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What Business Owners Wish They Knew Before They Started

Are you thinking of starting your own business? You are probably keen to get going and have some ideas about how you want to run it. However, many businesses struggle out of the gate for any number of reasons, key among them not setting up their businesses correctly. You should do what you can to avoid pitfalls so that your launch and early months and years go as smoothly as possible. Read Our Comprehensive Inc Authority Review to learn what’s required to set up your business properly.

There is a lot to know, and a lot to consider. However, you can luckily look at what other entrepreneurs have done to know what to avoid. Even the best have made mistakes along the way. Here are some of the most important things that business owners wish they knew before they started. 

Find Mentors

The entrepreneurial spirit means being an individual. You are geared to head out on your own and carve your own path. While this is true, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little help on the way. Finding a mentor can give you a huge boost. In fact, if you can find several, that’s even better. 

Mentors can help you with every facet of your business. For one, they can give you advice and guidance regarding starting up your business and how it can function. They can also help train you on the skills you need to keep it running. In fact, you can use a mentor for any capacity regarding your business. You just have to be willing to listen and take advice. Use your networking and relationship-building skills to find the right people to guide you. 

Keep Things Simple

When you are starting out, your business processes might go through a lot of trial and error. This is especially true if you have employees with whom you need to communicate and share documents. When establishing your processes, your goal should always be simplicity and efficiency. Cut down on any individual handling documents more than once, for example. For every process, take some time to examine every step, and determine whether that step is actually needed. If it’s not necessary and is just a product of “that’s how we’ve always done it,” then change it. The more efficient you are, the more time you will have for the core functions of your business. 

Build More Relationships

When you are running a business, it’s not possible to have too many relationships. Get yourself out there and build connections with as many other local businesses, charities, and individuals that you can. Not only are people more likely to buy from businesses they know and trust, but you never know when you might need that relationship. Even if you have a connection with a seemingly unrelated company, you never know when you might decide to change your focus. Then you can call on that contact to help make deals for a vendor/consumer relationship, or for any other type of partnership. Never underestimate the power of marketing. Trade shows and marketplaces are great ways to meet others you can connect with. 

Don’t Undervalue Insurance

The thing with insurance is that you might never need it. You will pay every year for protection, and possibly never get a chance to take advantage. That does not mean that it isn’t important. In fact, even a single incident for which you are not covered could spell disaster for your company. If someone gets hurt on your property, or if you are the victim of a data breach, you could find yourself facing a lawsuit. 

One of the most overlooked possible hazards is professional liability. This is when you or an employee of your business makes an error or fails to meet a deadline and is held accountable for any losses a client suffers as a result. You might think you can avoid paying for this coverage and work something out with the client, but that is not always possible, and not realistic. Get the coverage you need, no matter what it is, and get your business protected. 

Focus on the Customer

When starting out, many entrepreneurs are focused on how their lives are going to change because of their new business. They are also thinking about how they would a business their way, instead of perhaps how it’s run where they currently work. This is a very natural frame of mind for something with an entrepreneurial spirit. 

However, while you certainly want to run things your way, your primary focus should be about customers. Most importantly, how you can help the customer and solve their problems. Even if the “problem” is as simple as they need a new patterned t-shirt and you can provide it, then that’s enough. If you consider your customers’ needs with every decision you make and everything you do, then you will not just satisfy the customers you have, but you will find more customers to satisfy. 

Cash Flow is King

You’d be surprised at how many business owners forget about cash flow, especially when they are first starting out. Cash flow is incredibly important. If you are finding things in which to invest, and not bringing enough cash to cover it, then you can quickly find yourself in trouble. 

In fact, even if you aren’t actively investing in things, you could have cash flow problems if you need to pay for things before cash has come in. For example, if you invoice for a service, you then may have to wait up to 60 days between the invoice time and the grace period before you see those funds. In the meantime, you will have to pay your bills and salaries. Make cash flow a priority and you will run your business responsibly and efficiently. You can do this by keeping up to date on your bookkeeping and accounting, and running regular reports so you know exactly where you stand at all times. 

Enjoy It

Too many entrepreneurs get caught up in the stress of it all and forget to enjoy it. You are out there in the world introducing a great product or service, and doing it on your terms. You will hopefully be making some money and giving yourself a little bit of freedom. Enjoy your time. If you don’t, then you will become overly stressed and possibly bitter about your experience. You will spend more time getting angry at yourself and your team rather than soaking it in and appreciating the experience. 

Nobody would ever say that owning a business is easy. In fact, it’s hard work, and there is a lot you need to know. Learn from past mistakes and make sure that you consider these factors that many business owners wish they knew before they started out.