Starting a new business is a fun adventure, but also a challenge. Below are 4 things that every entrepreneur needs to know before they jump headfirst into the business world.
It will take a few years to be profitable.
Many people decide to start their own business because they are attracted to the potential lifestyle — creating your own schedule, making a fair bit of capital, having unlimited freedom, etc. What they don’t realize is that starting a business is hard. It will take a few years of hard work before you are able to live that entrepreneurial lifestyle. You need to be willing and able to invest not only your money, but your time to make your business work. You will need to make sacrifices in the first few years, but with enough determination, you can make it work.
You can’t do it alone.
We all have our different strengths and weaknesses, and the key to being a successful business owner is recognizing that. Maybe you have incredible technical skills but you’re not very business savvy, or maybe you are great at making connections, but not so great at following up. Having a business partner or strong employees can help fill your weaknesses and grow your company. There is also no shame in outsourcing what you cannot do in-house, such as doing your taxes, building your website, taking photos of your products, etc.
Be flexible with clients, but don’t sell yourself short.
As a new business owner you need to build your clientele, and sometimes that will include running deals, giving clients more time to pay, throwing in extras, etc. However, you need to make sure that you only promise what you can reasonably handle. You want to be competitive, but you also have to take care of yourself. Make sure that projects are always in the green, and that you make enough to pay for your overhead, and then some.
Being a business owner is primarily crisis management.
At the end of the day if something goes wrong, responsibility will fall on your shoulders. You will need to fix relationships with clients, work extra hours to complete projects, solve problems with employees, etc. It’s no easy task. You can’t point fingers and blame employees, clients, or anything else, you have to be professional and solve problems quickly and effectively. There is no such thing as “That’s not my job” when you are a business owner.