Many entrepreneurs think that hard work is the key to success but quickly discover things nobody told them before launching a new business.
Launching a new business is a bit daunting but it can be incredibly rewarding. Yes, you must be willing to take risks and even fail along the way. However, when you have a vision for a solution or product, finding the courage to create your own business can pay off in a big way.
As a small business owner, I’ve encountered a few surprises along the way. For example, managing cash flow can be quite challenging for new businesses. As a freelancer, I also have learned about tax deductions that add up at the end of the fiscal year. During the pandemic, I also learned how to quickly pivot, cut costs, and take advantage of loans and grants such as the EIDL and PPP.
Another thing nobody tells new entrepreneurs is the importance of setting boundaries to avoid burn out. Self-care is not a luxury. You might be inclined to sacrifice sleep and food to reach your goals, but you should never have to choose between your health and your professional goals.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned as a small business owner in case it helps you as you launch your new endeavor:
- Create a business plan. Even if it’s basic, it will help you focus, set goals, and keep you accountable. State clearly what your mission is, what your revenue model is and what your projections are. Set dates to hold yourself accountable. And yes, you need to write it down, whether in a document or spreadsheet.
- Learn to manage cash flow. Payment terms vary and you might need to bridge the gap. Obtaining financing is essential for a new business. The Small Business Administration and the Intuit QuickBooks Resource Center offer a wealth of information to help you navigate through your funding and financing issues.
- Be as organized as you can be with expenses and paperwork. File bills, receipts, and also keep track of invoices and expenses. If you create a system from the beginning, it will be much easier for you to track everything. Also, once you need to pay taxes, you will waste less time getting everything ready to file your tax return. If you can, use apps to track and link expenses because that way you won’t overlook deductions.
- Protect your intellectual property (IP) and invest in legal counsel. This is something we tend to ignore until it is too late. At a very minimum, get contracts, NDA’s for employees and certain clients, plus non competes for employees to protect your company.
- Set a schedule and boundaries. Most entrepreneurs are so passionate about their new business that it’s easy to devote all your energy and resources to it. Resist that urge. Rest, refuel, and take care of your physical and emotional health so you can successfully lead your business. if not, you seriously risk burning out and making poor choices that you will regret down the road.
Have you started a new business already? What were the biggest lessons you learned? Let me know via direct messages on my Instagram!