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6 Important Business Lessons from a Starter-Uperer

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6 Important Business Lessons from a Starter-Uperer

I believe it’s imperative and valuable in the early stages of business, to try to capture the things that worked. And just as much, the things that didn’t. Actually, it’s equally important as you continue along the journey of being a Small Business owner/Entrepreneur, not only in the beginning. Learning from your wins and mistakes is vital to any successful venture, and the learning never stops.

My first year of business was great in so many ways, but also quite hard in others. I made some rookie mistakes, but I learned from them, and they weren’t bad enough to cost me the option of keeping on going. I’m now half way through my second year and a lot has changed since I opened the (virtual) doors.

Like a lot of start-up founders, I was extremely naïve as to what it really takes to get a business going and beyond getting it going, having it actually make some money. I’ve heard lots of people say that starting your own business is a very steep learning curve, and it’s true. But it’s also a very satisfying path if you listen carefully to your tribe and pivot where you need to.

The below 6 insights are just my experience, but I’m pretty sure a number of you will be able to relate. I wish someone had told me these points when I was at the start. Okay, I might’ve heard a few of them and ignored them, to my own detriment.

1. Seek mentors.

An estimated 70% of businesses that survive past the first 5 years have mentors supporting their leaders/owners. I have always sought advice from people who are knowledgeable about business and I have learned immeasurable insights from doing so. Have you checked out the Small Business bus in your area? Try it. Every single time I go there, even when I think I already know everything, I always pick up some new insights. Make sure the people you approach though, have something specific that you can learn from. Perhaps they have run a business like yours, or perhaps you are looking to hire some staff so the person you approach has a background in HR. And don’t forget to help others if you have something worth sharing.

2. Everything you do for your business in the early stages should have a purpose.

I’m not talking about setting up your ABN or downloading a free trial of Xero (although you should of course do these things). I mean do not spend hours upon hours creating documents and spreadsheets that you do not absolutely need. Check out the Australian government website on starting a business. It’s got some really useful sections and will help you check off some of the essential bits and pieces.

3. Sales make all your problems go away.

Focus purely on that in the beginning.

4. Read the Lean Startup.

It’s a great book and well worth the time for anyone thinking about going into business. If you don’t have time to read the whole book, google MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and learn what it means for your business.

5. Do not spend a fortune on having a website built for you.

It is MUCH better, where possible, to have a go at doing it yourself, for WAY cheaper. The templates and themes available on platforms such as WordPress and Shopify now are amazing. In my case, when I changed over and built my own site, it looked much better than the original one I paid heaps for. You live and learn.

6. If holding inventory is something you require for your business, be very selective about what you need.

Forget ‘ooh, that’s pretty’, and focus on ‘how will this item be used specifically in my business’.

There’s LOTS more advice you will be able to find if you look properly and there are a lot of people in the same situation as you, whatever your level of business is right now. It can also be really helpful to join a couple of Facebook groups that focus on business. The insights discussed on these pages are amazing. Happy venturing.

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