When establishing a new business, excitement is one of the key motivators. Of course, you are excited!
I am not an exception either. When I quit my job to start working on my won, I was super excited. I was also scared. I wanted to do everything at once. But at many times, I was also paralyzed.
During the past few years, I calmed down. Not because I am no more excited about my business – I am. But I know now that taking actions is much more important than daydreaming with a wide smile on my face. The journey here has been long, and sometimes painful, yes. But I wouldn’t change this experience to anything.
If you are at the beginning of this amazing journey, here are five tips that helped me the most:
1. Do have a plan but be flexible
Of course you have to have plans in advance to define what you want to do and achieve with your new business. Defining goals is also important to be able to communicate with others, or when you want to get external funds.
But at the same time, you have to be flexible, too. Unexpected things can and will happen, both good and bad. You have to make sure you align your business to the new circumstances. Sometimes it’s easy sometimes not, but you definitely have to have your eyes and mind open.
2. Overestimate: cost, time, resources needed
When you are up to something, do estimate the cost, time and other resources it will need. Always, always estimate everything over, otherwise, you might be surprised soon when you run out of one or more (or all) of these. There is no worse business which works as a “black hole” where you invest more and more money and time without results. I know lack of capital can be a big hurdle. You might also need some loans – don’t worry, there are several options for you. One of them I found recently is Fundera – too bad they’re not available in Hungary though.
3. Delegate or outsource everything you can
I found this to be one of the hardest things to follow. I had to do serious self-analysis to identify the tasks that I can delegate. I have to admit I’ve always been a perfectionist: I wanted everything to be done perfectly, or even better. But I had to realize that in many cases, getting something done is much better than being in late with the perfect solution.
Of course, I can create and edit WordPress pages. I can send out e-mail newsletters. I can schedule calls with my super busy fellow colleagues. But when I delegate these tasks, go sleep, then wake up to the feeling that everything is done – that is is really amazing. Or is I can work on productive things instead of spending hours with choosing the correct layout and fonts for my newsletter.
You should give it a try, too.
4. Try to create “products” for recurring revenue
When I set up my business, I was focusing on doing consultancy, simply because this is what I like doing the most. But when my third child was born, I had to realize that this model is not sustainable and also, it doesn’t generate passive income. While I was home with my baby son, I didn’t have any income and this really frustrated me – despite we were prepared for this in advance. So I tried to use this time to figure out what to change and what to do with my business when I can get “back”. Now, I am working hard on my revenue-generating products – which, in my case, are books, white papers, online classes, and other resources.
Having sustainable, recurring revenue is also a key to get external funds, because otherwise scaling your business can be extremely challenging.
5. Sharing is caring – have free content but don’t give away everything for free
I also found it hard to draw the line between “free” and “paid” content I provide. However I would like to share everything for free, that would kill the previous point. I still share a good portion of my knowledge for free, but working hard on figuring out what people are ready to pay for. Of course, paid content has to be super good premium quality.
Probably there are countless other things to consider when you start a new business. These have been my most painful lessons I learned.
If you run a small business, please let me know in the comment what are your most important tips to our fellow entrepreneurs.