Starting A New Business?
Learn To Run It First.
Many New Business Owners Fail Because They Are Not sufficiently Skilled At Running A New Business.
Want To Know One Of The Best Bit Of Business Advice For Starting A New Business, I Have Ever Been Given?
Business advice that shaped my 35 successful years as an entrepreneur and allowed me to go onto start and run seven successful businesses:
"Don't start your new business until you know how to run a business"
That was back in the early 1980's and it proved to be so very useful and so very right. Without that, I would have started with poor knowledge, poor confidence and poor experience and I would surely have gone the way of many other business startups and have failed.
Most people, when starting a new business, start with a great passion for their business idea and their product. They correspondingly put much effort into getting these right.
But importantly, they don't learn how to run a business properly before they start - and, there is MUCH to making this a success.
What Things Should You Learn For Running Your Business?
Running a business can be very complex and the new business owner really needs to master many skills if he or she are to make a success of it, such as:
Dealing with customers
Marketing and branding
Employing and managing staff
Creating a business plan and strategy
Controlling the money & creating a profit
Running an efficient back office
Let me explain these briefly as they would relate to you starting a new business:
Selling The Products
One big piece of advice I always give clients starting a new business is to 'test' their products or services on likely target customers.
One great benefit here is getting feedback on the products; too often, small businesses start with products that people do not wish to buy.
Whether your business idea is online or offline, this process is possible and it also gives you the opportunity to talk with likely customers.
Dealing With Customers
Another good piece of advice, I offer to those starting a new business is to work in a retail shop or retail environment. Such work will provide vital experience of dealing with customers, first hand and of selling to them.
Getting a paid job in a shop or even volunteering free to work in a charity shop can provide this, whether you are launching an offline or online business.
Marketing and Branding
Marketing is essential for anyone starting a new business. But you really should learn how to do this well before you start.
The very least you need is a good website and good social media marketing.
A website is a must-have and I always advise clients to learn how to create their own rather than employing an expensive web designer to do it. WordPress is the best option with cost effective hosting. There are loads of good tutorial videos on YouTube to show you how to do this well.
Social media marketing is also a must-have. It is free to use and easy to perfect. The best way is to watch what the best do in their businesses and to copy them.
Continual marketing before and after you start will create awareness for your business and will help you to create a strong brand.
Employing And Managing Staff
Hiring, employing and managing staff can be very tricky but if you can get some management experience before you start, it can really help.
I did this before I started and it was of massive benefit.
There are also many management training course available which can assist you, but, in my view, you cannot beat actual hands-on management of staff.
Creating A Business Plan And Strategy
If you are borrowing money when starting your new business, you will need to create a detailed business plan but if you are self funding the business, yourself, a short plan is only needed.
Importantly by creating a plan and strategy for your new business, the process should allow you to break your business down into parts. This will allow you to work out how you will execute each part.
It will also allow you to create a good vision for where you are going, making you understand your business better and creating good focus on what is needed.
Controlling The Money And Creating A Profit
Knowing how your business numbers will work in your new business will allow you to control the money and will allow you, ultimately, to create a good profit.
Without a profit, you have no business and your business will fail.
Knowledge of how to optimise your sales volume and your gross profit margin is vital. You will also need to learn to control your costs and the money leaving your business and how to maintain a healthy cash flow; always having plenty of liquid cash available to maintain the business is essential.
Bookkeeping And Creating A Good Profit
Every business owner should learn bookkeeping skills before starting a new business.
Your money is crucial to your business success and without sufficient gross and net profit and a good cash flow, your new business will be doomed.
Many business startups don't bother here or they leave it to their accountant. This really is a big mistake. By doing your own bookkeeping, you can learn so much about your numbers and how to control them.
There are many good accounting software packages available, such as 'Quickbooks' plus good training to support these.
Running An Efficient Back Office
Having a well organised back office, where everything has its place and you are on top of everything creates efficiency and reduces stress.
When starting a new business, it is easy to forget about this and often a messy back office can be the consequence with business owners not appreciating the relevance of an efficient back-office.
I Know You Will Be Impatient To Start
You are possibly thinking that you just want to get on with starting your new business and you are not prepared to spend the time and money learning to run it first.
Many have said this to me over the years.
But, almost without exception, these people have gone on to have a bad start and fail very quickly.
It Is Worth The Delay And The Money
By starting my first new business FOUR YEARS late, it gave me a far bigger chance of success.
Importantly, when I did start, I was ready and the business had a great start - the business was making a profit within the first three months and a substantial profit after the first year. Subsequently, it went from strength to strength.
I never regretted the extra time and money.
You should aspire to do the same, if you wish to reduce the risk of failure.
If You Are Not Prepared To Do The Same, Forget It!
If you are not prepared to do the same, then I strongly suggest you forget about starting a new business - otherwise, you will only increase the risk of failure.
If you are starting a new business, please don't start too early.
Learn the right skills to run your business well and with confidence first. Once your business starts, you will not have the time and energy.