Group Benefits

Starting a business

This is part 3 in my Celebrating 20 Years series, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

Everyone starting a business does not know what they need to know

business coachThis statement really applies to all parts of life. Since I work predominantly with business owners, we will keep it in the business realm. All the other life conversations are to be had at dinner and/or the pub.

Business owners, when they start their business, often do not know what they do not know….myself included. I believe if people knew what was really involved in running a successful business, they would never do it. To run a business, you need to know:

  • How to make, service or sell your widget. That is the easy part!
  • You also need to be chef, cook, bottle washer, banker, bookkeeper, sales, marketing, HR, payroll, manager, web developer….and you only have 24 hours a day. You may even want to see your family and sleep every so often.

Now that you have started a business and know there is more to know than you know, what do you
do?

  • At the start, you may not have a lot of money. You just emptied your savings account, re-mortgaged your home and borrowed money from family. Your spouse is likely nervous.
    • A no-cost idea to start to learn the things you need to know is to start a mastermind group. Find other business owners who have similar ideas and problems and get together on a set schedule.
      • The idea of a mastermind group is that you can bring any idea or problem to the table and discuss it in a safe environment. Maybe you want the group to edit or vet a marketing/advertising idea. Maybe you want to hire your first employee. Maybe you need to fire your first employee. Talk about it. Listen to others. Learn from the mistakes and successes the others in your group have had. 20 years into my career, I still have a mastermind group. We discuss processes, providers, employees, technology, marketing, client successes and issues, and whatever else comes up. We call and email each other when we have stumbling blocks or to just double check our thoughts or processes. I love & appreciate my group!
  • Get a Business Coach
    If you are making under $100,000 / year, if you want more, get a coach. If you are making $500,000 / year and if you want more, get a coach. If you are making $3,000,000 / year and you want more, get a coach. You get the drift.

When you are new in business, you may not have much of a budget for a coach. Ask your suppliers if they have a coaching program or funds available to help you pay for coaching.

Once you are up and running, no excuse, put the money aside and pay for one yourself. A funded coach may have biases geared towards the products and services you offer. When you can pick the coach, you can choose the direction and focus on the things you want to work on.

If the coach is charging less than $2,000 / month, go find a different one. A coach that undervalues their service will not be much help to you.

When you hire a coach, be honest with yourself. You need to put the time aside to do the work. The coach cannot do the work for you. If you will not step away to work on new processes, your coaching money & time will be wasted. Plan for coaching, schedule the time and then go find a great one!

When you make the time, the coaching will more than pay for itself.

There are so many other things you can do:

  • Hire a great accountant & bookkeeper. Don’t skimp on bookkeeping. One day, ask me about my $25,000 lesson early on in my career.
  • Make sure you have or at least are connected to a lawyer in case anything important happens.
  • Make a list of the things you know in your industry then make a list of the things you know about, and are not proficient in.
    • Go look for people who know about these things. You may want to hire some of them. You likely will not be able to hire all of them. Speak to them about how they can help you and how you may be able to help them.
  • Speak to your suppliers about how they can help
  • Be willing to pay for the services & advice
  • If you find an employee who knows more than you, be happy about that and be prepared to pay them well. If they are good, your investment will go a long way.

Running a business is a lifelong learning opportunity. 20 years from now, you too will get to think about what you have learned and you will likely still have more to go. I hope you appreciate your lessons as much as I have appreciated mine.