More and more people will work for themselves in the future and I consider this to be a very good thing.
Very few people get rich working for other people, you see, and building your own company or business is a great way to set yourself up in life.
It’s hard to get ahead when you earn a weekly wage because you’re being paid for your contribution to the company, rather than the net returns that the company is bringing in.
So, it’s no surprise so many people start their own businesses in a bid to achieve financial freedom and steer their own destiny.
But starting a business can be a risky venture.
Those early years can really make or break a business, so here are a few steps to put in place to ensure yours will go the distance:
1. Reach out to networks
So much success in business is dependent on reputation and the networks you’ve built around you.
Use these networks like never before.
You’re out on your own now so marketing falls squarely on your shoulders and that means plenty of self-marketing.
So many opportunities in life come from people we’ve worked with in the past, so reach out to those around you and share with them what you’re doing.
You never know where these things lead.
2. Get your ducks in a row
When you first start a business, it’s tempting to focus on the big picture stuff.
Where you will be in five years’ time? What your office will look like? Who will you working with?
This is understandable, but I’ve seen a fair few businesses fail because they’ve tried to climb too quickly without the proper foundation to hold them in place.
So make sure your ducks are in a row.
This means hiring a great accountant; setting up the right software and technology to keep your business moving; and putting systems in place for payments, work flow, client or customer liaison, and so on.
Make sure you’re complying with legislation, too, including workplace laws.
Also, research the insurance you’ll need and make sure you’re adequately covered.
This may sound obvious, but without this attention to detail in the early stages, you’ll really feel the lack of organisation later on.
It’s impossible to become a big business without first becoming a successful small one.
3. Hire the right people
Once it’s time to scale up, make sure you find the right fit for your company.
This is no easy task.
It amazes me that so many companies don’t put the effort into finding the right people.
Before you advertise online, think of your own networks.
Is there someone who really stands out? A hard worker, perhaps, with a great reputation? Then find a job for them.
Don’t worry too much about what that job will be either because you invest in staff not job roles.
Passionate and innovative workers can apply their skills to a range of tasks, and will be easy to train.
But it’s much harder to find that innovation and passion in a worker who simply doesn’t have it.
4. Keep changing
It’s my theory that in every successful business is a lot of unsuccessful businesses that died along the way.
This is something you should embrace.
Your original idea for the business may change considerably by the five-year mark.
This is a sign that you’ve adapted to what the market was telling you along the way, and dumped ideas that were no longer working.
That is to be applauded. In fact, it’s these “little failures” or missteps that every business should aspire to.
Why? Because they show you the path that you need to go down by eliminating the ones that aren’t right for you.
See them as a gift.
5. Don’t forget the customers
Finally, don’t forget what your business is all about.
There will be times that are so busy and so intense that you forget the real purpose of your company and who the customer is.
Do this for long enough and it will show in your bottom line.
You know why? Because customers notice the little things.
They notice how they’re spoken to and the extra attention they’re paid.
Service is a big deal, and if you don’t offer your customers or clients outstanding service — no matter how good your product or advice is — then they’ll go elsewhere.
It’s that easy.
In fact, none of the tips are complicated, they’re just easily forgotten in the chaos of a new business.
But trust me, if you manage to get the fundamentals right early on, then you’re giving your business the best possible chance at success.