A Few Harsh Truths About Starting a Small Business Nobody Dared to Tell You
No matter where you live, starting your own business ns bound to be stressful. Only a handful of those who entertain the thought actually take the plunge. As you’ve no doubt discovered already, the sea is rough, often unpredictable and you need to have both the idea where you’re going and a ship and crew capable of taking you there.
If you can navigate through all the red-tape that modern-day pirates throw at you, you’re on course to success. If you can anticipate the direction and strength of the winds and adjust your ship accordingly, it would take a storm of epic proportions to sink your ship. If you have already left your port and are now sailing towards the open sea, have a look at some tips that might help you navigate your journey.
Odds are unlikely to be in your favour
If you’re really interested in statistics, whichever source you find, it will tell you pretty much the same: most small businesses don’t make it and what you do isn’t special. Some go down in year one, some make it to year five or beyond, but most fail eventually.
Still, you shouldn’t be intimidated. You have already been through the worst period. Moreover, you’ve made it so far, which means you have realised that your target customer is not “everyone”. Just stay focused.
You are not alone
This is a warning that you’re facing competition. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those races where you mind your own business and hope for the best. This is one where boats and ships of various sizes take part, where bigger ones can get into your way and create waves which shake your boat.
However, you should accept this fact and try to make the most of it. Your competition should make you more alert, eager to improve and ready to learn. No great achievement has ever been made without competition, but only the fittest survive.
If you stop learning, you’ve failed
No matter how much you know about your field of expertise, running a business involves so much more. Finances, accounting and marketing, are just some of the subjects you’ve already been dealing with.
The fact that you’ve grasped the basics of those aspects of business doesn’t mean you can now forget about them. All the talent and money in the world is not enough if you don’t know anything about running a business. Just like there is no technology that will fix a lame business model.
Most importantly, you need to think not only as a business owner but as a customer as well. Listen to what your customers say and adjust your operations accordingly.
Money makes the world go round
One of the reasons you were considering starting your own company in the first place was your firm belief that you could achieve good financial results. You’ve seen that in order to make money, first, you have to spend. Hopefully, the initial investment is paying off (or better, has already paid off!), and you’re measuring your performance against budget checkpoints.
However, even if everything is coming up roses, you need to bear in mind that your bank account isn’t a piggy bank. Also, as the journey is quite unpredictable, you need to be ready to react in emergency situations. Ideally, you’ve set some funds aside to use in such events, or you’ve become familiar with increasingly popular and available invoice financing, to continue your growth.
Dealing with a crisis
There are bound to be times when you feel like giving up and walking away. Such moments have perhaps already occurred, especially if you didn’t achieve an overnight success, which was impossible from the start, to be honest.
Your colleagues or friends can provide invaluable advice and help you reach the right decision. However, you’re the one who has to make the final decision, and that’s not an easy task sometimes, especially when you’re trying to help your small business take the next step on the road towards becoming big.
The fact you’ve started your own business means you’re serious about it. The fact you’re still running it means you still believe in your dream. What you need to do at this stage is to remain focused and ambitious. Consider every single success, no matter how small it may be, as a step towards achieving the ultimate one – growing into a big business. And remember: you are your most important client.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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