As a child growing up in the United States, you are taught and encouraged to be anything and do anything that you want – essentially the options are endless. So naturally it makes sense why 543,000 new businesses get started each month in the US. The Small Business Association (SBA) states that 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10. Why do so many small businesses close up shop within a few years? Starting a business is hard work, and there are many unknowns to encounter, even by the most researched owner. From a new entrepreneur, here are some of my lessons learned on starting a new business.
- Don’t underestimate the amount of time and effort that it will take to grow your business. There will be a lot of networking, marketing, and time spent in outreach with very little or no immediate return. A new small business owner can spend hours and hours of time unpaid to build a brand and name for their business. Depending on the type of business, there can be time spent explaining what exactly your business can do for them. It might take months or years to see a return on this time and effort investment, but it will be worth it in the end if you stick with it.
- Keep focus on your mission. Never forget why you are doing what you’re doing. My business purpose is to help other people enjoy the time that they get to spend celebrating their friends and family, rather than worrying about the details of the gathering. This is something that I have to keep in the back of my mind all the time, especially on long days working.
- Remember that it’s the little things that count for your customers. It’s very easy to forget about the small details of interactions with clients, so keep in mind that they notice things that you might not even think of. This can even include your mood that day, whether or not you are stressed out, and even how you feel about their behavior as a client. Clients may also notice details of the work that you do for them, especially since it is their project and they are close to the work being done. Don’t cut corners without talking to the client first about the changes that are needed or it will come back to hurt your business later on.
- Trust and respect takes time. When you’re working with new clients who don’t know you, it’s easy to think that they just know you and trust you because they hired you. Don’t forget to build-up your trust with your clients throughout the process, and always communicate, communicate, communicate.
- Stick to your guns. If you need certain information from your client or expect something from them, make sure that your expectations are communicated and hold them to their end of the bargain. Like any relationship, business-client relationships require interaction and information sharing between parties; even the smallest details matter. If you don’t have all the information that you need to your job, you are going to be the one that ends up looking bad in the end, potentially losing business in the long run.
Thanks to https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonnazar/2013/09/09/16-surprising-statistics-about-small-businesses/#21d8a8695ec8 for providing the total number of businesses that open each month and to https://www.investopedia.com/slide-show/top-6-reasons-new-businesses-fail/ for providing the SBA statistics on percentages of business failing.