Get small business savvy

THEY say that hindsight is 20/20. They say that knowledge is power. They say that if you knew at the outset of a project what you know at the end, you’d have a much better understanding of what you’re in for.

So, to take the leap and start an entrepreneurial business when you don’t know what the future may hold can be a daunting prospect. 

A few business mentors from The Hope Factory share their advice about some of the things that no one tells you before you start a business – and that may help to make your journey easier.

1. Research is not once off

You cannot do research for a business idea once and then cease all research. You may be told that you need to do research when you start. You will not always be told that you will need to be continually researching to grow your business.

Make time for this. Researching what your competitors are doing and what is happening in the industry you are in, is vital to your long-term success.

2. Change is a constant

Just as you establish an idea, a process, a plan, prepare to change it. You will be told that you need a plan, but people often leave out the word “flexible”.

Have a flexible plan and don’t be put off by regular change.

3. You will sleep less than you have in years

When you run your own business the buck stops with you, which means you are on call 24/7. You will have to set your alarm earlier and get to bed later.

You will be five people at any given time. You will be working harder than you ever did in a job.  

4. Prepare your family

While you may know what you’re getting yourself in for, your family and support structure may not. You will need support from your family and friends, in practical ways and through encouragement. 

Your family needs to buy into your business idea so that they can support you with understanding.

5. You’ll trade in one boss for many

The majority of entrepreneurs go into business because they “do not want to work for a boss”.

What they do not realise is that all the clients they will bring on board are ultimately their bosses - and they will be fully accountable to them.

6. Integrity is vital

Ethical companies are the only companies which will survive in the long term.  Without ethics, your business is doomed.

7. Your business is not your life

It exists to add value, meet and sustain your primary life aims. Anything less is enslavement to your business. 

8. Running a business is not easy

It may take years before it becomes sustainable. It’s important to hang in there.

9. Put it in writing

Differences of opinion occur in partnerships, so ensure you have discussed and documented all expectations upfront in a signed and legally valid and vetted agreement.

10. You will most likely be on your own and it can be lonely

No one quite understands what it is like to carry the weight of a multitude of potentially life changing decisions on a daily basis, especially when your heart and finances are all tied up in your new venture. Even when you have people you can talk to and glean advice from, you are the one left with all the decisions at the end of the day.

It is going to be lonely at times because no one else has the same vested interest in their business as you. Ensure that you have a strong support system and even better - a number of mentors to help you through the difficult times. 

Statistics show that businesses that have a mentor are far more likely to succeed than those that don’t.  

 - Fin24

* Share your experience of setting up a business or simply ask a question. Our business panel can put you on the right path.

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