By Markita Samuel, for Edwardsturm.com.
The shingle is on the door, the business cards have been made, you changed the bio on your Facebook Page… Congratulations, you are now a new business owner! Welcome to the club! What to do first? Avoid the traps below!
Why Time Is Your Best and Most Valuable Asset
It’s the one commodity we all are given equally and freely – your time. As a new business owner, you may feel you never have enough of it. As a society, we celebrate those who discuss how much time they don’t have. You have good character if you know how to value it… and are judged when you mismanage it.
Time is one of the determining factors between your first year of success as a new business owner, or your first year of failure. Time is one of the few things in the world that you are in complete control of and, if used correctly, can position your business for consistent success. Below are some ways to not waste this precious commodity while you grow your business.
The Important Stuff
1. Know your “why” – So simple, but often overlooked. Knowing clearly why you started this business will keep you from chasing shiny objects and taking on other people’s problems. Once you know your “why” feel free to share. A clear why will attract the right kind of employees, vendors, and customers to grow your business in the right direction.
2. Know your values – Want to kill a month? Try creating something that you don’t even really care about! If you value one-on-one interactions with customers, why are you creating an automatic self-study course? Knowing what you want your company to stand for – what made you get into business in the first place – will help you avoid creating products and services that are inauthentic and are big black holes of time. Instead, focus on how you can align your values to create unique products and services that resonate and will sell!
3. Know your view of success – This is big! Your first year is one of the toughest! However, knowing what you view as success can help you keep focused when the going is tough or great! Creating your own measuring stick can help you not get distracted by the 20 people who liked your post or the lack thereof. Whatever your view of success, own it, write it down, and keep focused.
Focus Not Frills
4. Become a Jedi, not a Generalist – Don’t spend forever trying to learn everything about everything. If you are starting a blog, become a master blogger. If you are starting an apparel company, become a master designer. Of course, in the beginning, you need to know how to juggle multiple titles (CEO, content creator, executive assistant, etc.), but you don’t have to master them. Become sufficient in your finances, sufficient in marketing, sufficient in social media, but become a master in the thing that you are responsible for creating and the rest will fall into place.
5. Chasing learning and not application – Let me start by saying that I’m the biggest fan of learning. Two degrees, weekly audio books, magazines, and podcasts have turned me into a walking encyclopedia, but even I have to know when to call it and get to work. We’re generally only capable of being either in a ‘thinking’ mindset or a ‘doing’ mindset, so so before you purchase your next course or attend that next webinar, make sure you apply what you’ve been learning and have give yourself enough time to make traction.
6. Making the world’s best website – Another black hole that can take ALL of your time is trying to design the world’s best website. Although necessary, a website itself does not make sales for you. Don’t get too caught up on how great it is or if it fits your ideal, rather make sure it’s functionality is what you need while you plan for the future.
Social Media Mastery
7. Choose a platform and crush it! – At the time of this article, there are platforms that are “hot” that may not even exist in a month. That’s the nature of social media. Nevertheless, you don’t have to be on each new platform to create a viable online presence for your business. Figure out where your customers are and consistently and creatively crush it! Share stories, pictures, video, and whatever is relevant for that platform and start to draw them to your brand, page, and list.
8. Build your list not likes – Although we all love social media and spend more time on it than we do on any other space online, or even offline, likes do not always equal sales…but emails do! Remember while creating your overly complicated social media posting schedule to add a layer of list building. Getting your fans to take one step from “like” to “sign up” takes them one step closer to becoming customers.
9. Worrying about your “brand” as opposed to actually creating it – Hey guess what, you just started this thing! Give yourself a break from being a “brand” and just learn how to be an entrepreneur. I’m all down for being intentional, but you cannot be perfect. Making mistakes is how you will learn and grow. Everything you have just decided can all change in a couple of months, and that’s ok. Make a decision, try it out, make some changes, and repeat!
Seek Wise Counsel!
10. Not seeking guidance – You may know your product, you may know how to give quality service, but as a new business owner there are some things you just don’t know. Don’t waste time trying to figure it out on your own! Determine exactly what help you think you need and find a business coach who serves that specific need. The coaching industry, like any other, is filled with all kinds of options. Take the time to research what type of coach you think you want, find someone who you can relate to and trust, and definitely, find someone you can afford (even if you have to stretch a little). Investing in paying someone to help you avoid making costly mistakes will pay for itself immediately. I’m a business coach who focuses on first time women business owners who have a purposeful vision for their life and business or nonprofit, which means I help women who are new to being entrepreneurs. If you’re creating your second business or are a man, I’m not your ideal business coach; and that’s ok! There are sales coaches, product coaches, speaking coaches, real estate coaches, etc. Don’t settle and don’t be desperate. Find someone you can grow with and who can help you not waste time or money!
Thanks for reading! Do you have any questions? Anything you’d like to discuss? Let me know in the comments below.