Shout out to all the small biz owners out there! With over 27 million small businesses across the US, it’d be difficult for most Americans to NOT know someone who either owns or works for a small business, so next time you see them, give them a heartfelt thank you. What they’ve taken on is not easy, and if you’re thinking of going into business for yourself, well...that’s why we’re here. Take it from us, we’ve worked with several small businesses (and are classified as one ourselves), so we know how much work it can be.
Here are 9 things you should know before you get started taking on your own business venture, whether it’s product or service based.
- It’s going to be harder than you think. As the owner, you’re going to spend more hours than you would as someone else’s employee to make your business your own, and make it one that you’re proud to call yours.
- Do it right the first time. Hire an attorney and an accountant to make sure that your business is set from a legal and financial standpoint, two core foundations needed to getting any business off the ground. Make sure you are aware of any legal requirements for your industry, and what your financials (and projections) look like at all times.
- People are the lifeblood of your business, so hire accordingly. When you’re on a small team, there’s not too much room for hiding from people you don’t like. Make sure that you not only hire talented people who are invested in what you’re trying to achieve, but also people that you like. As the owner of a small business, you get to dictate the company culture, so be smart with who you choose to call a member of your time.
- Know what makes you different, whether that’s with your product, service offering or just your overall company approach to your industry. People (investors, clients, customers, future hires, vendors, etc.) are going to ask you why they should work with you over someone else, and you should be prepared to make that statement with confidence.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Naturally, things are going to go wrong, but the more time you spend thinking about those things is valuable time that isn’t being contributed to the growth of your business. Learn from your mistakes and move on to the next hurdle, because it’s going to be bigger than the last one.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. While you may have a sense of this before you go into business for yourself, you’re going to learn more about yourself along the way, as well as what you like to do and what you despise. As you grow, start to hire people who enjoy doing the stuff you hate or the stuff you suck at. It will help you ramp up your business a lot faster when those things are off your to do list.
- Don’t spend too much time on any one thing. As an agency who is well-versed in working with start ups, we see this kind of thing happen all the time. We see new businesses spend hours upon hours trying to make the perfect logo or find the exact right business card to hand out at networking events. While it is important to have your branding on point for your company, there’s only so much time you can spend tweaking the color theory. Pick something you like, and move on to the next thing.
- Find your people. Having the right advisors and support system is going to be crucial to your success. There will be times you want to give up, and times you just feel like you’re in it alone. Having support from those who have gone through something similar will make you realize that you can get through it. Plus they’ll be able to guide you towards success by sharing learnings from their own pitfalls with you.
- Network like there is no tomorrow. You never know when you’re going to meet that perfect someone to help grow your business, whether it’s a coach, future employee, vendor, advisor or investor. Be open to meeting people whereever you go and talking about why you’re doing what you’re doing.
We know it’s going to be a lot of work, and you’re going to put in more time than you even realized, but in the end, you get to call yourself boss...and that’s worth it!
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