Many entrepreneurs share common histories of their first year in business, noting their mistakes at the beginning of the business ventures and the lessons they learned – the hard way.
3 Things to Avoid
Kathy, a new entrepreneur, shared that her dream was to open a crafts store in her small town. She had graduated from a liberal arts college and wanted to build a business around her artistic talents. She shared her story, noting her mistakes and what she could and should have done to begin her business differently.
No money. Kathy had a small savings account, no retirement funds, and no collateral for a possible bank loan. She did not have a financial statement of any kind.
No appropriate work space. Kathy began working out of a corner of her garage, which was neither heated nor cooled.
No clients. Kathy did not have a social media presence, was not a member of any professional organizations, and no idea of who her target market should be. She had been away at school for five years and the town had grown enormously during her absence.
If you see yourself in any of the above, you may recognize the warning signs. There are steps you can take to avoid these mistakes.
3 Things to Do
Money. Evaluate in detail any and all sources of funds for your new venture. At a minimum, have a one page business plan. This document should outline clearly what the business is about and all definite and potential sources of revenue, as well as projected expenses.
Work Space. Evaluate in detail products and services you plan to offer. If climate control is an issue, look at the possibility of renting a space, renting a house, or even using a room in your house at the beginning of your venture.
Clients. Be sure to list family, friends and associates as possible clients. Also, in today’s markets, an internet presence is very important – utilizing social media, web presence, and building a dependable reputation. It takes time to build trust. When that is established, remember to put excellence in service at the top of the list. That in turn should lead to loyalty, a critical factor in retaining clients.
Fortunately, Kathy was willing to change direction and adjust her business practices. At the end of her first five years, she was on solid ground financially and looking forward to the best reward an entrepreneur can ask for – freedom.