Tips for starting a business as a new entrepreneur
9 Dec 2020 16:09
In this article, we are looking at some of the tips for starting a business as a new entrepreneur. Being your own boss or running your company can certainly be a rewarding experience – but it is also often a challenging journey. Perhaps, that is why many people prefer not to start businesses…
So what are some of the tips for those intending to start their businesses and become the entrepreneur that they always dreamt to be?
Be prepared to be alone!
Starting a business or becoming an entrepreneur can be a very solitary pursuit. Yes, there may be people around you and there will always be people to meet and network with and talk to. But for the most part, it's a very solitary activity. You're going to be alone a lot of the time, especially at the beginning when you're still getting your bearings. So accept that it is going to be a lonely experience. On that note, I would just advise you to create a circle around you for support or mentorship.
Talking about mentors, choose a mentor, who is going to be available to you. Often people choose mentors, that are usually always absent when they need help and the end result is that their business fails to grow.
Be careful of the business advice you get
Be selective about who you allow to give you business advice. Now, everybody has an opinion and everybody will try to share that opinion with you. And so to that effect, it is advisable that you to get a circle full of people that you trust and that, you know, you're going to go to when you need advice. This will ensure that you don’t have too many voices in your head – which can cloud your vision and goals.
So be sure to be selective, especially when you're young. Unfortunately, especially when you are a young female entrepreneur, there are people who are going to think they know better than you - even when they don't necessarily understand what it is you're trying to achieve. So, yeah, just don't let anyone and everybody advise you on your business.
Be frugal with your business expenses
The third piece of advice I would like to share with you is to be frugal with your expenses. Do not spend money that you don't have. Do not live beyond the means that you have at the moment. You might be tempted at the beginning to rush out and get funding and then spend it on things you think you might need for the business.
And it may be true that you might need it for your business. But, as far as you can, be sure to save as much as possible when it comes to business finances. Keep your overheads as low as possible - not saying cheap out, but you want to keep your overheads as low as possible and you want to keep as much cash flow as possible. Otherwise, it is easy to find yourself in trouble with creditors and killing your business before it has had a time to grow.
Remember cash flow is king in business
Always ensure you have enough cash flow - it’s the life blood of your business. You basically can't move or do anything without cash flow. So make sure, you minimise debts and focus on bringing in that cash – which also means ensuring that your invoices are paid on time. If you don’t understand business finances, there are many financial management courses that you can take at your local college or university and online.
Learn the skills that you need to be able to manage your business properly. And if you can, especially when you're starting to get some momentum going, get an accountant who can monitor your books for you, and who can help you get a better understanding of what your money is going, where your money's coming in, how you should be spending it and that sort of thing.
Separate your personal and your business finances
It sounds obvious but many budding entrepreneurs often make the mistake of keeping their money and their business' money in the same account. The ‘business’ money is not your money! Please don't fall for this mistake. First thing that you're going to want to do when you open your business is to open a business bank account and have whatever clients or customers that you have paying into your business account. The reason why you want to do that is so that it makes it easier for you to keep track of your income versus your expenditure, your cash flow and that sort of thing.
Make a habit of understanding where you are
You and your business are separate. Yes, it's your business and is your blood, sweat and tears, but treat yourself like an employee of your business. Set aside a certain date that you're going to pay yourself and your employees. Don't want to fall down that rabbit hole of losing track of what your money and what your business is. Money is a surefire way to crash and burn early in the game.
Always learn and re-learn
The next bit of advice is to always be in a position where you're learning more, whether you're learning more about the sector, the innovations that might be happening. Always make sure that you're continuing to upskilling yourself and that you're keeping up to date with new trends, that you're keeping up to date with new developments you really just want, especially when everything is all around you at the beginning.
You want to make sure that you're doing the best for your business and that you are the best for your business. Be flexible, be open to learning new things, trying new methods. And that's not to say that you'll always love new things. You probably already have a method that works for you and would want to stick to it, but always leave room to learning new skills. By innovating, by trying new methods, it can only help your own business. If it means taking an online course, webinars – do it. Set aside time to really sit down and speak to a business mentor and pick their brain.
Let your business grow organically
The next bit of advice is to let your business grow organically. You don't want to rush out and get funding and do all the other things too quickly – then watch your business become a runaway train. Take the time to learn your industry, learn your customers, learn what their needs, learn what your business needs to learn how your business operates, and then grow organically from there. Allow the growth to come steady.
It doesn’t mean don’t take risks, but what we are saying take risks that are proportionate to where you are in your business journey because you also don't want to end up in a situation where you've bitten off more than you can chew.
Look after yourself…
Look after yourself. You are your businesses in the beginning stages when it's just you and you are your business's biggest asset. So take care of yourself. Don't burn out trying to run this business, know when to stop and to close the laptop, knowing you need to listen to your body, get enough sleep, drink enough water, exercise.
Just make sure that you're looking after yourself. You are your business's biggest investment. When you are in a position where you're growing and you can bring more people on board, look after your people. In any business, any CEO will tell you that your people or your business' biggest asset look after them. And if it's just you, look after yourself.