Just started my own business and interested in what some experts say is the best business advice they ever received?
Hi Megan. Congratulations on taking the first steps on your business journey. I wish you every success.
There are countless answers to this question so I hope you read something that resonates with you.
Inherent in your question is also the answer, ie the best advice is to ensure you get the best advice to suit you.
So, work on your business like it depends entirely on you (because it does) and then surround yourself with a great advisers who you can depend on (because you'll need to). I trust you find no contradiction in this.
For what they're worth, my reflections led me to these simple words ...
After leaving school, I worked for the Bank of New South Wales/ now Westpac for 18 years (so, yeah, I go back a bit). One of my early bank managers, David McElwee, encouraged me after I made a cash error with, "Wayne, a man who never made a mistake, never made anything".
One of my last bank managers, Ian Koch, reminded me to, "Never forget that everyone loves to be loved".
Now, interestingly, neither of these is business specific. They were, of course, personal/ career advice. So, why do I recall them so vividly after the passing of not just years but decades, most of which has been spent in and around business?
I suspect it was because they gave me sound context for when I established my then mortgage broking practice in the mid 90's. They, together with many other experiences and learnings, served to remind me that business, as fun and rewarding and challenging as it is, should only be a part of my life - and never be my whole life.
So, from me to you ... Be very clear on your core values, then build your business on and around them - because whatever they are, your business will reflect them anyway.
A high school teacher of mine once suggested that the smartest person is the one who is prepared to ask the stupid questions.
Applying a similar principle in business is sound advice.
Never pretend to know all, always ask if in doubt, and seek advice from those in similar businesses/situations. Learn from experience!!! You may think that people won't want to help you - which is the main reason no one every asks for assistance. However, this website should give you comfort in knowing that there are plenty of people out there who are always happy to offer some advice and to answer what you may think was a 'stupid' question, sound in the knowledge that you were smart enough to ask it in the first place.
I wish you all the best for the future.
It's great that you are taking that leap of faith and setting up your own business as it is no easy task, but the rewards can be great if you do right by your clients and have a good action plan which I have found after only 6 months in business(moved out of the bank aligned employee world)
If you are considering doing your own thing, then there are some simple questions you're going to need to answer for yourself and this is something my business mentor has taught me. Bear in mind the answers may not be simple, but the questions are:
1. What products and services you want to deliver?
Given your background and experience, what is it exactly that you intend exchanging with customers for money?
It may seem working in a multi-million dollar business with hundreds of thousands of customers, that customers are easy to find. But starting out a new enterprise, with no brand, no marketing, no customers can be tough. The first customer might be the hardest thing you'll ever search for.
But if you have skills and experience, and you research the value someone puts on what you have to offer, then you'll be off to a flying start.
Be careful, because we've found nearly 80% of business owners never do enough research before they start their own thing.
2. Who is your target
Particularly important to this question is who in your personal network could be a client/referrer of people in that target audience. It never hurts to have some referred business to kick start your operation.
Beyond the personal network, what’s the plan for building a database of prospects/clients. Once the easy warm leads from friends dry up, what's your plan?
Who is your support network - who helps but may not be a client - so who will supply stuff to you, enable you, support you etc
3. The numbers
What will it take to reach my aspirations/goals in terms of income prospects and targets,
Also bear in mind revenue is not income. As a business owner you could have a lot of costs like setting up the business, book keeping, stationery supplies, manufacturing costs etc.
If you want to earn an income of $50,000 from your business, you might need to turnover 2 or 3 times that depending on your product or service.
4. Sanity Stuff
Coming out of corporate and starting own business the things you run into as barriers are:
Having to do it all yourself at the start - you'll be the chief cook and bottle washer in your start up months. Don't go looking for the person to book your accommodation, or buy the stationery, or ring the client back or answer the phones, or vacuum the office. Because if you look in the mirror you'll see the person doing all that.
No resources - big business have photocopiers, computers, toilets, toilet paper, and lots of other stuff. You'll have not much and everything you have will need to be employed to make you money.
There will be loneliness working out of the home office possibly. And the distractions of washing up, washing your clothes, grabbing another cup of coffee etc etc.
Probably the most important thing you have to answer is what do you want to stand for - what do you love, how do you mix your passions with your work. Starting your own thing means you're in charge and your view on life will not be molded by anyone else's values or what the corporate stood for anymore. You get to decide, which is both scary and awesome in equal measure.
I hope this helps and you can contact me on the below details should you want to have a further chat as there are alot of things to consider before setting up your own business such as Asset protection, capital funding, cash flow analysis etc.
Principal Financial Adviser
RP Wealth Management
351 Oran Park Drive
Oran Park N.S.W 2570
T: (02) 9188 1547
M: 0434 502 079
Hi Megan, good luck with your new business. I agree there are plenty of answers to this, but as a couple of tips:-
- Cash is king.
- Be conscious of the impact of your decisions will have on your cash position.
- If you feel things aren't working about and/or you see issues coming, put your hand up early. You can't communicate enough in these cases.
- Balance sheets are important to banks.
- Keep track of your actual results to budget. If not up to scratch, work out why & is it an issue. If so, who needs to do what by when to fix it & what happens if it's not done.
- Profit is just a number & doesn't say anything about cash, ie. if profit if $100,000 but stock has gone up by $150,000 then your cash is potentially short $50,000 unless it's been funded.
- Keep on top of your debtors & don't let them treat you like a bank.
I could keep going but hopefully these help.