What a year. I first ventured into business February last year. I have been in business a little over a year. I have stressed heaps, I have learnt heaps and I have not made a lot of money. Whoa!!! You say, you have not made a lot of money! What are you doing wrong you ask? You must be terrible at business. Ha ha this may be true, I’m certainly no Richard Branson yet but I am determined and I am still learning and going to get there. I am not ready to give up.
“You can only go forward by making mistakes” Alexander McQueen
Here are my top 7 mistakes from my first year in business.
Not having the right Business Model
Now this seems like a no brainer. If you have never been in business before and you are like me I had no idea about business models, what they were and how they operated, how do you know which ones are good. I had heard of them but because I started with a MLM company I didn’t even think about business models. I liked the product so I went in with all gun’s blazing to tell everyone about it. This is not a business model. Being an excited maniac about something good you found doesn’t make the foundations for a successful business. You need to find a good business model that works for you. There are many different business considerations when looking at starting business are you going to be a company, sole traders, MLM, direct sales, partner, franchise etc. What is the business model you are going with run with?
Over the past year I have been running around all over town trying to learn and do business. This is hard work. If you are thinking about going into business, look at the business model that you are going to use so you are clear, focused, can maximise your income and your time. Most of all have a business model to work with. I would highly recommend meeting with Business Station which is a free government funded organisation that can give you advice. Or here is a list of all the organisations that you can help you with your business or getting your business off the ground.
Not having a Business Plan and Business Budget
It doesn’t matter what business you are going to do you need a business plan. Before you sign on the dotted line, before you buy your stock, before you start making those dresses or necklaces. Get yourself a business plan and fill it in. It doesn’t need to be a huge document. You can get a good easy business plan here to fill in. It gives you focus, it allows you to flesh out what your business will be about. I didn’t have any business plan or business budget until I was about 7 months into my business. I had lots of to do list and I been logging my sales but I didn’t have any business plans or budgets. I wish I had started with a business plan before I started anything.
Secondly, you need to have an understanding of your business budget. Many people over spend on their businesses when they first start. I was so excited I ran around Officeworks buying stuff and stationary I didn’t really need, it looked lovely and I got to play with my new “stuff”. This is mild spending compared to some who buy new cars and phones. Ha ha I still have a shocking phone as many of you know. Really look at your budget. How much will it cost you to run your business? Have you got the market for it? Not all business ideas are financially viable. The idea might be great but it might be a lot of paper work for not much profit and is it really worth being in business with that idea. Be realistic. Get your Business Budget Planner here.
Firstly, we all do it and we all know it, we spend to much time on Facebook. Some days you can get on Facebook and it’s the biggest time gobbler for you. We all know this. Have I got any advice on this one…..mmmm no not really you can try and only go on twice a day, at the beginning of the working day and at the end. I don’t do that but it sounds like a good idea.
I think my biggest mistake on Facebook when starting in business was dumping my “advertisements” in Facebook groups then running off and dumping another “ad” in another group. Facebook is people orientated. It’s like running up to people at an event are shoving your flyers in people faces without even getting to know them. If you are in a group and you are dumping in the group and not genuinely interacting with the people in the group, let me give you the heads up they don’t care at all for your advertisements and they won’t buy off you. It’s really a waste of time. If you do post around in groups at the very least put a “Hi (name the group) and something personal with your ad’s. The best advice for Facebook Etiquette comes from one of Perth Etiquette guru’s Sharon Attwood from Brand Etiquette. If you get a change to see Sharon talk or attend any of her workshops she is great and knows her stuff on branding and etiquette.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day” I wish it had been as it would make it so much easier. I want it all and I want it now. When I first started I was starting with no business experience and I had no professional development in it. I had to start slowly as I didn’t have much time with small children. I had to juggle all the balls and I had to learn a lot (and still do). You hear stories of overnight success but true overnight successes are rare. Most overnight success stories might be people on their third business, they might have been working at it for a few years and juggling a full time job until it becomes a viable and successful business. Business takes time and so does all the professional development courses that you need to do.
Running around with my head cut off
The old say of work ‘on’ your business not ‘in’ it is so true. This one is a hard one and I only now feel like getting my head around it. It’s so easy to get caught up making pretty things for your business on Vistaprint. I can spend hours pottering along making flyers and business cards, I can spend hours making my website look good (sometimes you will need to do this if you have no budget like myself), I can spend hours making up special spreadsheets, I can spend hours pretending to work but really checking Facebook or making stunning Canva posts. These are all fun to do but these things don’t make money. Yes these are important and you do need to do these. If you are pumped for time, do these in front of the TV at night. When you have your business time during the day, make those hours worthwhile and use them for follow up, lead generation, servicing your clients and finding more clients. I have spent way to much time on the fun no business generating jobs.
Business does not appear out of nowhere
Just because you have a great product doesn’t mean your customers are going to appear out of thin air. Doing Facebook alone is not going to grow your business. You have to get out there and find your customers. There are many opportunities to network, be a part business groups, work at co-working spaces and get your business out there. (Phew at this point I am just going to pop over and check my Facebook for a break).
Being a Magpie and getting distracted by Shiny things
Back to business after my Facebook check and I also made a pretty picture post for this blog. As I was saying I am a bit of magpie and can get easily distracted by shiny things. I suppose this is related to running around with my heads cut off paragraph but it’s a little different. I have started two business ventures in the last year and now I am gearing up to do a third (this doesn’t count all the other side projects I have going on). Firstly, my Nucerity business which got me into doing businesses I am putting the back burner for now. Secondly, Mumpreneurs WA will continue as a community organisation and a hobby business rather than developing that as a money making business model. Although I will still be taking donations at networking events and you are always welcome to buy me a bottle of wine on the side bar for running it. This makes me feel like I am running after shiny things but I have been told that I am not looking for new shiny things as finding my feet in business and getting on to the right business model for me. Which is lucky because I would hate to feel like I was starting all the way at the beginning again.
Now my big news, low and behold I am starting a new business. I am going to continue with skin care but will move into offering beautiful facials for women and mum’s with my Beautiful Skin Solutions page. Even though I have adjusted and now re-adjusting my business I feel the last year has given me so much and served me with great skills to pick up and give it another crack. If you are looking for a gorgeous 30 minute facial I am your lady with the magic hands. Taking bookings now. Go on treat yourself – 0400 716 532
In conclusion – “She who leaps towards the sky may fall, it’s true. But she may also fly”. I truly believe that I will fly. I am stilling leaping and falling at the moment and quite honestly sometimes the falls are hard and I cry. I always get up, try again, move direction and keep going. Sometimes you need to stop what you are doing and take a different path and that’s ok to change. I feel I am turning a corner and taking a different path I hope this is the right one, if it’s not I will turn again until I find it.
What are your big mistakes when you started off in business? I would love to know.
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