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“You are crazy!” “Are you sure?” “This is going to be difficult.” These are all things entrepreneurs hear when they talk about starting a business. The critics are not wrong; it will be difficult, but that should not prevent you from being successful in your business. As long as you strategize, plan, and read this article before starting a business, you’ll be well on your way. Here are seven tips no one tells you before starting your own business:
1. It’s still about what you know
When you start your own business, you may have done so for a number of reasons. One of them could be because you didn’t have the right contacts to get a job where you wanted to in the first place.
Unfortunately, starting a sole proprietorship is not worthless to other people. You will need partners, potentially, and at least other business contacts to help you advertise. Don’t delete your contacts because you don’t think you need them. Trust me, yes.
Related: 8 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Business
2. You’ll want to quit
As passionate as you are, there are still times when you’re starting your own business that you’ll want to turn down. Even if you “do what you love”, running your own business is hard.
Work can tire you, so make sure you take breaks. Even if they are mini-breaks between phone calls or meetings, it is essential to give yourself some time to breathe. Contrary to what many believe, taking vacations does not reduce your productivity. It is quite the opposite. A well-timed and well-deserved break can rejuvenate you and help you get through the rest of the day more quickly.
3. It’s non-stop
When you’re starting your own business, there’s always more work to do. When you can always work and there is no one to put limits on you, you will find yourself working all the time.
Do not do this! Set boundaries for yourself and your workday. Some days you will need to work later or earlier than others. If you can, only schedule appointments or consultations during your personal work hours. If you have to work late one night, make sure you stay within your limit the next day.
Burnout is a big reason businesses have a hard time getting off the ground or not starting at all. Don’t let your hard work go to waste!
4. Everyone will have an opinion
If you have children, you know that everyone has something to say about their upbringing. The same applies when you “start” a business.
You can mention to a friend that you have a problem with something to blow off some steam. Then, when you just needed to feel heard, they start with three ways to solve your problem.
They mean well, but you don’t have to listen to them or take their advice. Seek advice from trusted advisors and mentors who have been in the trenches before you, so there is some wisdom in alternative opinions.
Related: 5 Honest Truths About Starting a Business
5. You will need to ask for money
If you thought you had enough equity or underestimated the credit you need, you’ll need to ask for more. This is true for a reasonable percentage of startups.
Asking for money is difficult, especially if you are asking more than one person/entity. Don’t feel guilty about it—although it may seem like that’s all your brain wants to do. Make a plan for how you will use the money and how you will pay it back.
If you’re borrowing from the same person again, show them you have a plan for how you’re going to use their money so you don’t run out again. Being able to show how you will spend the money shows that you have spent time defining forecasts, tracks, timelines and go-to-market strategies is key to sustaining your confidence in the company.
6. You can’t double dip for clients
Many people make the mistake of thinking that their friends and family will be their first customers. While this is true for maybe 20% of your personal network, that doesn’t mean you can rely on them to launch your business.
You need to invest in marketing, both digital and traditional. Where can you go and promote your business to interested customers? Many small business owners spend so much on startup costs that they forget to advertise.
This is the kiss of death for a new business. Using at least 10% of your marketing budget will ensure you don’t set yourself up for failure. You can always buy more decor as you earn, but you can’t buy unused time.
7. You will need to reinvest
It’s exciting when you earn for the first time as a business owner. You stressed all that time to be able to pay everyone, rent, buy supplies, etc. — but the win represents a major leap in operational achievement and synergy.
Of course, you may feel like spending your winnings on a reward for yourself or something new and exciting for your store. But stop and think: how can I reinvest that profit into my business? Maybe buy more ad space or increase your cost-per-click budget. You may need to hire a new employee or pay off a debt that has a high interest rate.
What I’m saying is, your profit should cover your expenses, then go right back into your business to make a bigger profit next month or create operational efficiencies for scaling. Don’t worry, after doing this for the first month, you can invest a little less the next month or create/update budgets.
Related: Starting a Business Is Not What You Think. Here’s what to expect instead.
With these tips in mind, some capital and the right business strategy, you are ready to start your own business. It won’t be a straight road to the top, and it’s okay to have a few bumps along the way. We all face them, even unicorns.
The best thing to do when problems arise is to seek advice from a network of mentors and advisors. Look to learn more about your country and ask your advisors the tough questions to help unlock the early mysteries of starting a business.