10 Truths On Starting Your Own Business
Each year over 627,000 new businesses start their journey and over 51% of the these new business owners are over the age of 50. The question is why? New found freedom that comes with grown children, more financial stability and dissatisfaction with corporate careers may all be part of the equation.
At the tender age of 56, I left a safe corporate career in the luxury retail industry and determined that I was ready to begin a new chapter in my life, one that included starting a new business that spoke to my values and interests.
I wanted flexibility that allowed for frequent travel to visit my children and I wanted work that had added value to my passion for being part of a community and neighborhood businesses. I began a version of Swivel Works in 2016. My goal was to support main street businesses and help them fulfill their dream of owning and operating a successful small business through freelance services and project management.
Knowing that I had the stamina to survive the stressful culture of a corporate work environment, I believed that building my own business would be a stress free, almost zen like experience, since I would be reporting to myself and setting my own goals and expectations.
But how could I have known that the expectations I set for my new business would be tough to meet?
The sales goals I set wouldn’t be a breeze to accomplish. A driven and passionate entrepreneur is rarely satisfied with the status quo and I have been no different. I never expected that I would continually want to do more, offer more to our clients and develop more services. As my business grew with the need to add employees, develop a company culture, set policies and make decisions that affected more than myself, I quickly discovered growth can be very uncomfortable and scary. Each step has required that I really understand and think through long term consequences that may impact future growth of my business, if I remain determined to reach the full potential of my business.
If you are starting your own business, there are ten truths you will want to acknowledge before jumping in. It’s good to start off knowing the challenges and the difficulties you will almost certainly face as you build your business.
A new business idea is easy and exciting, but the execution is extremely challenging and exhausting.
HIRE THE PROS: You will need help from experts from the very start. It is easier to start properly than trying to go back to fix what you incorrectly set up to start. Accountants, attorneys and creative talent are good pros to start with.
SALES STRATEGY: Building sales will be all important. This most certainly will be the biggest challenge and the most time consuming of all your other tasks. Very few people starting out realize this and having a sales strategy in place with goals and strategies will set you off on the right path for growth.
MARKETING: Putting all the marketing pieces together and telling your story in an authentic and meaningful way takes consistency and creative talent. From the initial branding of your business to the messaging and budgeting for ad spend can’t and shouldn’t be an after thought. Find a creative team that can help you design your brand and bring your comprehensive vision to life from the beginning. Trust us, it will be more cost effective than rebranding in a year or two.
MONEY: You will need A LOT more money than you think to start your business. Knowing your start up costs and having funds to support you through the first year is crucial.
IT’S A LONG GAME: No business is an overnight success. Plan on 5 years for your success story and if it happens earlier – Congrats, but you are in the minority.
DELEGATE: “Deciding what not to do is just as important as deciding what to do.” Be sure to delegate what you don’t like to do, or what you are not an expert at.
IGNORANCE ISN’T BLISS: Know and understand your financials and make sure you review them regularly. Don’t ignore what your financial reports are telling you. Review them weekly and minimally monthly.
LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIPS: You won’t always love your business – there will be days, even weeks that it sucks. It is okay to feel frustrated as you build your dream business. Some days will feel extraordinarily exhausting and you may feel defeated and ready to give up. Understand that it takes passion, persistence and patience, so keep going. It’s your dream you are trying to launch!
BUSINESS PLAN: It doesn’t matter if it is on a napkin or a formalized plan, but go back to it often. Your plan can be simple, but you need to understand your mission, who you serve and how you are going to acquire your clients. It doesn’t matter if you are a retailer, B2B or service based business, your business plan will be your guiding outline.
DON’T GET LOST IN THE WEEDS: There is an overwhelming amount of information on building your business on the internet, don’t get lost in it. You can spend months, researching, reading, following and trying to master every aspect of a new business. But there is no such thing as a perfect time to start. Once you have your dream, feel confident in your business plan, & done your market research, there is no better time than right now to get started!