This article was contributed.
In business, there is always a lot to learn, and no more than when you are first starting out.
Taking your own small business from an idea to something that is selling to customers and growing into something that can make you a living. Some things, you can take your time to learn. You can make mistakes and learn as you go. Others, you need to learn quickly if you want your business to survive those all-important early days. Here’s a look at some of them.
1. How to Ask for Help
You can’t do it all for yourself. As much as you might want to, to save money and keep control of your company, trying to do it all will mean that you burn out and can’t give your business your best. But, it will also mean that your business hasn’t got access to experts that it needs and deserves. Learn how to ask for help, and find the right help, and you’ll have a much higher chance of success.
2. How to Accept Help
As important as it is to seek help, you also need to be able to accept it when it comes. Family members might offer to look after your children or cook your dinner while you are busy. Friends might offer to help you package products and help in other small ways. Learn to say yes.
3. To Trust Your Instincts
Instinct is important in every aspect of life. But, if business is new to you, then it might take a while for your instincts to develop. that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t trust them as they do. If something feels wrong, ask for help. If a deal is too good to be true, it will be.
4. To Accept and Understand Feedback
Feedback is vital. It’s how you find out what your customers really want, and how you truly know if your business is moving in the right direction. Ask your customers for feedback and reviews, and take the time to assess and understand what they are asking for or reporting.
5. How to Take a Knock-back
Whenever we put ourselves out there, we face setbacks, judgement, rejection, and knock-backs. Your life in business will be no different. You need to learn how to take them, learn from them, and move on without getting upset or throwing in the towel.
6. How to Work Productively
One of the hardest things for many new entrepreneurs, especially those that have previously worked as an employee, is learning how to work productively and manage their own time. Fail to work productively, and you won’t get enough done. You’ll waste time, you’ll make tasks unnecessarily complicate. Work productively, and you’ll be more successful and less stressed out.
7. How to Be a Manager
Some people come into business from a previous career in management. But, if you haven’t, learning how to manage staff can be a steep learning curve. Do it right, and your team will be loyal and respectful. They will work hard, offer excellent service, and become the heart of your business.
8. How to Talk About Money
We’re not very good at talking about money. But as a business owner, you are going to have to be. You’ll need to share your money worries with people that you trust. You might need to ask banks or investors for more money, and you’ll need to chase up payments and demand what you are owed.
9. To Prioritise
Your to-do lists are going to be massive every day, and jobs are likely to come in during the day. You need to be able to manage your time and prioritise what needs to be done, and what can wait.
10. Getting Price Points Right
It can be tempting to charge under the odds, to attract customers and compete with much larger businesses. But, charge too little, and it won’t matter how many customers you have, your business will not be a success. You won’t make enough profit to carry on. Sometimes, you need to accept that you can’t compete on price and find other ways to please your customers and offer a better service.
11. Everything about SEO
Social media marketing is tremendously important. And certainly, an area where it is worth investing your time. But, if you run an online business, or even if you just have a website or blog for your real-world store, SEO or search engine optimisation is crucial. Take the time to learn about and implement SEO, and your site will reach more of the right people.
In today’s world, we all want to go viral, and we’re all keen for overnight success. But this is rare. There are large businesses that have never had a post go viral, and it may or may not happen for you. Your business is unlikely to be an overnight success, and it may take a lot of time, effort, and hard work before you start seeing results. Be patient. Don’t give up.
13. Not To Create For Yourself
Small business owners, bloggers, creatives, and freelancers all have the same problem. They create products and content that they want to create. They think about what they enjoy, and the products that they’d like to buy. They share content that they enjoy, and they write website updates for themselves. To do well, and to build an audience, you need to start creating for your customers instead.
14. The Law
It’s all too easy to break the law when you aren’t aware of it. Many new business owners are guilty of accidentally breaking the law, and struggle, especially with employment law, copyright, and tax. Learn as much as you need, and check everything that you aren’t sure about.
If you want your business to grow, you are going to need a lot of help, and if you are going to inspire loyalty, you need to be able to show gratitude. Thank the people that helped you, even in a small way. Thank your staff, show your customers how grateful you are, and even when things go well, show humility.
16. Know Your Business Inside Out
As a new business, you need to inspire trust. You won’t do this if you can’t answer questions about your business. If you don’t know everything about it, how can you expect people to trust you? So, learn everything that you can become an expert in your own business. If you don’t know something, such as IT you could bring in an IT Support Partner or a business coach to help you.
17. Always Sign Contracts
As a small business, with few, or no staff members, and very few suppliers and customers, you might not think it’s worth wasting your time with things like contracts. But, you never know when this might come back to bite you. In a years time, when you’ve grown your business and made money, you might find yourself dealing with legal issues from the early days. Always sign contracts with everyone you work with, to protect yourself, and them.
18. Nothing Beats Good Market Research
So many businesses try to rush. They’ve got a great idea that they are positive people will love, and they are keen to take it to market ASAP. But, without the correct research, you risk spending time and money creating a product or service that no one actually wants, failing to offer the functions that people are looking for, doing exactly the same as someone else, charging far too much, or marketing in the wrong places. A failure to do the right market research is one of the main reasons that new companies fail. So, whether it’s your first product for a brand new business, or you’ve been going for years, never underestimate the importance of research.