Starting and running a business is no easy task. It requires a huge investment in time and money. It is without a doubt a marathon and not a sprint but there are ways to make the journey a little easier.
Here are my top 5 tips.
1. Start as you mean to go on – design your business processes and systems to scale when the business grows. I have seen many entrepreneurs make the same mistake. It’s tempting to keep costs low and opt for free or low-cost apps and systems but unless it’s easy to migrate onto a new platform at a later stage, this often costs more in both time and money in the long run.
2. Build a business that can run without you – build a what? Yes – you heard right. Owning and running a business is not for the faint hearted. It requires hard work, focus and determination. It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to work crazy, unsustainable hours and to become slaves to their business. If you want to achieve both financial and time freedom, you need to create a business that can run without you. This means building and documenting scalable systems and processes and ensuring they are consistently followed throughout the business. This ultimately allows you to work on the business and not in the business and as a result, the business can flourish and thrive.
3. Swallow your Pride – it’s easy to think we can do it all. In fact, I have no doubt that many entrepreneurs can do anything they put their minds to. The question is not if you can do it, but if you should do it? Here it boils down to two things. Time and proficiency. Here’s a simple example. I recently decided to cut my son’s hair and save $20. Can I cut hair? well we kind of all can if we know how to hold a pair of scissors and pull back an ear. What normally takes 15 minutes at the hairdresser, took two hours…. and let’s just say there were no proud “look at my new haircut, granny” type photos. In fact, I think I may have told people he’d cut his hair himself. All this to say, hire an expert and save yourself hours of time and disappointment.
4. Hire good people and treat them well – arguably people are the most important asset in your business. They can either make or break you. Traditionally, people were hired for a specific job based on knowledge and experience in a particular field. Although still valuable, I feel it’s equally important to hire people who demonstrate valuable characteristics such as motivation, adaptability, proactivity and the potential and willingness to continuously learn and grow. If you have solid systems and processes, a strong candidate can be trained in a particular role easily and quickly. Last thing to note on the people front. Make sure to put people in roles they can thrive in and invest time and money to train them and keep them happy. The cost of replacing an employee is huge.
5. Yes – the numbers are important – so many of my lovely clients tell me they run their business based on gut instinct. I am always slightly in awe of them as this feels like going down a tunnel in the dark. There is nothing to say you won’t reach the other side but if you have a flashlight, it can save you a lot of bumps and bruises along the way. Numbers are the flashlight for your business, and they can highlight even the darkest corners. Yes, numbers can be overwhelming and dull but if interpreted the right way, they can tell a story and help guide you in your decision making. That’s one thing you will be doing a lot of as a business owner – making decisions. Be sure to build regular management reports and review the numbers on a regular basis…. or hire someone to do this for you.