Starting your own business can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s not without its challenges. There are a lot of things you need to learn in order to be successful, and the learning process can be tough. In this blog post, we will discuss 11 things that we wish we had known before starting our businesses. We hope that this information will help you avoid some of the mistakes that we made early on!
1. You need to be prepared for your business to consume your life.
You probably won’t get very far in your business before you realize that it is going to require a lot of time and dedication. Even if you plan on only doing this part-time, you will find that there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. The more successful you become, the more time it’s going to take. If you have a family, this is especially important to consider.
2. You will need patience and perseverance.
It takes both of these qualities to be successful in business, but even more so when you are doing it on your own. When you are first starting out, you will probably face a lot of highs and lows. There will be days when everything seems to go right, and there will also be many more days when it feels like nothing is working out. Patience will help you get through the low points, while perseverance will eventually lead to success.
3. You cannot fix things by throwing money at them.
It’s very easy to think that if you just throw enough money at the problem, then everything will be fine. You may have even heard that “it takes money to make money” or, if you are an experienced entrepreneur, that “if you want something done right you have to do it yourself.” Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. If you are in a position where this is happening, then you need to look at how your business is operating and find ways to simplify everything that you’re doing. Making more money should not be the goal; instead, focus on making your business simpler and easier to operate.
4. You will quickly become good friends with Google and YouTube.
The internet has given us immediate access to an unlimited amount of knowledge like never before in the history of the world. With a few quick clicks, you can find almost any piece of information that you need. As an entrepreneur, you will be very grateful for this. Use it! When faced with new problems or challenges, do not try to fight them on your own. Do the research and find out how others have dealt with similar issues. YouTube and Google will be some of your best friends!
5. Don’t listen to gurus and experts who don’t know what they’re talking about.
Another great thing about the internet is that everyone can publish whatever they want, whether it be good information or complete nonsense. Like we mentioned in #4, there is a lot of great knowledge out there, but you will also find a lot of bad advice and things that don’t apply to your business. Entrepreneurship is a very individual process, so don’t trust anyone who tells you exactly what to do. You need to develop your own path and figure out what works for you.
6. Your business should be about more than just making money.
When we first started our businesses, we were very driven by the idea of making a lot of money. While this is definitely an important part of entrepreneurship, there must also be other motivations at play. If it’s all about the money, then it will be easy to give up when times get tough. This is especially true if you are trying to build a social enterprise that is directly involved in solving social problems. The point of these types of business is not just financial profit; there needs to be an element that focuses on giving back and improving your community.
7. Your business should be about more than just making money (Part 2).
Yes, we know… this sounds like the same point above, but it’s not. We mention it because there are many entrepreneurs out there who treat their businesses like jobs instead of creating an actual company. They show up at 9am and go home at 5pm and basically treat their business like a second job. This might be fine if you only want to make enough money to get by, but it will eventually hold you back from making the kind of profit that could change your life (and help change the world). If you can afford to work on your company part-time after hours, then do so. But if you have a family to provide for, then it’s time to get serious and focus on building a business that can actually change the world.
8. It will take a long time before you can actually sell things from your website.
We were very naive when we first started our businesses and thought that people would magically start buying from us when we put up our websites. It’s not that simple! You need to have a lot of patience and focus on building a community around your products and services. People won’t just buy from you because they happen to visit your website one day; there needs to be a relationship that develops over time before someone is ready to buy something from you.
9. Being able to sell things from your website is one of the coolest feelings in the world.
However, this feeling does not come quickly! At first, you will probably feel discouraged by your lack of sales or traffic on your website. You may even start blaming yourself for something that you did wrong (which is just another form of giving up). But this is just part of the process; you will need to constantly work on improving your website and relationships with your customers (which brings us to our next point).
10. Your relationship with your customer is one of the most important things for your business.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that other aspects of your business (ie. production, marketing) are more important than relationships with your customers. However, that is simply not true! You can have incredible products and services, but if people don’t like you or trust you then it’s very unlikely that they will buy anything from you. If this happens over time, then they may even become “haters” and start telling everyone on the internet how you ripped them off. You need to constantly work on your relationships with your customers if you want your business to grow!
11. People won’t do business with a stranger… even if they like what you have to offer.
This is why it’s important to develop a relationship with your customers before trying to sell them something from your website. On the internet, people will buy from someone they trust before buying from a stranger who happens to have a good product or service. If you want to build strong relationships with your customers, then help solve their problems and give them a great experience whenever possible. This could be anything from sending them an unexpected gift to getting on the phone with them and really listening to what they have to say.
One important thing you should know before starting your business is that it will take a long time just to get people to visit your website, much less intending buying something from you. Most of the time, people are just “window shopping” when they are surfing the internet; they are not ready to buy anything (yet). Also, people won’t do business with you just because they like your website or your products. They need to get to know you first before buying something from you will be a comfortable experience for them.
If you think that these “tricks” of the trade are too simple to make a difference, then you are probably right. But these are the kinds of things that most business owners don’t think about before starting their businesses. I’m just trying to save you some time and money here by letting you know ahead of time what NOT to do!
How much money do I need before starting my business?
That depends on what type of business you are starting. If you are trying to start an online store, then it will probably cost around $50/month or less for hosting and payment processing fees.
What’s the best way to build a website?
The best way to create a website is by using WordPress , which is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to do so. You can either hire someone or learn about how it works yourself, but WordPress is a great way to go if you want your website to be up and running quickly.
What are the best ways to market my business?
There are many different ways to get exposure for your business, but it’s really up to you how much work you want do. There are some great “get exposure” tools online which use pay-per-click advertising and other means to get your business in front of the right people.
Which business structure should I choose?
It depends on how much time and money you have, what type of business you are starting, who is going to run it… there are lots of factors that could determine this for you.
Where do I start selling my product or service?
There are many different ways to sell your products and services. You can use a website, go door-to-door, have pop up shops, sell on social media… it’s really up to you. Just make sure that the distribution method makes sense for your product or service in order for it to have a better chance of success!
How do I pick a business name?
This depends on what type of business you want to start and what your industry is. Usually, a good idea is to make the business name as descriptive as possible; for example, “ABC Insurance” is a good choice for insurance business, but “Hot Insurance” is not.
Is it better to work alone or hire help?
This depends on who you are and what your business is. If you don’t enjoy doing certain things or are not very good at it, then it’s probably best to hire someone else rather than tying yourself down doing something that you hate. Also, if you have a big vision for your business but can’t do everything by yourself, then it may be necessary to hire someone to help you out.
How many products should I have before launching my website?
As little as possible. The only reason you would need lots of products is if you want to make a lot of different types of income (ie. eBooks, software, coaching, etc.). Other than that, one good-quality product will be enough for most online stores and service businesses.
In Other Words
Starting a business is hard. There are so many things to think about and it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we put together this list of eleven things that we wish we had known before starting our businesses. We hope that you find these tips helpful as you take the plunge into entrepreneurship. And if you have any additional advice, please share it in the comments below – we would love to hear from you!