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Businesses that don’t succeed can’t tell us what went wrong. Their phone is disconnected and there’s no one to get in touch with. What we know is what businesses that succeed have in common. That is why you’re starting this business, after all … to succeed.
Don’t Try to Get Rich Quick
Many new business owners underestimate the time it will take to make a profit. Some spend most of their capital on renting commercial space, hiring employees, and buying office furniture. Realize that it will take some time for your business to get in the black. Think long-term investment rather than instant gratification.
Don’t Put Your Personal Life on Hold
Nor should you underestimate the amount of time you will spend with your new business. The bottom line is finding a balance. All the success in the world won’t mean much if you’re too ill to enjoy it. Take time to exercise, eat right, get enough sleep and enjoy an active lifestyle. Don’t neglect friends and family, either. You’ll need their support as you continue to grow your business.
Don’t Forget Your Purpose
Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed or drown in the numbers and small picture details. Make sure you remember the enthusiasm and excitement you first had when deciding to carve your own path. Remember what you’re offering, to whom, and why. Create a mission statement and hang it where you’ll see it every day – not a company mission statement, but a personal one that reminds you why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Don’t Overlook Marketing
Many new businesses go straight from producing their widget to selling their widget. Selling is not marketing. Selling is closing a deal today. Marketing is creating the value and demand to close a deal today, tomorrow and the next day. Overlooking marketing is a short-sighted and costly mistake. Instead, involve sales and marketing in a common goal – more customers than you know what to do with.
Don’t Forget to Cover Your Assets
You’re not just you anymore. You are also your business. You need to make sure that both personal and business property are protected. Are you paying the proper payroll taxes? Do you have the licenses and permits you need? Do you have an accountant to manage your finances? Do you have all the necessary insurances, including workers’ compensation insurance? One accident on your property, one slip and fall because there was ice, can negate all that you’ve accomplished. Make sure you do everything in your power to protect that which you’ve earned.
Don’t Take on Too Much
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your company be. If you have 28 different ideas, don’t rush them all to market at once. Start with one and adjust as you go, integrating feedback into the next product’s launch. Don’t rent commercial space until you truly need it. Hundreds of successful companies, including Amazon, Apple, Google, Disney, and Mattel, started in a garage. These companies didn’t start out grossing hundreds of millions of dollars. They began with what they had and up-sized when they had to.