Are you thinking about starting a small business but you have some concerns that are causing you to hesitate? You are not alone because opening a small business is not for everyone; and it's not easy!
I started my own bookkeeping service almost a decade ago. I have learned so many tough business lessons: not only through growing our business, but also by helping our bookkeeping clients grow.
If you are considering opening a small business here are 5 things you need to know.
1. Your Overall Goal
A lot of people start a business without truly understanding why they want to start a business. The first thing you need to do when you start a business is to define why you are doing so, and what you hope to accomplish.
If you haven't seen the Simon Sinek TED talk Start With Why you should stop reading and watch it right now.
There are many reasons that people choose to start their own business including:
- Sick of having a job
- To sell it someday
The whole idea here is that it’s incredibly important that you begin by defining why you are starting your own business.
2. Align With Your Goal Daily
Now that you have defined why you’re starting a business, you need to make sure you align with that goal every single day. Many business owners get caught up in the minute, day-to-day details of their business that, quite honestly, don't really matter.
Start each day by reading your vision for your business and make sure you’re moving towards that goal. Make a list of the things that are keeping you from accomplishing your goal, and get them done.
If, each day, you can just focus on getting one thing done that brings you closer to your overall goal, then I would say that’s a productive day.
3. Define Your Differentiator
Before you go out on your own in business, it’s really important to define how you’re different from your competitors. If you start out in business trying to be like your successful competitors, you won't catch them and you probably won't be very successful.
A lot of people start a business because they have a deep passion for something.
While passion is good it won't automatically translate into a successful business.
Understand what makes your business special and why customers should choose you over the competition. Make sure your differentiator is communicated throughout your business, and that your employees buy into it and deliver the right experience to your customers.
4. Sales Is Everything
Throughout your experience of growing your business, you will have varying opinions of what the most important aspect of your business is. You can certainly make a case that any one of the following is the most important ingredient to a successful business:
- Marketing and lead generation
- A strong team
- Effective management
- Customer service
- Employee development
- Standard procedures
I have gone back and forth over the last decade on what is the most important ingredient to having a successful business. With that being said, to echo Mark Cuban's words "sales cures all."
I think a lot of new business owners underestimate both the importance, as well as the difficulty, of sales. Without sales, you won't be in business very long.
If you are a small business owner, you are in sales; period.
5. You Can't Do Everything
If you’re the type of person that has to do everything, you’re not going to make a great business owner. In addition, those that try and do everything don't have a business — they have a job.
One thing you’ll have to get good at is delegating. It’s tough to delegate tasks if you don't have a great team that you have confidence in. Additionally, you need to make sure you invest in properly training your team so the job will get done better than if you did it yourself.
Another thing to consider is outside help in areas where you struggle. You can't possibly know everything, nor be good at every aspect of owning a business. Finding a good small business consultant can prove invaluable to your success as a business owner.
Learn to delegate effectively and seek help from trusted advisors in areas where you struggle.
What advice do you have for those that are thinking about opening a small business?
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