[This article was written by Finn Pegler.]
Starting your own business from the ground up can be a significant challenge. You want your business to succeed, but you often do not know what it entails. If you have been working at something for your entire adult life and are in your forties, you still may not know how to make the whole business run. What you have figured out though, is that you do not want to do it for someone else’s profit. Here are some key consideration for budding entrepreneurs.
Value your Time
One of the worst things you can do is work whenever people want you as your time is valuable. You need to set a precedent with your clients as if they can readily contact you at 3am on a Sunday, they will. You may decide that you want to work more than forty hours a week and most people do, but you should not be at everyone’s beck and call all the time. You need to formulate a schedule for when you will be working and available. Let your clients know this schedule and do not deviate from the plan unless you have a very good reason. Dinner with your family should take priority over a client’s email. Will there be emergencies? Probably. That does not mean that every email must be answered immediately. Give clients a way to contact you in distress and let them know what constitutes an emergency. Your time is valuable; treat it as such.
Check ROI on Marketing
There are no shortcuts in marketing. Cheap marketing opportunities usually get you what you pay for. You should invest in marketing that makes sense and most importantly has a positive ROI. Keep in mind your demographic and determine the right marketing techniques for you. Hiring a marketing professional doesn’t hurt either, especially if you’ve burned money on marketing before without getting the desired results.
Be ready to fail
Even the best ideas sometimes fail so always have it in the back of your mind that in spite of your best efforts everything won’t always go your way. If you want to add a new service but find that the training is more costly than it will be worth in the beginning, waiting is fine and not beat yourself up over the ideas that do not work. Try not to sink tons of money into something before it is tested, hedge your bets just a little in case something doesn’t quite work out the way you imagined. Spend a little time if you can trying to figure out why the task, idea or product failed. Ask yourself if you did not test it properly or research it correctly. If you can improve upon it, you may retry it later.
Hire the right people
Hire good people and trust them to do good things. This sounds simplistic, sure, but your business is going to live or die by your people. Find the people who excel at the things you do not and give them total control of those areas. Hire people you can count on and support these people. If you believe in them and let them use their skills, they will work for you and with you, to make you and your business successful. Do not be afraid of those with more knowledge than you. Use their expertise to build you and your business up. If you embrace their strengths, they will be grateful more often than deceitful.
If you cannot do something, give it to the person who can. This goes for employees, associates, partners, or outside professionals. Do not draw up or read contracts without an attorney. Don’t worry about sending every email if you have a personal assistant. If you don’t have one, think about hiring one – even a virtual assistant would be great. This assistant can send and receive emails, make phone calls, schedule meetings and order supplies. You do not need to do everything. Make use of your strengths while giving other people tasks that make use of theirs.
The cheapest accountant is not necessarily the right one. This also does not mean bankrupting yourself paying professionals. Search for the right professionals, get referrals and interview them like you would for any other job. These are the people you are hiring to help you manage your money and possibly avoid drawing the IRS’s attention and getting audited. Do not skimp on professionals. Hire good ones with your interests in mind.
Even if you follow all of these tips, you are bound to make some mistakes. If you hire the wrong accountant and he stops answering your calls, find a new one or renegotiate your contract. Do not stick with professionals, employees, or ideas that become liabilities. Do the job that you know how to do and surround yourself with the people that can do the rest.
Finn Pegler is the CEO of DeluxeMaid. He is passionate about small business, startups, and tech.