By David Nilssen, CEO & Co-founder, Guidant Financial
Before you make the leap into business ownership, it’s a good idea to ask yourself some tough questions to make sure you’re up to the job:
1) Are you self-motivated?
2) Are you organized?
3) Are you proficient in finance, accounting, sales, marketing and customer service?
4) Are you willing to put your business first?
If your answer to any of these questions is a firm “no” you may want to re-think your plans for entrepreneurship. If not; keep in mind there is more to starting a business than enjoying the excitement and joy of potential success.
As a leader, you must be willing to accept that there are a host of disadvantages that also come with the territory. These include, but are not limited to: risk; responsibility; pressure; fear of failure; frustration; long work hours; fewer job benefits; less time with family and friends; income fluctuation; possible loss of investment.
If you’re still enthusiastic about starting a business after reading that laundry list of negatives, you may just have what it takes to tackle the business world!
As a first step, take note of all of the business skills you’ll need to succeed:
Even if numbers aren’t your thing, you must have the intent to hire professionals to do a good job on your behalf, and the knowledge to interpret their progress. If you don’t understand how to read balance sheets and financial statements, now is the time to take a crash course.
Good managers need the skills to create a plan of action and see it through to execution. Before the plan is created, they should schedule the tasks it will take to get there, such as deadlines for completion, cost estimates and assigning responsibilities among staff.
Entrepreneurs need to be motivators, disciplinarians and role models. At the end of the day, leaders shouldn’t command respect; they should earn it by demonstrating the skills needed to excel in these ways.
Getting the word out about your product or service is vital. You don’t necessarily need to be an expert in writing, design or social media to be able to market effectively, but you do need to have a basic understanding of what makes an effective marketing piece so you can delegate others to create materials on your behalf.
If you’re planning on managing a staff for your new business, you’ll need to become good at identifying the skills and personalities of those who will do the best work for your organization. Once they’re on board, you’ll need to become well-versed about employment regulations and best practices, and establish clear employee policies. Remember: employees can be your greatest asset or your most damaging liability.
No business survives without customers, so it should be top priority to treat them well. Put simply, the old saying “under-promise and over-deliver” should become common practice.