Three keys to success when starting a small business
When you’re thinking about starting a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your new business ideas. That “starting a new business excitement” is a wonderful thing, because it can propel you past self-doubt, give you the energy you need to work long hours, and give you faith when the going gets tough.
At the same time, there are a few things an aspiring entrepreneur should keep in mind when starting a small business. These three keys to small business success that I discovered when starting and growing my business.
Business tip #1: Ask for advice - and listen. After I decided to launch my marketing business, but before I actually took the leap, I bought lunch for every entrepreneur I knew. I asked them what mistakes they made, what they would do different if they could, and if they had any advice for me. I told them all, “I’m going to make a lot of mistakes as a new entrepreneur, I don’t need to make your mistakes too!” I also met with an accountant I knew, tapped into a lawyer friend to have him review my contract, and sat down with a banker. I listened to what they had to say, and I did everything they told me to do. I got some great advice. I still made a lot of mistakes. A LOT! But the advice I got from those meetings made a huge difference in my confidence and my success.
Business tip #2: Document your plans. Research shows that you’re 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. When you’re taking all the steps to starting a new business, it’s easy to get off track. It’s also really easy to focus on the parts of the startup process that are easy for you and ignore the parts you don’t like doing or can’t do very well. By writing a startup business plan, you can be sure you have well defined goals. You’ll think about the steps you need to take to achieve those goals, you’ll create a budget you can live with, and you can set deadlines to ensure you actually make things happen. You should also write a marketing plan. Don’t know how? I’ve explained what to think about in the blog post: What’s your small business marketing plan?
Business tip #3: Don’t try to do it all. It’s pretty easy to work yourself to death when you have a new business. At first, you’re filled with entrepreneurial excitement. Later, you’re busy or you’ve come to realize that you are your cheapest employee. Need to write an e-newsletter? You can do that after hours, right? Create social posts at midnight! Check emails on vacation! Go, go, go! I totally get it. I worked pretty much 7 days a week for the first 7 years of my business. But I found that when I forced myself to take time off, I had better ideas and a lot more enthusiasm for my business. Try to maintain some work/life balance with these three tips or tap into my favorite working mom life hacks. Also, automate what you can. I used accounting software from day one with my business and it was a life saver! Last, but certainly not least, outsource as soon as you can. The first time I delegated my bookkeeping to a freelancer, I was nervous. But then I went in the other room and did the work I was really good at while she paid my bills and organized my finances, which I was so not good at, and I was sold!
Starting a business is an exciting time in your life. Believe in yourself, work hard, and follow these three startup tips and you’ll be on your way to a business you can be proud of.