer number of clients, and you will get less complaints too.

You will need to be patient – This is the frustrating part; being patient. A lot of business owners expect things to happen overnight, but the reality is that it does not work like that. Most business owners start off with a simple product – something that they know the customer needs. They then put their promotional material in place and get bloggers to write positive content about the product in question. When this is all sorted, they expect sales to start flooding in, but they often don’t. You need to be patient!

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Be friends with the media – There are many businesses with incredible products, yet they fail to go anywhere, and the main reason for this is because they have not gained any attention. This is why it is a good idea to make friends with people that work at a number of media outlets. By doing this, you will already have connections that you trust when the time comes to promote your product.

You have to battle with your bias – Most business owners think that their business is better than it is. This is only natural; they have started the company after all. This is known as the IKEA effect. Have you ever assembled IKEA furniture before? You then overvalue it because you have assembled it, right? Well, this is exactly what happens when starting your own business. However, it is critical to listen to feedback that is given by others. If someone tells you that they don’t like something about your business, you do not necessarily need to agree with them, but you do need to listen to what they have said and act upon it.

The odds are against you – This isn’t to put you off; it’s simply a fact – most startups do fail. So, what should you do? The answer is simple: put the odds in your favour. You can do this by developing the skills that are going to help your business succeed. Never stop learning. Take training courses, read books, shadow other companies; whatever it takes to advance your personal skill set.

Embrace your mistakes – You are going to make mistakes. Fact. It is how you deal with them that matters. After all, you are going into the unknown. No matter how prepared or knowledgeable you are, mistakes are going to happen. Even after reading this guide, your journey is going to be different to the journey that others have been on. Therefore, you will make errors. Simply embrace them, find out where you went wrong, learn from them, and move on. This is the only way to be successful in business.


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