4 Things I Would Have Done Differently When Starting My Business
In my first two years as a business owner, I felt like I had achieved an MBA in everything I didn’t know—and it was about as expensive as earning a real MBA. Those two years taught me a lot about the ebbs and flows of running a small business. But, most importantly, it taught me that nobody makes the right decision every time.
This isn’t a blog post about regret; it’s a lesson in being humbled by the things you don’t know. After all, there’s little value in dwelling on the past, but we can learn a lot by studying it.
Based on my experience as a small business owner, here are four things I would have done differently when I was starting out:
1. Recognize that my business plan was meant to fail.
A business plan can feel like an instructional guide to success for a budding entrepreneur. But the reality is that almost nothing in the world of business will go to plan.
Think of your business plan as a benchmark instead of something you’re going to follow to the letter. Be open to change, take what the real world is telling you, and adapt accordingly.
This process doesn’t end once things get going, either. Your business plan should have finger prints all over it. If you get it out at the end of the year and it’s accumulated a layer of dust, it’s time to re-write it!
2. Truly listen to other business owners.
Any good entrepreneur should seek advice from business owners who inspire them. But a common mistake many of us make during these conversations is trying to figure out what we can do better than them.
Instead of focusing on beating the competition, take the time to listen to fellow entrepreneurs and see what they can teach you about the validity of your business plan.
Take the time to build relationships with other business owners. Networking is vital to the success of your business—not only does it help build a sense of community, it allows you to build a client base and create alliances with other local business owners, building your pipeline for future business.
3. Know the customer better.
When you’re starting out, you’ll get companies calling you, pushing their advertising and SEO packages, trying to get you to cast a large net into the ocean of opportunity. That’s how small businesses lose big money.
Take the time to think about who your ideal customer is so you can choose the best ways of reaching them.
Imagine a stranger walking up to you and saying “Hey, how much money do you make?” It would be awkward, right? That’s why I invest in building relationships instead of increasing my search engine rankings. People prefer to share their finances with a friend and it took some time for me to recognize that.
4. Give knowledge away for free.
When you share what you know, people recognize and connect with you as someone who has helped them, or could help them in the future. Your knowledge isn’t the source of commerce—relationships are.
It won’t hurt your business to give a little something away for free. That’s why we don’t charge to chat.
Blue Alliance Accounting Group helps companies develop, use, and profit from their proprietary strengths. Build the business you always wanted and achieve the goals you have worked hard for.