The 5 biggest lessons learned from starting a business
One year ago I started Guida Accountancy. Having worked with start-ups and small businesses for 25 years I thought I knew everything about running a business. Wrong!
So, what better time than my 1st anniversary to share my 5 biggest lessons so far:
1. Get help!
My biggest mistake was not getting help on board earlier, I thought I knew it all and could do it all myself. Taking on a business mentor has helped me and my business immensely.
She has given me knowledge of processes for marketing, ideas for strategy and the occasional kick! Having this strong business back-up from someone who has ‘been there and done that’ has proved invaluable.
2. Know your ideal customer
I was willing to take on any work, just to get some money in. This is a bad strategy. Getting to know my ideal client, who they are, where they are, what age group etc. changed my whole approach.
I think this is a common mistake for new businesses, particularly in the service sector. If you try to serve everyone you end up serving no-one. You lose (or never get) the clients you want to deal with because you are trying to do too much.
Knowing the type of work I want to do and the type of person I want to work with means I can now market my business to the right audience.
It is always difficult to turn away work, particularly when every penny counts, but it is the right way to go.
3. Use social media
I confess I have always been a bit anti-social media and never really used it personally. In March 2020 I attended a course on using Linkedin for business, provided through the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce with social media agency 24fingers.
This course was so informative and showed me the power and importance of using social media. I then continued attending their weekly workshops to learn more about using all the different forms of social media.
It’s fair to say that social media has transformed the way we live and work. 1.95 billion of us around the world check our social media accounts within 10 minutes of waking up – so as a small business, if you’re not on one (or more) of these platforms – you’re missing out.
The trick though is to make sure you have a strategy in place before you start so you can maximise your time and effort. Look at where your ideal clients hang out, and do one platform really, really well before moving onto the next one.
4. Learn to say 'No'
I paid for services that gave my business no benefit whatsoever because I didn’t do my research. If I had said no it would have saved me plenty of money. Now I get to know people first, they must fit with my way of working.
Establishing successful, long-term relationships with your business contacts takes a lot of the pressure and anxiety out of dealing with them.
Business is much easier and more enjoyable if you trust the people and businesses that you work with.
I know my numbers but needed to learn a lot more.
Training courses and workshops have taught me so much and I can now do things I never thought I would. I can also decide there are things I still don’t want to do myself, but now I know what is involved, so I don’t get bamboozled by sales talk.
Having gone through the process myself I believe I am now in an even better position to understand and help other businesses.
If you need help with your business the please book a complimentary 30-minute discovery call with me.