Finding clients/customers. No-one can survive in any form of business for very long if they don’t have someone willing to pay for your products or services. So marketing your new business and attending every networking event you can find are the starting points. Marketing takes money and networking takes time. But if a new business doesn’t do these things, then the dream business could end up a very quick nightmare. There’s very little point having the best product or service if no-one knows about them.
Cash-flow. I started my own business many years ago with what I thought was a healthy nest-egg. However, it didn’t take long for that to vanish after I’d invested in a desk, a computer, a car and several million business cards and flyers. And when you have NO income until you find that first client, stress levels can go through the roof.
Exhaustion. We set off every day to meet and greet potential clients, yet a daily dose of ‘no’s’ can soon drain even the most enthusiastic tank.
Not having the funds to delegate the smaller tasks: It’s a catch 22 – you need people to do the admin jobs but you don’t have the funds to pay anyone, so exhaustion and cash flow tend to meet head on at some stage of your shiny new start up.
Not having a business plan. Most entrepreneurs get great ideas and then rush off to persuade people to buy into their idea; sadly, without a business plan which measures every aspect of your business, it doesn’t take long for the wheels to fall off.
The GOOD news.... millions of people before you have started up their own businesses.
Tip 1: Surround yourself with positive people. People who will support and encourage you (even, in fact, especially, on the dark days)
Tip 2: Surround yourself with books written by people who have succeeded.
Tip 3: Watch TED videos – a never ending supply of people who have gone before you and conquered the unknown
Tip 4: Find a coach and a mentor
Tip 5: Swap services. Find someone who is great at admin to do your invoicing etc. and offer to market THEIR services (or similar)
Tip 6: Do whatever it takes to get started and to keep motivated. Keep believing in yourself
Tip 7: Join BNI (or similar). BNI’s run networking breakfasts in most cities so people can swap referrals
Tip 8: The second you gather business cards at your networking event – start a database (most businesses are valued by the size of their database)
Tip 9: Offer a ‘free’ whatever it is you are selling to one of those people you’ve just met at your networking event in exchange for a testimonial and/or referral
Tip 10: Join your local Chamber of commerce and attend every course you can on running a business – in particular – sessions on how to put together a business plan and marketing plan
There is a joy in being your own boss; however, you will probably work longer hours (initially) than you have ever worked, the difference is you are working for YOU!
Ann Andrews CSP
MD The Corporate Toolbox