10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Own Business
August 24, 2022
By John Rampton
Surprisingly, most business owners wouldn't have it any other way. It's a badge of honor that we proudly display.
Still, there are few mistakes I wish I hadn't made. Not that I'm embarrassed; these mistakes have helped me get to where I am today. It's just that if I could have prevented them, the journey could have been a bit smoother and less stressful.
With that in mind, here are 10 things that I wish I knew before I launched my own business.
1. Running the business is always the top priority - Perhaps the biggest misconception about starting your own business is that you are only focused on chasing your passion. Instead, you are going to spend the bulk of your time on developing business strategies, marketing, selling, interacting with customers, and doing administrative tasks like bookkeeping, invoicing, and payroll.
2. It's about helping others, not turning a profit - Your focus should be on helping your customers solve a problem or make their lives better. Once you realize that it's not about you or how much money is flowing into your bank, you will start delivering a superior product or service, which will attract more customers.
3. The importance of cash flow management - The most effective way to manage your cash flow is by creating a budget and justifying every expense so that you know exactly where your hard-earned money is going.
4. The odds are stacked against me, and that's alright - Even if your business fails, it is not the end of the world. At least you have gained new skills, experiences, and have learned from your mistakes so that you can come back even stronger.
5. It's lonely - Having a co-founder or business partner can lessen that burden and make the journey not as lonely but if you are not in that position then you should build a safety net.
6. Activity does not equal growth - Growth means that you are building a product and adding customers. That's it.
7. A part-time gig gives you peace of mind - Successful businesses do not happen overnight. It takes time. And during that period there will be times when money is not coming through the door. Having a second gig, like freelancing or delivering pizza on the weekends, alleviates some of that financial stress so that you are not distracted.
8. Optimize, outsource, and automate whatever you can - Entrepreneurs have the mindset that they must do everything on their own. Not only is that a one-way ticket to Burnout Ville, but it’s also just bad for business.
9. Engage with your audience - Your customers do not want to do business with some faceless, nameless organization. They want to know that there is an actual person on the other end. Someone who will respond to their inquiries and understand their pain points.
10. Don't forget to have fun - I know what you are thinking. Why take a vacation or play hooky on a Friday afternoon so that you go hiking with friends when you have so much work to do? Because you need to enjoy life. It keeps you sane. Helps you refocus and come up with new ideas to solve problems.
Final words of advice.
Even if you follow the advice listed above that doesn’t mean that you are going to be mistake-free when starting your business. Every business owner will encounter their own specific set of problems to overcome - which means there are going to be plenty of instances of trial and error.