10 things that every new business owner needs to know
Being an entrepreneur can be daunting.
Even if you have confidence in yourself and your products or services, it’s difficult to stay on top of it all when you’re first starting out.
But here’s the thing: every business starts somewhere. All around you are companies built by people who were once in the very position you’re in now.
That’s good news for you because it means that you can learn from their successes and failures.
With that in mind, we have selected 10 things we believe every new business owner needs to know to keep their business going from strength to strength while feeling happy and fulfilled.
1. Love what you do
Are you passionate about what you’re selling?
Being passionate about your product or service is vital because it’s instrumental in helping potential customers believe in your idea. And when customers believe in what you’re selling, it translates into sales.
Even the most vivacious entrepreneurs can quickly find themselves the victim of industry fatigue. Selling the same thing year after year can lose its appeal if you don’t make the time to find ways to keep the fire alive.
The best way to stay passionate is to stay in the loop with the latest updates in your industry. Seek out like-minded people to connect with at events and challenge yourself to speak at conferences. Doing so will help you keep your passions alive, and it will also help you stay at the forefront of your industry, meaning you can come up with ideas that no one has even thought of yet.
2. Get to know your customers
Imagine that you’re trying to market some software towards small business owners.
You’re getting lots of traffic from your target audience, but no one seems to buy your product, and you can’t understand why.
You conduct a survey, maybe even calling a few prospects directly, to find out what’s happening. They tell you that even though they love the idea of the product, the price is too high to justify purchasing it.
Suddenly, you understand how to improve your product quickly; you could drop the price, or even offer a basic version at a reduced rate that customers can upgrade to when they can afford it. By understanding your what your customers want and need, you’ll be able to provide a service that surpasses their expectations and keeps them coming back time and time again.
3. Be prepared to make mistakes
Mistakes are a necessity: they help you learn what to do differently next time around. New business owners are terrified of making them, so they play it safe.
If you’re going to embrace new opportunities, it’s only natural that you’ll make mistakes from time to time. Don’t be too hard on yourself when this happens; instead, learn from it and use the experience to shape your approach in the future.
4. Accept that you’ll need help
Running a business requires a lot of work: that’s a given.
The problem is that entrepreneurs tend to like the idea of the “self-made business person”, someone who can build their empire single-handedly, with no input from anyone else.
But this person doesn’t exist – we all need a network around us who can help bring our business visions to life. Instead of striving for this impossible goal, surround yourself with supportive people that you can turn to in times of need. Think about getting a babysitter to look after the kids while you finish your daily paperwork, using external accountancy services so that you can concentrate on operations, or asking your partner to proofread an important letter for you.
Asking for help isn’t a weakness; in fact, it could be what sets you apart as a success where others have failed. People that can ask for help often arrive at quality solutions quickly, because they don’t postpone them by trying to come up with them alone.
There’s lots of support out there for new business owners especially so make the most of it; it’ll help you keep your business under control.
5. Give yourself a break
Yes, your commitment to your new business is inspirational.
Yes, you’re a hard worker.
Yes, you’re beginning to make your mark.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be all work and no play. Knowing when to stop working can prevent you from creating all sorts of problems for yourself by giving you the headspace to find solutions to problems in a pressure-free environment.
Take regular breaks. Treat yourself to a nice lunch. Make some time to spend with loved ones. Whatever it is that helps you unwind or find fulfilment outside of work, make it a priority as part of your day to reap the benefits.
6. Starting your day motivated is good for business
How you start your business day can set the tone for how the rest of it will pan out. Having a positive and productive routine is important.
Thankfully, there are a few easy things you can do to start feeling more motivated:
- Wake up your body – Exercising in the morning, even if it’s just ten minutes of stretching, helps warm your body up and deliver oxygen to your brain. Not only will you feel more awake, but you’ll find it easier to concentrate, too. That anticipation of a productive, energised day is a great way to get motivated.
- Write down your goals for the day – Defining what you want to achieve in your day from the outset is a great way to get you in a productive frame of mind. You could even jot down the one thing you want to get done, whether that’s finalising your presentation for the board or deciding who to hire for that new role. Focusing in this way helps stop you from feeling overwhelmed by a broad list of objectives and boosts your motivation from the get-go.
- Visualise the future you want – Sometimes you need to think bigger than the day ahead to attain the kind of motivation you need. Take some time with breakfast or even on a morning walk to think of where you see yourself or your business in a year’s time. What do you need to do to get there? When you focus on where you want to go, it’s much easier to push yourself to do those menial tasks that will make the difference in the long run.
- Take a moment to reflect – Sometimes, starting the day right means you need to have fully processed the one that’s gone. Take a moment towards the end of your day to give praise where it’s due for everything that went well. Consider how you can learn from the things that didn’t go so well. Practising this reflection will help you wake up with a clear mind, with no rogue thoughts distracting you from the day ahead.
You can check out more ways to start your day motivated with our top tips.
7. Never lose sight of your objectives
Every task that you complete for your new business should have specific goals in place. If a task or project doesn’t in some way bring you closer to your objectives, it isn’t worth doing.
Adopting this frame of mind is a fantastic way to boost your productivity. With clearly defined objectives, you can avoid taking on tasks that won’t move your business forward, giving you more free time to strategise.
As your business grows, your objectives will change, so it’s important to set aside time to review them on a regular basis.
8. Work out how you can reduce costs
Running your business both effectively and efficiently is a fine art. However, keeping costs under control from day one is great practice as you grow.
There are a few simple ways for you to keep early costs to a minimum:
- Try office-sharing to reduce the cost of renting space
- Purchase used office equipment instead of new
- Source high-quality labour on a temporary basis through freelancers
- Switch your energy provider to get a better deal
You can find more of our tips on small business cost-saving here.
9. Stay on top of your accounts
If you fail to stay on top of your business accounts, you’ll set yourself up for failure. Not only will you find yourself buried in a mountain of paperwork, but you could also incur penalties for not filing your accounts on time.
The good news is that starting a business gives you the chance to stay on top of it all from the beginning. That way, you won’t constantly be trying to catch up, you’ll feel less stressed, and your business will function better as a result.
It’s always worth considering an accountant. Accountants allow you to shed the weight of dealing with your finances while benefitting from any experience and advice that they have to offer. It depends on where your priorities lie but don’t disregard it as an option to relieve some of the stress from your shoulders.
10. Keep an eye out for funding opportunities
Despite common assumption, the UK government is very supportive of new businesses.
There are currently plenty of options available to assist with growth, marketing, start-ups, consultancy, and much more.
To see whether you might be eligible for government funding, check out their Business Finance and Support Finder. You could find the assistance you need to move your big idea up to the next step.
Hopefully, you feel a little more equipped to take your business to where you dreamed it could get to. Find out how you can help your business grow even further with our business energy comparison tool.