(I’d like to feature posts and articles by fellow entrepreneurs who have taught me a thing or two about starting my own business. This post was kindly shared by Laura Buckingham, an expert in Artisan bread in Tennessee and a fellow US Marine. Here’s the link to her blog).
By Laura Buckingham
July 8, 2015
Far too often I am asked “What advice do you have when opening a business” so here are my top 10 bits of advice.
- Sleep deprivation is normal. You will literally go day after day running on fumes, falling asleep sitting up just to wake up and do it all over again. You should avoid sitting down because that will likely make or break your day. Eat light because that will only encourage fatigue. BE AWARE that you may have poor judgments and consider that in your decision making.
- Business is personal. The term “it’s just business” was created by heartless rich kids. Don’t be like them. A successful business is made from the heart, never forget where you came from and the importance of every person around you. Don’t get me wrong, it all comes down to numbers but ‘doing business’ should benefit your community and the employees that are helping you build your dream as well.
- Fall outs happen. My first fall out (and currently my only) was devastating. Soon you realize people like this have had fall outs with majority of their previous employment endeavors (as well as their personal life). Don’t consume your energy into people like this. You can’t build a business if you’re busy putting out fires all around you. Maintain your grace and remember why you started. Don’t engage in games with people like this, as a dear friend once said “Let them play Solitaire, they’ll eventually get board”.
- Write a Mission Statement. Don’t wait till your doors have been open for a year. Write exactly why you opened your business, what your goals are for your community and how it will give back to the community that helped you start your American Dream. There may be times you’ve swayed from your inner self and this will help bring you back. Make it about a page in length, straight to the point.
- Don’t be greedy. Always give back. The community that you support is also the community that supports you. You’ll run out of money but giving has a way of coming back, so just have faith and patience.
- Stay Creative. It’s your creativity in whatever field you occupy that has led you to the point of opening a new business. Set time aside to escape the trenches of grunt work and connect with customers, create a new item or marketing plan. Eventually you’ll train employees to do the grunt work, but you must make time to grow your business, even if it’s just an hour in the evening. It’s fun and that’s why you started your own business.
- You work for you, not your employees. Don’t lose control of your business. Often someone will come along, especially if your a young, first time business owner and take over your business before your know it, and you probably won’t even see it till they are hammering the nails in. Remember, you started this business, it’s your dream, your financial investment and you are the only one that drives the boat. Don’t belittle your employees but don’t let them run your life.
- Make time everyday for you sanity. You won’t think you have time but you must continue your stress relievers. It may be working out, reading or Church. A thirty minute self investment will pay off many folds. It’ll clear your mind and increase productivity so don’t worry, you’ll get that time back.
- Avoid Unhealthy Relationships. You wouldn’t want to hit the trenches with life sucking friends or mentally abusive relationships, right? Don’t open a business with these kinds of people in your life. You will experience sleep deprivation, fear and many roller-coaster, which makes you vulnerable in relationships with unhealthy people and you won’t even see what they are doing to you.
- Sounds so easy, but have fun. If you’ve ever started a business from nothing you’ll probably wanna smack me for this one. I would had a year ago. Make time to have fun with the business or it’ll kill your spirit. It was your spirit that gave you the courage to open a business to begin with. Entertain it.