The following is a journal article I wrote to myself on the eve of my 38th birthday and a couple of month prior to my web design agency turning 15!
It’s only natural to reflect and to ponder about the years gone by, the ups and the downs, the pain and the pleasure, the opportunities grasped and those totally and completely missed.
In no particular order, here’s my list of 38 things (one for every year) that I wish I knew about business before starting my business.
- That putting a hyphen in my business name and website address | This has lead me to having to explain it every time I spell out my website address or email address over the phone. Oh the hours wasted 😉
- Get Your Branded Facebook Address ASAP | I really should have jumped onto Facebook much sooner to get the best (branded) address.
- Trust My Gut
- Don’t Accept Every Job Offer | Not everyone is a match and accepting jobs with customers
- Hire People With Passion and Proof Of Skill | You need both
- Get A Brand Style Guide From Day #1 | It’ll help keep all of your branding/advertising on point. I made so many mistakes!
- Learn To Read Financial Statements | I don’t care how much you dislike them. Learn to love this significant aspect of your business.
- Get A Great Bookkeeper | Outsource this task asap, then shop around to ensure you get a bookkeeper well matched to your needs
- Get A Good Accountant | If you have big visions for your business, hire an accountant that will support you every step of the way
- Be Prepared For A Steep Learning Curve
- There A Two Choices When It Comes To Outsourceable Tasks | Pay someone to do it for you or suck it up and learn how to do it yourself.
- Be Yourself | There’s no need nor benefit to fake it.
- Regularly Invest In Client Communications | This can be direct phone calls/emails or a more formalised email marketing arrange. Do this often!
- Follow-up On ALL Pending Quotes Promptly | This will help you convert more sales and also allow you to “blow out” any that are not intending on going ahead.
- Start To Build an Email List From Day #1 | And use it.
- Don’t Over Commit | Treat your time as though it’s a precious and costly resource… because it is 😉
- Practice Prioritising | Be honestly ruthless about what tasks are actually important vs what you’d prefer to be doing
- Get Good At Sales | Find a Sales Coach asap if this is something you’re not confident. It’ll save you so much time and frustration
- Ask For Reviews | Don’t just expect them. You often need to ask nicely
- Hire An Aligned Team | Only hire staff, contractors that align with you in the way they do business, their quality of work and how they are as people
- Interview Your Prospective Customers | To prequalify a prospect before you do business with them, ask questions to establish the following:
– Can and are you happy to complete this job for them?
– What are their expectations and can you meet them based on your current offerings and skills?
- Sleep On Any Advertising Spends | Really analyse if it’s going to be a wise investment and what the ROI will be for your business.
- Learn To Allot Time With The Fluff | If you give yourself 3 hours to complete a task, you probably will. Don’t give yourself too much time to “Fluff around”
- Never Be Afraid Of Too Much Work | It’s better to book future jobs, refer to other services provider or have the opportunity to expand your team vs chasing work and feeling obligated to take on every job offer.
- Never Stop Advertising | Even if you’re busy
- You’re Going To Make Mistakes | We all do
- Understand Who Your Selling To | This should influence how you advertise, present quotes, communicate and generally run your business. Your purpose is to serve the customer.
- Ask More Questions | This applies across the board… your Accountant, your staff, other business owners and anyone you have business dealings with
- Up-Level Your Conversations | Frequently talk to business owners that earn more than you
- Continually Strive For Growth | Letting yourself ‘get comfortable’ for too long and just coasting along will likely become boring and your level of enthusiasm for what you do won’t be sustainable
- Put Your Phone Of Silent | or flight mode when you need to concentrate
- Follow Successful Businesses Across Different Industries | This is how I get a LOT of my advertising ideas and inspiration
- Use Single Product/Service Discounts Sparingly | Alternatives include; combo/package deals, a free gift that doesn’t cost you much or a limited-time-only upsell offer
- Go With Per-Service Pricing vs Hourly Rate
- People Do Business With Those They Feel They Know, Like and Trust | Let your customers to get to know you
- People Can “Hear” It When You Smile On The Phone
- Match Your Marketing To You | Ideally, your website + social media wording match how you communicate. It’s so that when they speak with you, it feels like it’s the same person they were reading about
- Be Organised | It conveys competence and professionalism, and will help you stress less
– Document every call, quote and request
– Don’t rely on memory. Write everything down and schedule a time to follow-up as a reminder
– Leverage a proper calendar
– Use checklists for every repeated job / activity in your business
Now, that’s a pretty big list and lots to consider… but whether you’re a new or an already established business… you don’t have to focus on nor action all of them at once. That would be overwhelming and quite unproductive.
So my question to you is…
What 3 of the points above you feel would have best served your business when you first started / now that you’re starting out?
Is there something else that’s not listed above that you wish you knew before starting your business?
Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Until next time, remember to Engage Everything.