When starting a new business, you’ve surely done your research and might think you know what to expect. But undoubtedly, unexpected things will come up, and new small business owners need to be prepared for them.
I’ve compiled a list of 11 things new small business owners need to be on the lookout for during their first month in business.
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New small business owners guide
Wondering what to expect? Here are 11 things to be on the lookout for.
1. You’ll spend a lot of time on administrative tasks
If you thought you’d spend your time doing your passion, dream on. Running a business means… wait for it… running a business.
If numbers and paperwork don’t excite you, perhaps you shouldn’t be running a business.
For example, let’s say you consider yourself a great chef and want to run your own restaurant. (By the way, this is a horrible idea. If you’re a great chef, you should work as a chef. Only if you’re a great business person can you open your own restaurant.)
You might think you’re going to spend most of your time in the kitchen, either cooking or managing your cooks.
Instead, you will find that most of your time is spent doing administrative tasks. You will be elbow deep in paperwork, from payroll to bills, to ensure legal requirements are met.
2. You will spend a lot of money on marketing
In business, marketing isn’t optional.
To make your new startup a success, you need to dive headfirst into marketing.
Nobody will ever get ahead if people don’t know who you are and what you have to offer.
Yes, this will take some money. Yes, you will lose a lot of money. This is especially true at the beginning as you test out new strategies.
If you are shy, don’t start a business. If you’re afraid of putting your face and name out there, don’t start a business. And finally, if you’re not prepared to spend a lot of money, don’t start a business.
3. You will need to learn… a lot
Be prepared to become an expert on topics you never dreamed of.
When you start a business, you will need to know about more than just your product/service.
As a new small business owner, you will be expected to learn how to create your own website. After that, you will learn about search engine optimization to maximize your Google traffic. You will learn about social media promotion to get your brand out there.
You will become a networking expert. You’ll soon realize the importance of working with other businesses on partnerships and cross-promotions.
New business owners will become experts on cost-cutting techniques, whether outsourcing or finding ways to make your product cheaper.
4. You won’t have a steady paycheck
Say goodbye to the steady comfort of receiving a paycheck every two weeks. When you’re your own boss, that security goes right out the window.
You will now be responsible for all the costs that come from running a business. That can be stressful on both your mind and your wallet.
The advantage is, of course, that your income earning potential is now limitless. But that means you could earn thousands, or you might not earn much at all.
5. You won’t actually be the boss
You might think that you’re in charge of your new business and calling all the shots. But soon after your start-up gets up and running, you will realize nothing could be further from the truth.
It is your customers who will call the shots. Their feedback determines what products and/or services you offer.
The sales data will determine your price points and sales, not you.
The traffic data from your blog will determine what topics best resonate with your audience and thus what you should be writing about.
6. There will be personal challenges
During the first month of your start-up, you will face many personal challenges that will put you to the test.
Your friends may doubt you. Even your family may have their doubts as well. You may even begin doubting yourself.
When people are faced with something new, oftentimes, they turn away from it. Fear of change can keep people from pursuing their dreams. Don’t let these thoughts creep into your mind and keep you from achieving the success you deserve.
7. You will work 60 hours per week
Your 40 hour work week will be a memory of the past. Working at a startup requires a 60-hour workweek.
The extra hours will be taxing on both your physical and mental health.
Your relationships will suffer, your health will suffer, but that is the price to pay for building a successful business.
8. Customer service is really important
I’m sure new business owners know that customer service is important. But many underestimate just how important it is.
Your customers will define you and your brand. Regardless of how much you spend to put your company in a certain light, it will be your customers who will ultimately be the ones responsible for the way your brand comes across.
So startups need to put a special emphasis on cultivating a great relationship with their customers.
Remember, it’s not necessarily your product or service that’ll make a customer remember you. It’s how you made them feel.
9. Do not underestimate startup costs
You must have enough funds in the bank to fund your operations for several months.
You will always end up in situations where you underestimate certain costs or get new ones you didn’t see coming.
You don’t want a minor financial bump to completely derail your new startup. So whether it’s from an investor, from your savings, or from a loan, be sure to have enough cash on hand to survive the bumps new startups will go through.
10. You need to stay grounded
Owning your own business can really put you on an emotional roller coaster.
Successful business owners are level-headed and don’t act impulsively.
Successful business owners don’t get too low or don’t get too high.
11. Don’t spend on things you don’t need
New small business owners oftentimes end up spending their seed money too quickly. Perhaps they just got a big loan or are finally cashing in on their savings to fund their business.
It can be enticing to spend all your money quickly. After all, you want the best for your business, and if it comes at an added expense, why not? Your business deserves it.
However, you don’t want your money to run out before the profits start coming in.
You need to identify your needs and your wants. Business cards might be necessary, but totes and hats with your logo are not.