It’s been 10 years now, but I still remember the exhilaration of starting my business. It was so exciting, sitting down with a pen and a blank sheet of paper to create and enable the organization, team, services and brand we envisioned.
It was also scary at times. I questioned my intuition and market analysis. I wondered if my drive and vision would have staying power and whether we would be able to gain buy-in from franchise candidates who would become owners to come along beside us!
If you dream of starting your own business, plan on working harder than you ever have in your life. There are long hours and added stress and pressure, but there is also the highest potential gain and reward than you have ever felt or thought possible.
It’s been worth the struggle, though, and I’ve learned a few lessons along the way that new business owners might find useful. There are some common pitfalls facing the unwary. If you keep them in mind, you’ll be ahead of the game.
- The most important lesson for a new business owner is to not expect everything to go perfectly or according to your plan. Be sure to have a Plan B to stay on course as much as possible when encountering new market conditions, opportunities and challenges that you simply cannot foresee 100%.
- Realize you cannot do it all on their own. You have to rely on your employees, the team you’re continually building. It’s not always easy to let go and trust that someone else can do a vital task. An individual business owner is limited by what they can do alone each day, week or month versus a team that can and will be able to achieve much more.
- Don’t forget to set aside sufficient funds “just in case.” In the event of unforeseen circumstances, a shortage of working capital will restrict your ability to grow and take calculated risks and lessens your potential for success.
- Placing less importance on the quality of the people you hire. They will absolutely make an impact, and play a major role in your potential for success. Take the time to find and align with only those people whom you have high confidence in working alongside. This often means taking longer to hire the right people, but do it. Don’t fall into the “hire anyone now” pitfall.
New business owners will be stronger and better prepared if they remain alert for these potential pitfalls. With the right advance planning, sufficient working capital and team-building approach, your potential for success will be far higher than most others. Take the plunge, and you will be elated as the rewards are more than worth the struggle!