5 things I wish I knew before I started my business…
Never underestimate the value of being an employee in someone else’s business.
How will you know how to relate your employees if you were not once one yourself? You will also have a better understanding of what great employees look like and how they behave if you were once aspiring to be one yourself!
As someone who started a business fairly early on in life, I now know the person you work for in your early years of being an employee is profoundly more important than the organisation you work for or what that organisation does. Seek out great business leaders, go and work for them and learn from them.
Focus your business to be brilliant at just one thing.
‘Jack of all trades, Master of none’ is never a compelling marketing message. Figure out what one thing you can be brilliant at and put all your efforts into honing your product or service to this end to the exclusion of all else.
It takes an unwavering conviction in your business model and market position to be prepared to turn down potential business that does not fit with your core business model. However, the rewards are there if you can stay true to your chosen expertise. Watch your business gradually rise above the noise of the competition, when you stick to your guns.
Sell, Sell, Sell, in a good way.
‘Selling’ is not a dirty word. No sales, no business. Get out there and build real face to face relationships and demonstrate to people you are a business owner of character and integrity. More sales will fix most things or at least give you the breathing space you need to address other issues. The more you speak to and engage with potential customers the more you will understand what they want. This in turn will help you hone your business offering and expertise.
Hire new people before you actually need them.
Be bold in your belief that you can make your business grow and as such keep hiring even if you think you don’t need anyone new yet. by the time you have found the right person, waited a month for them to finish up a previous post, got the trained up and contributing usefully to your business, 4-6 months will have passed.
Its never a nice feeling to work hard to win new business but then feel you are unable to take it on with confidence due to a shortage of the right people.
Never let thoughts of the cost of a new starts wages get in the way. ‘A’ grade employees are always ‘free’. They will always pay for themselves and more in what they can bring to your company. They don’t need managed or supervised and they are always totally committed to the success of the business.
Never shy away from crucial conversations with employees who are not coming up to the mark.
Everyone knows that people are your greatest asset and recruiting people of the right calibre, attitude and fit is essential to long term success. However, as with most things in life this is far easier said than done.
Many well-meaning business owners at all levels put up with the wrong people for too long and may even try, sometimes for years, to bring someone round to their way of thinking – usually unsuccessfully. You will always be pleased you called time on such endeavours. Your ‘A’ grade staff (if you have any left at this point!) will thank you when you take decisive action to move ‘B’ or ‘C’ grade people on.
An ‘A’ grade manager will have long term vision for your business and will hire people who they think have the capacity to grow and develop under their tutelage to become even better than they were.