As a small business owner for 17 years now, I have to admit this is a broad question that deserves a ton of thought and explanation. So let’s get started!
Every small business owner should know that:
Two things will sink your boat when it comes to compliance. They are Compliance or Non-compliance to government rules and regulations. You have to pay your taxes, and you have to have the correct permits.
Using the excuse that you didn’t know about the rules doesn’t fly. As a business owner, you must know about the laws and regulations or hire someone competent to tell you. There are a hundred reasons why this isn’t a priority, but it needs to be #1.
If consumed with your business 24/7, it will ruin your life. Most people start a business thinking about the freedom it provides. Why do it if you can not be disciplined enough to turn it off sometimes? Speaking from my own experience, I forgot that business was a part of my life and not all of it. It doesn’t define you. It is a part of who you are, but it’s not all of it.
Be a good parent and show up to games. Be a good partner and schedule a date night. Be a good daughter and call your parents. Intentionally feed those relationships because when you need support, they are all going to be there for you.
Don’t wake up years into the business and realize you missed out on a ton of joy because you believed the life of a business owner was all work and no play. What do you want your life to be? Now make it so.
In the beginning, every new client was an exciting new adventure, and my ego got a massive boost. They wanted Me. As the business grew, I realized that some clients were straightforward to work for, we had clear expectations, and we both understood what it took to make the relationship work. Then some clients never sent me information on time or were not very nice and were not ideal to how I wanted to work. I started paying attention to the cues to what a great client would be.
When you focus on doing great work for the ideal client, the financial side of the business will work properly. Usually, they start to have you do more work for them, and you have a better relationship. Work is smooth. Don’t underestimate how much a nonideal client can cut into your joy and profits.
I hate this part of business worse than anything. I hate rejecting as much as rejection. As a small business owner, you have to do what is right for you as much as your employees, vendors, and clients also do.
Everything about business is about working with the right people and situations. I’ve learned not to waste much time on the “rejected” part, except that it was just not the right fit.
Now and then, someone or something will hurt a little more than the standard rejection, and I have to pause and see why. What can I learn from this? How am I responsible for this situation? Then learn from it.
Don’t waste too much time on the No. It will eat you alive. Focus on the Yes’ and run as fast as you can to those.
Early into my career, a business coach told me that I could not run a business working less than 12-14 hour days to be successful. The hustle and grind mentality is, in my opinion, outdated. The previous generations promoted these ideas that excruciating hard work was worth everything. They believed that success equals time.
In my profession and for many, many others, this is just not true anymore. Even more, science doesn’t back up the logic. You can get a ton of work done with focused quality time versus the quantity of unfocused, tired work time.
Technology has also changed the dynamics of this paradigm, in my opinion, for the better.
But let us not kid ourselves, we still need lots of items done, and someone has to do it. Doing all the things themselves is where I see the most significant disconnect for business owners. They try to do it all.
Trying to do it all is why business owners burn out.
You need to go the distance. Business ownership is not a short race, it’s a marathon, and you can not give all your energy equally to all things. Focus on what you do best and outsource or delegate the rest.
I, seriously, could continue with more lessons on what you should know. These are not all financial-related directly but will make a big difference in your bottom line.
In the end, it’s a team effort. We all want to see each other thrive and be successful. If nothing else, it is about the people. Remember that, and all will work out in the end.