The idea of going into business for ourselves is sometimes exciting, giving us a dream of freedom. Freedom to express ourselves, freedom to set our own hours and perhaps even work with who we want to work with. We are good at something, have a passion for something and perhaps others around us have said things like ‘you are so good at that, you should be in business for yourself’ or ‘you could totally do that as a business and make heaps of money’
The decision to become self-employed could be an alternative to a really oppressive or stressful employment situation OR as an answer to redundancy. I have even heard people say that they started a business because they couldn’t find work.
Whatever the motivation we all usually start out with some dreams, goals, ideals, a small amount of fear perhaps but mostly excitement and enthusiasm.
So if a percentage of small businesses survive their first 2 years and go on to succeed long term, whatever that looks like for them, then what are some of the KEY things they LEARN to do well.
- They know their strengths, what they are good at and what they are not. They understand the VALUE in getting expert help in areas that they dislike or are not strong at so they can spend more time doing what they love and working on the things they do well. Outsourcing, delegation, and assistance doesn’t have to cost heaps, you do need the right people alongside you to free your time and energy so it is more about the RIGHT person and then what it may cost you, this is an investment and in a naturally DIY nation business owners need to be thinking more in this direction.
- They set up a business plan. Use a business strategy coach or skilled mentor who is able to give feedback on it, and with goals that LIGHT you up from the inside. It’s a working document that gets a solid and focused review every 90 days, doesn’t have to be pages and pages, 2 can do it as long as the right questions are on there and there are ways to measure the goals and targets.
- They either have some working capital or the ability to build some fast. Work out from day one how much MONEY you need for the first 6 months (this time frame will vary depending on the type of business) in business, including living money.
Capital injection, this can be done by going to a supportive bank that has a strong focus on assisting small and medium businesses to succeed, with tools, LIVE support, planning tools and that love their questions.
Building capital as you go: Plan to spend LESS than you bring in, pay yourself LESS than you earn, putting aside money for TAX and leaving some in the bank to build a capital ‘pillow’
ALSO watch overheads like Rent and other outgoings, keep financial commitments LOW, manageable and low risk.
- They keep clean, clear financial records and comply with tax laws from day one. There are affordable systems out there, built to make this SIMPLE and with enough detail, Xero is my favorite and doesn’t cost a bomb! Have a separate bank account, keep receipts until you know what to do with them, get an accountant. Set aside TIME in your schedule to manage this until you are able to get someone else to.
- They learn to employ themselves. Setting their own hours, turning up for work, pre-planning what they will do when at work, learn the art of time and energy management and the skill of focus. When you worked for someone else I bet you were a model employee, as a business owner and your own boss these habits are even more essential. There are many reasons a business owner may not stick to the plan of hours they set for themselves, it could be lack of knowledge of what to do in that time, procrastination from tasks they dislike or fear, lack of discipline, allowing distractions to take over. These are either resolved by learning some skills, getting some confidence, tweaking approach or developing new habits.
FINAL words, be open to learning for ever. Be open to setting goals that light you up and working systematically towards them YET remaining open to opportunities that come up.
Use your business plan and mentor/coach as anchors to help you make decisions that keep you on track to your optimal future rather than bogging you down and draining your time and energy resources.
Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you, encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and grow.
Your business will only grow as much as you do.
Back yourself, believe in yourself, acknowledge you were born for a reason and you CAN create a business that serves the lifestyle you want to live
To your business success and doing more of what you LOVE.