Starting a business can be fun, exciting, and scary all at the same time. Deciding to be a small business owner is a big deal, and requires a lot of courage, vision, and discipline to stay consistent and motivated to make things happen. After starting our first business in 2017, there were many lessons we learned from our successes and failures. These lessons helped us re-imagine and approach our business differently in order to be sustainable and profitable. If you're thinking of starting your own business, or have just started then this list will help to prevent you from making your own costly mistakes.
1. PASSION > MONEY
Before starting your business, figure out what your "WHY" is. Why do you want to start a business? Why did you choose this particular industry? What do you hope to achieve? Who/What do you want to impact? If the answer revolves around making money, then you're in it for the wrong reason. Your passion for your business should always outweigh your desire to make money right away. As the saying goes "do what you love and the money will come." But, if the appeal of making money fast is the main reason you decide to go into business, then you've already failed. Growing and maintaining a successful business is hard work-- it requires a lot of time, money, sacrifice and dedication. The minute you don't see the type of monetary return you're expecting, you'll be ready to throw in the towel and quit. Instead, figure out what you're passionate about first, then determine how that passion can be translated into a viable business that can generate money. When you're passionate about something, you'll put 110% effort into everything that you do, which will create consistency and, in due time, revenue.
2. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
Do your research! Don't waste time or money until you've done the proper research to determine how you fit in and compete in your industry based on your product, service or message.
3. CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN--EVEN IF YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE WHO SEES IT
Creating a business plan before you get started is so important because it gives you the opportunity to strategically map out your ideas. Your business plan is a written description of your business's future, and describes what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. Without one you'll be operating your business without any clear direction, making the wrong decisions.
4. DON'T CREATE FALSE EXPECTATIONS--IT WON'T BE EASY
Like we said before, growing and maintaining a successful business is hard work. Don't create false expectations in your mind of how you think it's going to go because you'll be severely disappointed and discouraged. Nothing is an overnight success. You MUST work for the results.
5. BE STRATEGIC WITH YOUR INVESTMENT MONEY
Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, and don't spend everything at one time if you don't have to. Be strategic in how you will spend your investment money to start your business. For example, if you're launching new product online don't go buying a bunch of inventory trying to anticipate what you think your customers are going to buy. Instead, let the customer dictate the inventory at the beginning by pre-ordering. Then, once you've got an idea of what you customer likes, you can pre-plan future inventory levels. This will save you a lot of money and allow you to preserve some cushion.
6. PRAY AND BE PATIENT, BUT DO THE WORK
Again...growing your business is hard work! If you're a spiritual person, prayer and patience will be vital in maintaining your motivation and manifesting the future you want. But don't forget, prayer without work is dead (James 2:17). You can't have faith without action. You have to do your part.
7. IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, TRY AGAIN
The truth is...you will fail at something. You're going to hit some bumps in the road. Sometimes your initial idea or plan just doesn't work out as originally expected. That doesn't mean that you have to completely scrap your vision, it just means that you may have to re-imagine and re-invent your approach.
8. BE ORIGINAL AND DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR BRAND
Don't go into it trying to be like a brand or business that's similar to you. What worked for them may not work for you. Figure out what makes your product, service or message different and capitalize on that.
9. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT AN OPTION, ITS A NECESSITY
You can't avoid it and you can't bypass it. Social Media is a real thing, and it absolutely has to be integrated into your marketing strategy. That means creating original and engaging content that resonates with your customers and inspires them to take action. In order to be effective, creating content will take time, creativity and consistency. For a lot of potential customers, social media is how they are introduced to your brand or business--it's the place they go to research you. So just do it...and do it right.
10. DON'T GIVE UP BEFORE THE BREAKTHROUGH
AGAIN...growing. your. business. is. hard. work! But, don't let the failures, rough patches or disappointments discourage you. Like we said before, if the original plan didn't work out as expected, go back to the drawing board and figure out where you went wrong and what you can do differently to get the results you want. But guess what...quitting won't get you to the finish line any quicker. Sometimes we give up right before our breakthrough. Keep going! God won't give you a vision that He has not already prepared to bring into fruition; you just have to see it through.