6 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me When I Started My...

6 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me When I Started My Small Business


1The buck stops with you, but… You don’t have to be alone

The buck stops with you

As a small business owner, it can be lonely making all of the decisions. Ask for help. Not everyone has the courage to start a business but most people want to help and support you.

Find other entrepreneurs to learn from. Someone a few years ahead of you can provide invaluable advice. Someone just starting can bring energy and creative ideas. The best advice I ever received came from other entrepreneurs. It takes a village.

2Protect yourself from the unexpected

Expect the best but prepare for those unexpected hiccups.

Think about roadblocks you might hit along the way.

Things will happen that you can’t control. Do what you can to protect yourself. Set up systems and processes in your business so that you can take a vacation or care for a sick child.

Make sure that things won’t fall apart if you step away for a moment. Respect yourself enough to ensure that you can take care of yourself outside of your business.

Related: Successful SA Entreps Share Their Most Valuable Business Advice Ever Received

3Communicate with partners

Communicate with your partners – it’s important

Partners can be a great way to bring complementary talent to grow your business but, just like a marriage, it’s critical to communicate values and expectations. Create a business ‘pre-nup’ to set expectations for the partnership.

Like every good marriage, go on date nights and remind yourself why you went into business together in the first place. You can also use it as an opportunity to brainstorm new ideas or talk through problems in a less stressful space.

4Hire smart

As a small business owner, you can do anything but you can’t do everything!

Hiring a team is thrilling but also scary. Take time to hire the right people for the right job. Fire them quickly if it doesn’t go well.

Hire people who love to do what you hate to do so you can focus on your dream and evangelise your passion.

Related: 10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

5Cash is king

Make sure you understand your own business model.

Running a business is an art and a science. The art is your passion. The science is your business model.

It’s not something to abdicate to someone else. Understanding money-in, money-out, is critical to business success. Ignorance is not bliss. If you know how your business is doing at every moment, you can celebrate your success or plan for how to get more cash.

6Follow your passion and don’t let go

Follow your passion and it’ll take you far

Your business probably stems from something you’re passionate about, but over time, the day-to-day running of the business makes it hard to keep that passion alive.

Fuel it daily by reminding yourself why you started your business. Make sure that you fall in love with a problem, not a solution. If your first solution doesn’t work, fall back on your passion for solving that problem to find another answer for your customer.

Related: 8 Money Mistakes to Avoid on Your Way to Being Wealthy

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