When my friends and family learned the news that I’d be starting my own business, they were excited and anxious about the next chapter in my life.
If you’ve never had your own business, you’re in for an intense roller coaster filled with obstacles and gratification. Looking back, it’s amazing how dedication, perseverance, and courage have contributed to the success story of my business.
Starting something new is never easy, but hopefully it gets better as things progress. Creating my current company was no smooth-sailing and there were things that I wish I had known prior to starting a business.
Using those experiences gained through my own journey, here are a number of tips that may ease the start of your own business venture.
Focus on Needs
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the euphoria of a new adventure, but discipline can’t be stressed enough for business owners. At the beginning, you’ll be wearing a lot of hats at the same time and initial investment may be limited.
As such, it would be wise to limit your needs during the early stages by focusing on essential things. In doing so, you’ll be financially better prepared in case money runs short during the first few months.
Show Me the Money
It would be great if we were all entrepreneurs with a pile of money, but unfortunately, it’s not the reality for the majority of us – myself included.
Early on, I was forewarned that money will be tight after the launch of my business, yet I fell into the common trap of not properly managing my small business finances. Insufficient funding is the primary reason that half of small businesses close down, so plan wisely.
Spearheading a business is more than earning enough to survive every month, it’s also about generating continuous cash flow. You’ll need an action plan for sales strategy, having potential investors/lenders, and steps to take in case the company’s cash flow runs dry.
If you’re able to secure more than one financial source, you’ll be less stressed out, which isn’t a bad thing.
Select the Best Company Setup
Deciding on your company’s legal structure can really help with your finances from the start and into the future. Choosing the most suitable company setup will protect your personal assets during times of crisis. Allocate some time to read about the different legal structures of a business or you can consult a business lawyer.
Generally, company setups include sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation or cooperative.
The types of protection, benefits, documentation, and consequences vary with each legal structure, thus choosing the best setup for your business can lessen the hassle.
Be Prepared for any Disruption
With the dawn of the digital era in full gear, you should prepare for digital disruptions to occur. We’ve seen abrupt technological disruption happen to the transportation industry thanks to the likes of Uber, Grab, and Lyft.
Then there’s e-commerce, and although it has reshaped the retail industry, it has also been criticised for hurting retailers.
The idea is to not only invest in digital channels such as a good website, but it’s also about swift action. The rapid rate of a predominantly tech-driven change means that as a business owner, you have to be quick on your feet.
The advantage with small businesses is they have greater flexibility to adapt to changes.
No Shame in Failure
It won’t always be roses and daisies every single day you’re operating your business because let’s face it, failures happen. Not every product or service will sell and sure, sometimes one marketing campaign won’t go the way you expect it to. Sometimes we fail and that’s alright.
What’s important is having perspective and ensuring you’re not losing your business.
Turn to a Mentor
Having a mentor is something I wish I had considered when I first started. It would’ve been nice to hear a trusted person give me their advice on how to steer the business or their opinions over a new product or service.
Mentors are like a compass helping you to navigate through the often-perilous journey of entrepreneurship. Due to the important nature of their role, it is advisable that you find a mentor with successful experience in running a business, someone who understands your vision for the company, and is willing to be honest with you.
Take a Step Back with Each New Idea
Losing focus is human nature hence why it’s important that you learn how to step back and reflect on certain initiatives before implementing an entire strategy.
Small business owners will find it tricky spurring growth because it’s a delicate balance to achieve. Too many changes too often can impede growth.
Before you take action with a new idea, decide if it fits within the scope of your business goals then go from there.