By Leonardo Pozzobon
f you ask entrepreneurs why they started their businesses, motives spread all over the place, from following passion and wanting to turn a hobby into a business; being personally unable to hold an office job and needing to be its own boss; all the way to just “I saw an opportunity”, “I saw a market”, “I saw room for improvement”. After this, conversations often go into the “I wish I knew” topic, and that’s where pain starts talking by itself. You will hear stories about sleepless nights trying to solve operational problems and lost business opportunities due to lack of experience or not knowing where to find an answer. Thus, it always helps to have resources to learn from and reach out to in times of trouble.
The learning chance that helps one become a better business owner often comes as a result of a previously failed business. When the business owner is busy putting out fires day and night, it is only after failure that one will take the time to do a postmortem and understand what went wrong. Thus, it is important to stay on your feet, listen to your business, and make timely changes if/when needed.
A quick google search will get you to hundreds of “10 things I wish I knew before starting a business”, “7 things to know before opening your business”, “5 things I learned from running a business” and similar results. Of course this experience will be very different for people running different businesses and with different lifestyles, but here is a list of selected quotes I found quite relevant for most entrepreneurs:
- Running the business takes 24/7
The biggest difference between a 9-to-5 job and being a business owner is the total lack of a fixed schedule. There is always the possibility for your client to have an issue with your product at an inconvenient time, or a supplier to have trouble in the middle of the night. Consider these possibilities, have contingency plans to address your customer’s needs, and organize responsibilities among your employees to ensure resiliency.
- Optimize, outsource and automate everything you can
We at EGBI take our time to explain “The Four Roles An Entrepreneur Must Take” (Product Manager, Organizer and Manager, Marketer and Salesperson, Financier), and we emphasize that the entrepreneur must focus on the roles he is best at. Start by wearing many hats, but as soon as you have some traction, consider the best use of your scarce time will rely on dedicating your full attention to what you’re best at and outsourcing or hiring for other activities.
- A part-time gig gives peace of mind
Once you give up a regular full time job in place of a business, you will be subject to the whims of seasonality and economic ups and downs. You can plan for these risks either by building a strong savings lung, or having a part-time gig to supplement the varying income from the business. This resiliency will give you peace of mind.
- At the beginning everyone is excited and ready to help. When help is needed, it’s hard to come by.
People want you to succeed, and as soon as you start will get excited for your success. However, not everyone is willing or available to help you when you’re in such need for help. What should you do? Find access to reliable resources to help you through the hard times, find mentors, find a business coach.
With all this in mind, you should now know that you will face unexpected challenges, and learn from every opportunity you have. These common challenges I mentioned are not the end of the world, and do not mean that running a business is impossible. Challenges and obstacles are there for you to improve yourself and your business, and once you get to such a point in your entrepreneurial adventure, you will be more than welcome at EGBI for training, coaching and support.