Things I wish I knew before starting up in business

Isn’t hindsight great?

Having gone through the trials, tribulations and roller-coaster rise that is getting your own business up and running I thought I might highlight a few things that I wish people had prepared me for before I started.  Keep these in mind as you start your own business and you’ll be streets ahead.

Vision

II you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve you will never know if you’ve made it.  A clear vision about what you want to do, how you want to do it and – most importantly – why you want to do it is absolutely vital.  That vision should be crystal clear in your mind and when you talk to others about it you should end up like an excited puppy.  If talking about it doesn’t excite you then it’s unlikely to excite others.

Determination

A child falls over many times before it learns to walk; the crucial thing for the child is not to give up trying. As your set out on your passage to wealth and success you will fall over many times too; your vision and determination will keep you going.

Physical and mental health

New business owners can get sucked into feeling that they need to work 24 hours a day, or that success will come quicker if they work 24/7.  To a degree that is true but there is a tipping point, where your performance goes off the boil, you start making mistakes and your general health starts to suffer.  Starting a business is a marathon, not a sprint, so act accordingly.  Yes, there are times when you have to put in the all-nighter but having a sensible work/life balance is more important in the long term.  Make sure you leave time in your program for physical exercise if your job is sedentary, and time for mental reflection regardless of the job type.

Mentor/coach

Find someone you trust to use as a mentor or coach.  Don’t rely on your partner as they will either give you the answer they think you want or strains will build up in the relationship.  A neutral person who you can go to and discuss the business is a really good way to help put things into perspective and clarify your thinking.

Money

When you write your business plan look at how much money it looks like you need then double it.  It invariably takes a lot longer for the money to start rolling in than you thought and so a safety net is useful.  If nothing else it stops you from being diverted from your path to keep visiting the bank manager to beg for more funds.

Remain flexible

No matter how good the idea is or how clear you are about how things should work occasionally you need to change things.  Sometimes it’s only through trial and error that a clear way ahead comes to light, other times you might suddenly see that your original idea can be and 10 times better if you shift emphasis or market.  Being flexible is not a weakness, it’s a strength.

Behind each of the paragraphs above is a little bit of personal pain and history.  I learned the hard way and I’m writing this to save you some of the trouble so keep these things in mind as you start up your new venture.

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