The 5 Things You Should Know When Starting Your Own Business

by Mike O'Neill

Taking the plunge into business ownership is scary — especially if you have no idea where to start.

Being an expert in your industry doesn’t automatically make you an expert when it comes to running a business, so they’re some things you’ll need to know if you want your startup to be a success.

In a recent webinar, we interviewed Amanda Jelks. Amanda started her career as a lawyer for a large firm. After 4 years of working there, she decided she wanted more freedom and flexibility in her schedule, so she started her own law firm.

Find out the 5 things Amanda says you need to know when starting your own business by watching the webinar or reading the article below.

#1: Get Advice From Other Business Owners 

Get advice from business owners first. Ask them the hard questions. Ask the business owners things such as - what do you wish you would have known that you didn’t know? As a business owner, what slapped you in the face? 

What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome, something you did not anticipate, and how did you overcome that? Ask the business owner how they prepared for the transition of working for someone else vs. themselves.  

You want to get business owners’ advice first. Discussions with established business owners will give you ideas about what worked for them, what didn’t, any tips, tricks, and general guidance they have.  

You should talk to business owners, especially those in your niche because they can open up ideas that you may not have thought about. Discussing questions outside of your niche might bring a fresh outlook that wasn’t thought of before, so definitely don’t rule out those business owners. 

The advice they can give is pretty accurate. Be prepared, though. Business owners may only tell you 75% of what you want to know due to fear of competition. Preparation is critical for entrepreneurs starting their own business. Don’t be afraid to talk to as many business owners as you can from various companies. 

Introduce yourself to your local area Chamber of Commerce and, if able, join. Often it’s members will have a plethora of advice. Many of them are willing to help others because they remember when they were first starting. Some cities also have chapter meetings for organizations based on that particular business niche. 

Becoming a business owner is a big step. Still, it’s a rewarding step that can provide you with freedom and flexibility. As a business owner, you can do what you want to do when you want to. You have the flexibility to work 80-hours a week if necessary, but you also have that freedom to step back in other weeks and scale down to 20. 

As a business owner, you also have the freedom to go on vacation, control who you work with, and run the business the way you want. With every pro, though, there are cons. Owning your own business is extremely difficult. Your financial goals are your responsibility. A business owner doesn’t have someone to ‘boss’ them.  

#2: Work On Your Business — Not In It

Work on your business, not in it.  This statement means that there are so many areas to running a successful business. The business owner should not be spending time on all areas of the company.  

Delegating tasks is the backbone of a successful business. Entrepreneurs starting a business need to focus on the overall business, but they do not need to do every job. Having a good team in place helps the company to run at its optimal level. It allows the business owner to spend their time where necessary, like on the things they know about running a business. 

Business owners should not spend time on things like accounting, social media, or marketing for their business. Leave those things to the team you hire or outsource these tasks. Develop a system that details what needs to happen step-by-step for your organization and outsourced contractors. 

One of the greatest things you can do for yourself as a business owner is to be a lifelong learner. One of the most significant things you can do for your business and your team is to complete a manager training program. 

A complete management training program will show you how to recognize and acknowledge employees, and create multiple opportunities for employee development. While motivating employees to achieve their goals, create a respectful work environment, learn active listening techniques, and provide honest and constructive feedback. 

This manager training program will benefit your business by decreasing employee turnover, increasing employee engagement, and improve employee performance. 

Organizational leadership is also vital for business owners. Business owners are having to learn how to motivate their team through chats, emails, video meetings, and texts instead of holding on-site meetings or having the employee come into their office for a face-to-face chat. 

Due to these technological shifts in the business world, you’ll need to be a positive leader to inspire and motivate your staff to keep your company growing and working at its fullest potential. An organizational leadership training program for business owners can create business growth and foster good employee communication. 

All of these things, in turn, help the business owner work on their business while employees work for them. 

#3: Don’t Be Afraid to Advertise Your Products & Services

Don’t be afraid to advertise your products and services. One of the hardest things for an entrepreneur starting a business could be promoting themselves. It can be relatively easy for us to discuss our newest pair of shoes with our friends and co-workers, but when it comes to our own products and services, we often fall short.  

When starting your own business, in the early stages, let people know what you are doing. Once the company has developed, continue to network and share your business with those you come in contact with. 

There may be those in your niche that don’t approve of the methods you’re using to advertise and discuss your products.  As long as you are not poaching current clients, don’t let others’ opinions derail you from using the best options that work for you and your business when it comes to networking and advertising. 

Join local business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Associations. These are great places to meet other business owners and begin your network. As a business owner, it is your job to generate leads for your business. Without them, your business won’t make it. 

#4: Don’t Be the Cheapest

Don’t be the cheapest. Being the cheapest doesn’t mean clients or potential sales will naturally be drawn to your business. A new company will often launch with the tagline, “we’re the cheapest in town,” or “we have the lowest prices around.” Cheap doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of services or products you are providing. 

Being the cheapest is not a significant competitive advantage. Good clients aren’t looking for the cheapest. Good clients are looking for the best person to get the job done, and they’re willing to pay the price for it.  

Don’t be the cheapest competitor, so you don’t resent what you’re doing down the road. Often in the client-based sectors, clients who want businesses with the lowest rates end up being the most difficult to work with. 

“If your goal is to make $50,000 your first year in business, you can either have 50 clients that pay you $1000 each, or you can have 500 clients that pay you $100 each. I would much rather focus on 50 new clients this year than 500.” - Amanda Jelks 

#5: Protect Your Business From Risks

Protect your business from risks. There are three things to keep in mind when starting your own business to protect yourself from the risk and liabilities that are out there.

  • Insurance
  • Contract - Liability Waivers
  • Entity Formation

When an entrepreneur starts a business, you are providing a service or product that can injure someone in some way. For example, if you are a physical therapist, you could cause bodily harm, even if by accident.

If you are in construction, you build a structure with the potential to fall, causing harm to someone or damaging property. If you are in the finance industry or the legal sector, you’re giving advice that someone may rely on, which could cause financial hardship.  

A business that ends up causing harm to someone puts everything at risk.   

A business with risks is a business that is not going to last long-term without having those mentioned things; insurance, contracts, and entity formation. A business owner will want to protect themselves, their business, their employees, and their business assets. 

“Going into business, a lot of people have these great ideas, and they’re wonderful. They are amazing ideas. But, people with amazing ideas that launch businesses fail all the time, and it has nothing to do with the quality of their idea. It has to do with their rush to start the business, and they didn’t take the proper steps to protect themselves.” - Amanda Jelks

There are easy and affordable options out there for entrepreneurs starting their own business. Protection against risk is one area you don’t want to skimp on. 

Schedule Your Free Coaching Call & Start Your Business Off Right

When you strike out to start your own business, you know that having a plan is crucial. But, there is always going to be something that you wish someone would have told you to give you a leg up.

Starting a business is trial and error. I would like to help you start out knowing a few things that have benefited me in my own company. 

I formed Bench Builders to help impact businesses of all sizes — to help you improve your Bottom Line by improving your Bench Strength.

For some entrepreneurs and those in leadership roles, business coaching is just what you need to have greater achievements. Schedule a coaching call - Let’s talk! 

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