There were many, many lessons learnt along the way….. I think, as a business owner, the importance of delegation was one of the key ones. You can only get so far on your own. Being able to ‘read the numbers’ is also important. We all now have access to lots of information on our businesses, but the ability to look at the data, work out what it’s are telling us and, most importantly, deciding what to do next on the back of it, is a vital skill.
One of the key lessons I picked up later in my career was the importance of regularly tracking numerical KPIs. Because we didn’t have investors, I had no-one to answer to, so as long as we were generally heading in the right direction, everything was OK. Getting more specific on numbers was something we needed to do.
And throughout the time, the importance of a consistent target, our BHAG, which meant were focused. Looking back now, the benefit of outside help, particularly at key times, those times when you take the big next step, was vital.
My advice for new business owners would be ‘go for it’. Follow your gut instinct. Yes do the market research, stress test your assumptions, but when push comes to shove, do what you ‘sense’ is right. Trust your instinct. I’d also say that you should minimise risk as much as you can, but not too much. Keep it at a ‘controlled risk’. You should always keep ‘nimble’ as it allows you to change and react to situations as they present themselves, although that’s not to say fall for every new shiny object that you see…. and you’ll see many!
It’s essential, I do something I’m passionate about and makes a difference to others.
To trust my gut, but back it up with a bit of due diligence.
Continuing to learn ignites my creativity and builds confidence in my own abilities
We were not perfect. As Founders we tried our best, but ultimately we failed to control our stakeholders and we lost
You can instantly tell who will be there for you in the good times and the bad times. If you know someone won’t be around in the bad times, don’t have them around you at all
Never give up. Don’t let anyone else determine whether you are deserving of success
When you have investment you have more choices and more time – but act as though you have neither and you will grow quicker.
Split the risk. Create multiple start-ups across differing sectors and share the rewards with whoever backs you.
Everything will take longer, be more complex and cost more than you anticipated – so practice being patient and watch the pennies.
Don’t try to do everything yourself – don’t be afraid to outsource as it will save you time, money and effort.
Go with your gut – especially where people are involved as some will appear to want to help but really are just in it for themselves – 99% of people are great though!
Be careful with your time and schedule a minimum of 4 hours a week to work on rather than in your business.
Don’t be afraid to dream big – and tell people what you want to achieve. Some may mock you but most will help – and you inspire others.
Have a real purpose and communicate it. Don’t be in business just for the money.
Treat your clients like people. It’s important to show them that you really care about their business, to help build trust and a long-lasting relationship.
When starting out, the most important thing you can do is research your industry.
You can’t please everyone, so follow your own gut, but always be kind.
Don’t spend money if you don’t have it. Use free trials and resources where available.
If you are jumping from a world where everyone knows your name to a brand new planet you will need connections, and fast! Try networking, offer your services to worthy causes and offer to run workshops and your time to those in need.
It’s important to give yourself structure and set out a plan of attack, but don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go as you thought they would. Take time to reflect on the things you have achieved rather than focusing on the things you haven’t.
If you are going to invest in something like your logo or professional photography take the time to set a proper brief and think about what you really want to get from it. The cheapest isn’t always best.