What was the one thing you wish you knew before starting a company? Originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
1. Running The Business Is Always the Top Priority
Perhaps the biggest misconception about starting your own business is that you’re only focused on chasing your passion. In other words, you’re not just going to be making handmade jewelry, cooking on your own food truck, or designing websites 24/7. That’s maybe going to consume 15% of your time.
2. It’s About Helping Others, Not Turning a Profit
While you obviously need to turn a profit, that’s not your goal. Your focus should be on helping your customers solve a problem or make their lives better. You could be an extremely knowledgeable consultant, but if you’re just preoccupied with making money, how is that going to benefit your clients in the long-run? It’s not. And, you’re going to deliver mediocre results.
3. The Importance of Cash Flow Management
Make no mistake about it. Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. When you don’t properly manage your cash flow you end up spending more money that you’re bringing in. And, how long can you expect to stay-in-business when you don’t have enough money to pay your necessary expenses?
4. The Odds Are Stacked Against Me, And That’s Alright
You’ve probably heard this time and time again. But, most businesses are going to fail. So, what steps are you going to take to at least decrease those odds?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but you should consider doing something like keeping your current job for as long as you can. This gives you time to build an emergency fund, conduct market research, and start gaining some traction. Even when it’s to make to take that giant leap you need to hire the right team and constantly develop your skills.
5. It’s Lonely
Think about the jobs you’ve held down in the past. Whether if it was flipping burgers in a restaurant or as an accountant at a large accounting firm there was a sense of community since you and your co-workers were all in it together. That’s not the case when you start your own business. It’s just you and you alone. Every decision and responsibility fall on your shoulders. And that’s a heavy, lonesome burden to carry.
6. Activity Doesn’t Equal Growth
What do you consider growth? Is it all of the fancy features that you just added to your product? Is it the swanky new office or 20 new employees? Is it the glowing review you just received in a leading industry publication?
All of that is great. But it doesn’t constitute growth.
Growth means that you’re building a product and adding customers. That’s it.
7. A Part-Time Gig Gives You Peace of Mind
This may sound counterproductive after all, doesn’t this distract from your top priority since it divides your attention? Not when it gives you peace of mind.
8. Optimize, Outsource, And Automate Whatever You Can
Entrepreneurs have the mindset that they have to do everything on their own. Not only is that a one-way ticket to Burnoutville, it’s just bad for business. I mean if you can’t design a logo or loathe accounting why you would put energy in those tasks? Your time would be better spent doing the tasks that you enjoy and are capable of handling.
9. Engage with Your Audience
Your customers don’t want to do business with some faceless, nameless organization. They want to know that there’s an actual person on the other end. Someone who will respond to their inquiries and understand their pain points.
10. Don’t Forget to Have Fun
I know what you’re thinking. Why take a vacation or play hooky on a Friday afternoon so that you go hiking with friends when you have so much work to do?
Because you need to enjoy life. It keeps you sane. Helps you refocus and come up with new ideas to solve problems. Recharges your batteries when you’re drained. And can be used to celebrate your small victories.