5 Things No One Tells You When Starting a Business
1. Unforseen Expenses - from unusual city taxes to machinery that breaks down unexpectedly, it is definitely wise to over estimate how much it will cost to start a business. Anticipating things like a rise in raw material costs, slow months, and so on will give you an advantage over your competition that does not forsee these expenses.
2. Logistic Consistency - When starting out you just wing it. Most start ups only have 1-2 founders doing it all - working on prototypes, designing websites, working on advertising strategies and so on. This is where the "fake it to you make it" rule comes into play but you can only do that so long. As the business picks up and money starts to flow in, you need to start working towards creating guides and rules and expectations of standards for new employees to follow. In other words you will need to transition from improving how things could go to formalizing processes to make things work smoothly. Defining employee roles to improve work flow, for example, before it is needed will prevent headaches and confusion down the road. When Michelle moved from a retail location to a warehouse location - there was a lot of changes that needed to be made yet simplifying tasks such as how orders can be filled made a big difference in making the company run more efficiently than winging it.
3. Fraud - From using return policies against you to computer scams - fraud is everywhere especially for newly formed businesses. From buying workplace posters that are most likely free or do not even apply to sole proprietorship companies to bounced checks from habitat criminals that seems innocent at the time, are all people who are eager to part you with your money and make a quick buck. Be vigilant and never assume all the people who come out of the wood work saying you owe money for one thing or another are legit. Always fact check sources that say they are with with a big name company to make sure they are a legit company is one of many tips to help you keep your money in your business and out of the pockets of fraudulent criminals.
4. Motivation - Long work hours, set backs, stress of being alone and not being able to bounce ideas off of others will suck your motivation. There isn't a quick solution to help you stay motivated but Michelle finds doing things like taking a break from the computer every hour to take a walk and get some fresh air or going out to lunch is a start. Going to networking events to find others who share in your frustrations and more importantly can offer solutions to tasks you may be stuck on can be very uplifting. Starting or joining a mastermind group with other entrepreneurs or even others in your field of business can be very motivating too. When you do find yourself with low energy, dreading to start work on time, or creative juices are running dry, these are signs that you need a jump-start in the motivation department.
5. Loneliness - Between seeing debt rack up, dealing with customer issues, and stressing over whether you made the right businesses decision on a marketing strategy will all give into fear and stress that will make you retreat into yourself. Most business owners rarely will share these frustrations with others as it most often shows signs of weakness and no business leader ever wants to show that card. Now add sacrificing personal time with family or other things that bring you joy such as working on favorite hobbies, will lead you down the path of isolation. This is where you have to recognize when work stressors lead you down this path and find ways to break it. Sometimes just walking away from an issue can present a clearer solution later in the day verses pushing through and trying to force a decision to appear miraculously. Also finding and using a mentor to bounce ideas off of can also prevent loneliness because just the shear act of talking to someone is the step in the right direction.
The take away - be adaptable! When you are faced with any of these challenges one of the best things one can do is pick up on ways you can anticipate issues. It is impossible to prepare for everything, but taking a step back to see things through the eyes of clients, employees and so on can often prevent or send a red flag that something bad may happen if nothing is done soon and act may make a huge difference in surviving in the world of entrepreneurship.
Do you agree with these tips? Have one to add? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts!