They say that starting your business ‘is a journey not a destination’, but boy, I wish I knew back then what I know now – life would have been so much easier – less stress, less uncertainty, more time, money and confidence. So I thought I might pass on some tips to help you start your business:
- Get your pricing right – use the rule of thirds: 1/3 wages, 1/3 admin and 1/3 profit. Don’t make your products too cheap. Whatever it’s going to cost you to service the work, triple it to get your RRP
- Build products – look to develop your IP into products that don’t necessarily need you to service them to get revenue. For example, we built an HR Diagnostic Tool for mid to large companies to assess their HR services against best practice benchmarks
- Get an overdraft before you need it – I naively thought if our clients pay on time, we won’t need it. If you want to grow, you need access to cash. Remember your growth can kill you.
- Don’t charge for your time – people don’t value it the same way you do – they don’t believe you are worth what you know you are and they will query every 15mins charged. Rather, price for a product – work out what time is involved, work out what the value this product will bring to your client – and add a buffer
- Optimism and resilience is a critical part of your required make up, I have to say that this is absolutely mandatory!
- Not all clients play fair – this is where my optimism worked against me as I was under the false impression that all clients play fair – they don’t. Many do but it’s just a law of numbers – need your developed ability to pick out the clients to avoid at all cost.
- Invest in your education – there is an incredible learning curve when running a successful business. Make sure that you invest in your education and surround yourself with positive people. Understand that your knowledge will evolve – you will fail fast but you will learn fast too. Learn from your mistakes
- Build your profile – people want to know that they are dealing with the best in the field. Look to publish to get your content out to the market and increase your credibility in the process
- Growth through partnerships – the quickest way to grow your business is through developing partnerships. Look at partners through a lens of a ‘win, win, win’ scenario
- Business is complex by nature – you need to develop your problem solving and creative development skills. A great resource when I started out was the Government’s Small Business Plan guide
Fifty percent of small businesses fail by their 3rd year. Believe me, we were almost one of those stats and thank goodness, we made it through. BUT, I am absolutely sure that we would not have come so incredibly close to failing, had we known then what we know today. I hope these tips help you to avoid some of the bumps in the road on your journey. Please let me know if they do.