I’ve been in business for myself for 17 years; a seasoned entrepreneur, I suppose. What does that really mean though? Aren’t we all learning and growing as we go each day? Seasoned just means I’ve had the opportunity to make the mistakes first so I could share that knowledge with others to keep them from doing the same. How many times have you said, “I wish somebody had told me”? Well, this blog is my effort to be that somebody! I’m going to share my knowledge, experiences, idiosyncrasies and old wise tales with you, whoever you may be.
So, let’s jump right in! You want to go into business for yourself. What are the first things you should consider? Well, when I started my business, I had been managing the same business for seven years and thought I knew what to expect. Silly me! It’s amazing that when you flip the switch and your name is on the building how all the sudden there is an entire other level of detail! I wish somebody had told me that just because I knew the marketing and advertising business didn’t mean I was going to be prepared for ALL the decisions that came along with it. I’ll be honest, in the beginning I thought I could do it by myself. Truth is, I had to do a whole lot of it by myself because I couldn’t afford to pay people to do it for me. This, in hindsight, was just the right medicine! I didn’t think so at the time, but it taught me so much more! I learned how to do things I didn’t think I possibly could; and in the process, I also learned that I cannot do it by myself. You need others – other talents, other insights, other hands and feet. Lesson number one! Surround yourself with others who are better than you and let them do their jobs!
Second, research your market to determine market competitiveness and possible market share. This is critical to a launch. So many people have fantastic ideas for a business, but don’t take the time to determine where their business fits into the consumer patterns. Ask yourself these questions: Why are you opening the business? What do you hope to accomplish and in what timeframe? How will achieve these accomplishments? Who will your business serve? Who may already be serving the market and how do they perform? What advantage do you have over the competition? I could go on and on, but if you can answer these; you are miles ahead of many. All these questions should be part of your business plan. Yes, that business plan is important; it is an outline that keeps you on target and on task. The banks and any investors require it. It will keep your sanity in check. However, if you just put it all on paper and expect the progress to move accordingly; you will be sadly mistaken. There is one thing you can always expect in business – expect change! Everything will change. The key is you must change with it. If you decide to go against the change, you must expect change to go against you. The latter is something you can survive but it will normally prompt yet more change – yes change.
Lastly, no matter what you are going into business to do, there is a very small percentage – 1% to be exact – that will be the number you should focus on. Why such a small percentage? It is the 1% effort that makes the largest percent difference to the consumer, to how good you are and to your bottom line. Everyone can give 100%, but those that give 101% are rewarded with far greater than even their expectations.