Realize that no matter what business I "think" I'm in, I'm really not in that business. I'm really in the business of MARKETING that business.
Either I am/or become an expert at marketing or have someone who is.
Once I learned that, my business exploded.
You can provide the best service/product in the world but someone that provides an inferior product/service will do MUCH better than you if they are great at marketing.
I learned that in 1991 from a guy named Jeff Paul and it's served me very well since.
I agree with SCOTT. MARKETING and SELLING.
You Market the right products, you are Selling all the time
I adore chaos because I produce order. As an entrepreneur, I maintain a firm grip on market realities and their finances.
I don’t think this is nosey at all – in fact, you touched on one of the questions I often ask my fellow small business owners.
In 2010, purchased a small retail store and became the sole owner. If I could time-travel, I would do the following:
1. Get a partner: I greatly overestimated my abilities, and underestimated the time it would take to manage the business. In retrospect, I should’ve been patient and found a partner first. Or, in the alternative, I should’ve spoken to the local competitors to see if there was any interest on purchasing the store together, and re-branding it under their (more-established and recognized) store name.
2. Raise enough money: The only cash I came up with was the purchase price. I erroneously assumed that once I bought the business and made my enhancements, the increased profits would follow. Well, they did, but the numbers weren’t high enough to launch a complete marketing campaign, hire employees, or make improvements to the battered shelving and worn-out floors.
In summary: be patient before jumping in, and raise a cushion should cash flow be slow.
Realization that it's all about to working ON the business, and not IN the business, is sadly missing right from the outset.
It's only much later - when the days seem to have more than 24 hrs and the concept of holiday is totally foreign, that the budding entrepreneur sees the mistakes.
Want to start your own business?
Begin from a sound business plan, best verified by other successful owners.
If you don't know any, look around, and you'll find them.
Learning from others' mistakes is the smart way to the top that nobody can prevent you from taking!
Change your mindset right away - you are an OWNER, not an EMPLOYEE! Other people's opinions on what you should be doing to operate your business are just that - opinions. Listen to suggestions, but make your own decisions.
Remember - you aren't really in the (insert type here) business - you are in the PEOPLE business. Everything you say/do will affect people's opinions of you AND your business. In other words, it's time to stop wearing ragged sweatpants, curlers, and bunny slippers on your 'quick run to the store' and watch your language/what opinions you espouse. Even if you don't think other folks are paying attention, they are!
The Virtual Office Goddess, LLC
I have always wanted to ask business owners a question but have been worried they would think I was being too nosey. But since I am (sometimes) nosey, I'll ask!
If you were starting your business again - and knowing what you know now - what would you do differently? Big or small, I'd be happy to hear what you would change or tweak.
We never know, something you have learned along the way might be the ONE thing to put a new business owner on the road to success. Won't you take a minute and share a thought or two?