Starting a business – the early years
Starting your own business is the dream that many people aspire to.
It sounds great right?
You work for yourself, no boss!
You can finally do what you enjoy doing
You can work when you want and for how long you want
You might even be able to work from home – no more dreaded traffic or lining up for the bus or late trains!
However, ask any business owner – once you get over the daydream of starting your own business and actually get going with it, a whole new world emerges – in some cases, the daydream turns into the ultimate nightmare.
I’m not trying to put you off in wanting to start a business – rather, in this blog, I’d like to share with you our own journey from start to where we are now with Aperture Accounting in the hope that some of our learnings may be able to help you in your early years of start-up.
The foundations you set in those early years in the life of your business (aka make or break years), are very crucial to the ongoing and ultimate success of your venture.
Conventional planning tells us that to create a successful new business you need four things:
A good plan,
A good product that people actually want,
Good people who can make things happen, and
A good supply of money
This is good advice. However, it does not fully reveal the whole picture for what you need to do and be prepared for.
First and foremost, running a business is also a way of life, (and it will be your life going forward), which invariably will take up a lot of your time – if you’re serious about it, i.e. this is no side hustle – this is your new source of income and livelihood.
So, when you are starting a business choose something that you enjoy doing, something you have a real passion for and something you have knowledge about.
There is a very big difference between your dream business and doing what you’re good at.
Example – if your natural skill set is solving computer and IT problems, yet however, you have a passion for wanting to set up a florist shop – then you may find the going very tough – it’s not impossible – rather, the going will be tougher than normal.
All this aside though, here is what we learned as a result of those early years.
Seek support and help when you need it
Many business owners in those early years end up being ‘lone wolves’, i.e. they go it alone without involving or seeking help from subject matter experts.
Some typical examples include (assuming each of the following is not your core business):
Building your own website
Doing your own bookkeeping, invoicing and accounts
Being the marketing expert one minute then doing admin work the next
Not spending time ON the business
Not spending anytime on self-care, mental wellbeing and self-development of the softer skills
So, seek the help you need if you don’t have the expertise in that relevant area – it’s not shameful that you had to seek help – it’s the sign of good leadership.
And it’s not a cost – it’s truly an investment that will be itself back over and over again.
Failing to plan
Planning or lack of it seems to be the number one area for business failure or lack lustre performance.
Know and understand the importance and value of setting a business plan and a marketing plan.
These will be your guiding principles – and they are never locked in stone – you can change and adjust them as your circumstances change.
Again, if not sure how to set a solid, simple business plan – seek help!
Learning & education
Learning and education has never stopped at school or university. While this is formal learning, I am referring to self-development and self-mastery.
Today all of us have access to an almost unlimited pool of learning and development resources – everything from time management to dealing with people to communication and even self-hypnosis.
There is no excuse to continually develop yourself – and again, if you’re not sure what you need to do or where to find the help – seek assistance.
Engage with other people
This is related to my first point – seeing support when you need it.
You cannot operate in a vacuum – you need to interact with other people, other businesses and potential clients.
Seminars & workshops
Chambers of Commerce
Start your own group
Whatever you choose – do not neglect interaction with other businesses and potential clients – relying purely on word of mouth in those early years will be very painful indeed especially when no one knows of you.
Failure and mistakes are welcome
Failures/mistakes are often seen as ‘less than perfect’.
Yet how many times have we heard of inventors trying and failing numerous (hundreds/thousands) of time – and putting it down to one more step forward.
Remember when you were learning to ride a bike for the first time – possibly you tried and fell over and over again until one day, it all just clicked.
It’s the same philosophy in starting and running and sustainable business.
I’m not talking about revolutionary concepts here – we’ve all heard about them before – in hindsight, we found these the most relevant, beneficial and impactful for our journey.
Hopefully you might do as well.
Aperture Accounting, 1300 273 788