Starting up a business can be scary with many new business owners taking risks such as a huge drop in their income, loss of security that a paid post brings and fear of the unknown. But for most the excitement of standing out there alone and doing your own thing means you ride on an adrenalin roller-coaster for much of your start-up phase.dekor-oknoReTeks
It’s a good job too as, if you didn’t get that mixed feeling of fear, exhilaration and sheer delight when finally acting on your dream, most business ideas would never get past that ‘daydreaming in another boring meeting’ phase. But for those of you who have pushed on through those worries and concerns and started up your enterprise those feelings of fear and dread can come flooding back when you realise the bank balance is looking more than a little sad, the bills are piling up and customers don’t seem as keen to buy your product or service as your initial market research had suggested.
Yes this is business reality, you now work harder than you did when you had an employer, you earn less than you did 10 years ago, and you have little or no security and constantly worry if you have done the right thing. Yet you love it, your passion and drive keep you going in the small hours of the morning and determination to make it happen pushes you forward daily. Getting through this period of uncertainty is hard but not impossible. Here are some strategies for getting you from another average business start up to solid and established company.
Keep yourself focused
Now is the time that you need to keep yourself focused. Remember why you took this path rather than being another 9-5, PAYE person. Keep in your mind at all times the benefits being your own boss bring you and will continue to bring you in the future. You also need to keep focused on the business. When things are difficult it is easy to look for different ideas, new routes to market and other money making opportunities.
But deviating from your plans or being distracted by new ideas can be devastating at this early time in business. Now is the time when you need to keep focused on your core business idea, product or service and the market you identified. Are you doing all you can to make this idea fly? Have you spoken to the right people, done the promotional work you had planned or forged those links with suppliers, distributors and other business owners?
Spend time re-evaluating your business plan and focus on making this business a success rather than wasting time on redesigning web sites, flyers and other easily completed yet non-profit making tasks. Instead spend time on refining your product, increasing your profit margins and driving your sales.
My Top Tip – If you find it hard to keep focused consider working with a mentor or pair up with another business owner to agree your targets with and hold you to account if you lose focus.
Keep moving forward
It can be easy to get stuck in a rut, keeping busy doing things without really moving your business forward or making a difference to the business profitability. Make a plan, set targets and keep working towards achieving them.
Consider what will really motivate you to achieve. f that’s money then think about how much money you really need to earn to be able to survive and how much money you would like to earn to be comfortable. Most millionaires didn’t sit there and think I want to earn a million pound, they started earning a few pounds and that few pounds grew. Yes, for some people the few pounds grow quicker than for others but few people I meet who want to be a millionaire actually becomes one, because it takes more than just wanting to be one to become that successful. So for now let’s work on the premise of earning enough.
If you’re getting desperate and really worried about earning enough money it can come across and effect your business negotiations and deals. If I think you’re desperate to get my sale then I am more likely to drive a hard bargain. So consider how you can ensure your basic money needs are met. For many small business owners establishing a passive income stream is key to ensuring that their basic income needs are met monthly enabling them to focus on growing the business and starting to earn that income which will take them over and above “enough money”.
If you’re considering developing a passive income stream look at what you already have and see what you can do differently. For example if you run a hairdressers could you rent out space to a nail technician or a beauty therapist? If you’re an accountant could you work freelance one day a week or a few days a month for a larger firm while you become more established?
MY TOP TIP – however much you need to make a sale, always charge what you or your products are worth. Undercharging gives out the wrong signals. It suggests you don’t value your skills, knowledge or product and that others don’t need to either.
Celebrate every success
When you work for yourself it can be easy to only review failures, mistakes and missed opportunities. Dwelling on these is not likely to inspire you to keep going or inspire others to believe in you. I always encourage business owners to celebrate their successes, however big or small.
Share your successes with others, write a blog, tweet about it, tell your friends on Facebook or share your story with other business owners at a networking group. Being in business can at times be lonely, but knowing others care about you and your business and can genuinely celebrate with your business success can be a real boost.
MY TOP TIP – develop a small circle of trusted business owners who can meet and share experiences. Celebrating success together can be invaluable as you go through different stages of business.
Set yourself targets and rewards
Set yourself targets and select a reward that works for you. Some select an item they would like to own and when they have reached their targets allow themselves to buy it. Or try rewarding yourself with days off, trips out with the family or even a bath and glass of wine when you have completed your tasks and goals or reached your sales targets.
MY TOP TIP – don’t set yourself unreasonable targets and unreachable rewards consider smaller steps and build them up as you find hitting targets easier and easier.
Keeping going in business can be challenging none more so than when your income levels are not what you and your family need to pay the bills. Before you start in business consider how long you can manage on a lower income, look at ways of saving money and developing other income streams until you and your business are more established.
The most important thing in business is to enjoy it. If you enjoy being in business and doing what you do others will enjoy working with you, buying from you and recommending you to others. By getting the structure, plan and finances in place early on, you are more likely to enjoy your business journey.