5 Tips I've Learned Running A Business
As my business in Atlanta approaches it’s first year anniversary, I have had the chance to think back over all the lessons I’ve learned and mistakes I’ve made. I’m hoping that by sharing my stories with you, I will be able to help you avoid some of the similar lessons and mistakes. I believe that the following business tips will help you create a successful mindset and mentality within your business.
Podcasts Will Save Your Life…and Business
I always thought podcasts were the MOST LAME thing ever. I had never listened to one in my entire life, yet there I was judging podcasts. Well, if I had known how resourceful podcasts could be I would have been listening to podcasts when I was in high school. My life would be so much different I’m sure.
Podcasts are great tools for learning about anything in the world. For businesses, podcasts that focus on budgets, finances, legal advice, and marketing are all great. I’d argue that podcasts are THE BEST resource for DO-IT-YOURSELFERS because podcasts will give you most of the information you need to stop paying other people and do things yourself. Need better marketing strategies, there’s a podcast for it!
Additionally, researching topics on the internet is boring and the information you find is often very inconsistent or scattered across many different websites. With podcasts, you often have the same people vetting the information provided, so the information is consistent. It’s also much easier to listen to podcasts on your way to work, while walking your dog, etc. And listening to people talk is so much more fun than always researching online.
You Can’t Do It By yourself
While it’s important to be able to "do-it-yourself,” it’s even more important to know when it’s appropriate to take control and when you should delegate the task to someone else. You have to set up a team around you. Whether you’re selling designs or clothes online, marketing your business, or simply doing the day-today tasks, you’ll still need support. This support could be an intern, lawyer to draft documents, or even a friend or family member to bounce ideas to. And of course, if you’re planning to build your business yourself, make sure to do the proper research, and to run your decisions by someone you can trust, even if only to get a second opinion.
you have to adapt
Even when you think you have a permanent plan for your business, the plan may change. When I created my dog walking company, Pack Leaders ATL, I thought I had the perfect pricing structure, service offerings, and employee model. Well, throughout the course of our first year we settled into some of our business decisions and completely reworked others. It took a quick phone call with a business consultant to realize that we didn’t have a scalable business model that could grow. So we reconsidered some aspects of our business. We made our service offerings more simplistic, switched from Independent Contractors to Employees, and started to change aspects of the business to not only what we wanted, but what was healthy for our business.
Likewise, you’ll need to be ready to adapt your business as you grow. I could not imagine what would have happened if we had never adapted our business on the fly. So don’t be afraid of modify aspects of your business to improve and grow. I also think business owners should always be thinking about what they can do better. And if your business’ performance is plateauing, think about improving your website, marketing tactics, social media presence, networking, or business model. There is no absolutely right answer in business, so keep adapting until you find success.
KEEP RECORDS fROM THE START
For any business it’s important to keep detailed records for things like business expenses, employee & HR documents, business documents, accounting, and finance. It became very difficult for us to run our administrative tasks efficiently without being organized, so I knew this would be important to add to the list. Keeping detailed and organized records is also important for a business owner when you are being audited by local or state governments agencies, and the IRS. Having the proper documentation will place your business in the best spot for success.
separate business from your personal life
When you’re starting a business it’s easy to get your personal and business roles intermixed. Perhaps your funding your business with your credit cards, or personal loans. Maybe you’re investing money into your business another way. You’ll want to have some sort of book keeping software, like Quickbooks, and separate banks accounts for personal and business transactions, and this foes for Self Proprietors, LLCs, and Corporations.
BONUS! - Hire Slow, FIRE FAST
Hiring employees is stressful because you never know how reliable or hard working an employee will be, or how long they will actually work for you. I made the mistake of rushing into hiring two dog walkers for my company, and the did not turn out to be reliable employees. One of them dragged on for a few months before we had to terminate that relationship because it was too stressful and not worth the work they were doing. When the next dog walker we hired demonstrated similar tendencies as the last one, we parted ways with her much faster. After that, we refined our hiring process, and we are extremely happy with our most recent hire.