Many would-be business owners have a romantic view of business. My personal journey with business started about 10 years ago when I decided that working for a boss wasn’t for me. I was desperate to get out and just started writing. I would write in my lunch break at work, after dinner and before my day started. I just kept writing!
Here are 7 random tips I’ve learned since starting out in business
1. Get a business mantra
During hard times in business I’ve applied this little personal mantra:
“If you don’t know what to do next, do what you know.”
My mantra has worked for me over the years, because I believe passion is the biggest driver behind a successful business. I believe if you don’t have passion for the subject (for me it is writing and never paying full price!) it is hard to persevere through the hard times and tough slog that being in business can present.
2. Take calculated risks
I flirted with business for many years and it is only recently that I’ve quit my day job. Literally – I only did this three months ago and I can tell you that was a very pleasant moment. But, what I didn’t have was start-up capital or the resources to get my business started, as hubby and I were busy throwing most of our money into home renovations and securing property. I also didn’t want to start out business in debt or gamble my initial lack of business experience on my family’s future. So my business has been funded by hours of sweat (yeah – time is money) and wages (both mine and and that of my husband).
3. Use your job to gain important skills
It was hard to make the break from the workforce into a business. I’ve quit my job numerous times – but often kept having to go back to work to keep the projects going. The ‘big picture’ was always in mind though.
I’d say that, looking back, I’ve done business the slow and painful way and isn’t hindsight grand? I’ve built up skills and expertise while still working in jobs and built up my business working extended hours above and beyond a typical working mum’s schedule.
4. Make sure you have passion for the topic
It’s nice to dream about being one’s own boss but I have to say that if I didn’t have passion for the topic (for me its writing and saving time, money and sanity) I’d still be in a day job. Business on a shoestring is certainly not a gig for the faint-hearted or apathetic.
According to the Herald Sun an average of 44 small businesses close their doors each day in Victoria alone. Reasons vary and include, but are not limited to, large utilities bills, labour costs, red tape, lack of business experience, poor locations, poor financial control, not keeping overheads down, ineffective strategic planning and cash flow management issues.
5. Understand what’s involved
For many the idea of running a business is wonderful. There’s the thought of having no boss and living a free and easy life. But in fact, running a business can be very isolating, especially if you work from home alone each day – like me! You have to be extremely motivated to keep going (that’s where passion is important), especially in the early stages of business when cashflow and customers haven’t arrived yet.
6. Learn as much as you can to save costs
Further, many people don’t understand that, as a sole business operator, a person has to be and do everything from answering phones, to filing accounts – to making big business daily decisions. For mums like me – the job is even more daunting, because many of us mumpreneurs are facing a day in business with smaller kids in tow. I’ve learned every aspect of my business for two reasons:
- I just love learning new stuff and originally I couldn’t afford to hire companies to the work for me.
- Should I decide to hire and manage people one day – I’d like to know what is involved in their daily processes from the ground up. That way – I can be a better manager and have a full understanding of the work my employees are doing on a daily basis.
6. Liken business to flying a plane
I have a little visual in business. I liken business to flying a plane. Consider that you are the pilot, the flight attendant, the mechanic, the cleaner, the cook, the boarding pass customer service agent, the company CEO and everything in between. And yeah – if that baby goes down after you’ve done all those jobs – you’re screwed! So learn to be a good pilot – while doing everything else in-between. Once that plane is flying beautifully and all systems in order – you can go out and hire people.
7. Finally – Outsource what you can afford
Learn to focus on your strengths and outsource what you are not good at.
Note: Don’t do this unless you can afford it! You may have to learn new skills to fill the gaps in the first few years of business, otherwise you might risk too many overheads.
Do you have some random business tips you’d like to share? Add them to comments below.