I’m officially three years into my business and I can confidently say that I get it. I didn’t graduate with a degree in finance and quite frankly I had zero idea what I was doing for the longest time. Everything from balance sheets, financial projections, taxes, points. Literally I knew nothing. Looking back now it feels like I graduated with an MBA in finance from all the knowledge I’ve learned the VERY hard way. I wasted a lot of time on “clients” that never monetized. When I say wasted I mean literally spent so much money traveling to different cities, endless hours of work with zero return on investment. Which I counted off as “oh but it’s business” when really you look at your numbers and you realize you just had a very expensive friendship with someone who also runs a company. All this to say there’s a lot they don’t tell you and a lot you need to know if you want to build an empire : a long lasting, profit positive, healthy company that grows until one day you can call yourself the @Starbucks of your industry.
Here’s what I learned and what you need to learn if you plan on opening your own business :
1. Know your financials inside and out
This is SO important guys and gals. The most important part about a business. Unless you are a non for profit, you are here to turn into a profit. So, do it. You can’t know if you’re making a profit if you’re still not sure of what your business entails. What are the ins and outs of your company? What works, what doesn’t work? What is your percentage ratio of sales to profit ? Points ? How long does it take you to close a sale and HOW many different outlets do you have to do it ? ie online, in person, social gatherings etc. This will make or break your business I promise.
2. Don’t take on more business than you can handle just to turn into more profit
Now that you know what you need, slow down. Take it down a notch. We get excited as entrepreneurs, we want to conquer everything as quickly as possible as if there’s a match up our *ss giving us only a five year timeline that if we don’t accomplish we are failing. Businesses take DECADES even centuries to establish themselves. Our Generation Y mentality has made us believe that we are invincible and know everything. You don’t. You know nothing. Sit down. This is CRUCIAL. You will crash and burn. It’s a warning. Instead,
3. Slow and steady wins the race
Take your time! Love your life. I wanted to grow REALLY fast, bitzscale as Ron Howard calls it and take over different area codes and time zones at the same time. I did don’t get me wrong. It came with a price. You cut corners and you don’t give enough LOVE and energy when you are running around doing too much at once. Sit down and focus. Doctors get paid more the longer they study one partner of the body. Become a doctor in your field.
4. Get rid of your ego before it gets rid of you
I’m serious ego is SO dangerous in business. You get on this adrenaline pumping high where you believe you aren’t invincible and know everything because one thing is working... and it will continue to work... but then you think you’re better than you are and that’s when it gets very dangerous.
5. Get feedback, honest feedback from your clients
Only way you can truly learn is to get feedback. The YouTube comment thread we hate but love to scroll, or even your good ol TripAdvisor rates are so important! They dictate our performance, make us realize when we are not doing something right and get to try better next time. Reminds me of a time when we were sitting for dinner and my niece literally told my sister in law what was wrong with the meal. My sister in law is a chef, and is always testing new recipes at home. That was how she did it.
6. Fail, again and again and again
Honestly the more you fail the better.
7. Learn, everything and anything related to your industry and other industries alike
You get good at something and then you assume you’re the best at it and you stop learning. Then OOPS all of a sudden Netflix comes out, you’re Blockbuster and you’re out of business. Start looking outside your industry, what’s happening with the market? Look at trends, future planning, economics, world governments, global warming. Everything is taken into consideration when you own a business. You’re brick and mortar one year then you’re e commerce the next. Can you adapt quickly to change ? If not, can you hire someone who can? You don’t stop going to school as an entrepreneur, your platform just alters to every day life.
If you still want to open a company, then congratulations. You definitely fit the criteria of an entrepreneur so welcome to the club and good luck! But you won’t need it because you’re one of us and always get what you want ;)