Having a business isn't easy, big or small - when it comes to starting out, in most cases you need to start out small. You need to learn through trial and error, or by speaking to mentors, learn to stay organised, and find a balance between family and work so it doesn't take over your life! Though learning this way is inevitable, here are some points that no one tells you about having your own business that you're sure to benefit from so you can make your learning path a bit smoother.
1) The Highs & Lows
When it comes to running a business you may not realise, but it's literally like a roller coaster. When everything is running smoothly you have some of the happiest and highest moments but if things go wrong, you experience some of the lowest of lows with countless sleepless nights. Make sure you celebrate all victories, even the smallest, because running a business isnt easy - focus on all of the positives.
2) Don't Over Promise
When I started my business I was so determined to get good feedback and make customers happy so they'd spread the word, but by doing this I was giving out so many free gifts. Though they were really small, they were really starting to cost me and took a tole financially. Be realistic, dont promise more than you can deliver, even though your goals may be in the right place, if you dont do what you say you'll do you could come across as a liar to those let down. This also goes for yourself, don't keep accepting more and more tasks until you cant handle it and have too much on your place because believe me, you will crash and burn.
3) You have to make yourself a priority
I mentioned this in my last blog post, if you’re not able to take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else. If you can’t lead yourself, you won’t be able to lead anyone else. This is in terms of delivering your product or service well, or leading your team. Diet and exercise are key to keep you physically well, but you also need 'you time' to keep you mentally well. No matter what, make sure you always put time aside to look after yourself, you are a priority, without you there would be no business to run!
4) You have to be your own first customer.
If you don’t use your own products or services, why should anyone else? By using your own products is actually really good as you can test them, evaluate them, and know exactly how to make them better. For example, the best chefs taste their food before sending it out to the table to make sure what they're sending out is up to their standards. Also, if you're not using your own product or service, what is that saying to potential customers? It does not come across well, you make it seem like you're not confident in your product and therefore people likely wont use it either if they find out you dont.
5) Brand Identity is Critical
If you as a businesss arent branded, you dont have an identity. Many small organizations dont spend enough time thinking about their brand in this broad sense and the impact it has on their business. Branding promotes recognition, if your branding is consistent and easy to recognize, it can help people feel more at ease purchasing your products or services and gives them a 'face' so to say, to associate your brand with as it sets you apart from your competition.
6) Mentors Are An Essential
Being able to ask question to someone who has walked the path as an entrepreneur is vital. Gaining knowledge from others experiences and discover insights that you would never have had before. Having a mentor can help you in so many ways, open up doors that you didnt even know existed, and help you not make the same mistakes that they did. It basically gives you a head start, don't be afraid to ask questions!
7) Early Success is Temporary Luck
When you start a new business and achieve some early success, you need to be disciplined to always keep your ego in check and keep your starting vision in mind. I learned this lesson the hard way when I had a specific item that blew up, then I hired someone to sew for me and the sales dropped. Avoid the same mistake by staying focused and not getting overly excited by this sort of situation. It is said that the best entrepreneurs are paranoid and never believe their own press.
8) Ideas Themselves Are Not Worth Much
It is super common for early entrepreneurs get excited when they think they have a billion dollar idea. Just because you thought of it doesnt mean that you own it. Realistically the chances are that multiple people have tried most of these ideas in some shape or form. In most cases, it’s your team and your execution that will differentiate you rather than the idea itself.
Now you know, so keep these points in mind and make your journey as smooth sailing as you can because it can be a bumpy ride. Consider yourself told, and good luck!