I have learned so much as a small business owner for the last twenty years of my life and compiled my own business tips for new entrepreneurs. Along the way, I’ve uncovered many lessons the hard way and others the not-so-hard way. Many small business owners are experts in their respective fields but fall by the wayside when running a business successfully.
Business Tips For New Entrepreneurs
I’ve read numerous articles concerning Quick Business Tips For New Entrepreneurs from places like Entrpreneur.com, Forbes, Oberlo, and Inc.com, and I think I can contribute to the conversation. I rest easy knowing these tips may help someone out there on the internet beyond.
Keep business and personal money separate.
I still struggle with this one because it is easy to pay myself more when we do better. If you do that, that’s great. But try to keep your business and personal finances separate.
Protect your intellectual property.
Pay attention to copyright, trademarks, and patents. Do everything possible to protect yourself from copycats.
Trust your gut.
This one is key for me. If you think you are not 100% confident in your decisions or ideas and feel they are too risky, then listen to your gut. Business is tricky enough as it is, so you should make sure the decisions you make are sound. If you need more time, take it. I firmly believe in the power of decision-making, but careful moves are better than quick missteps, in my opinion. I have made many bad decisions in my life, but many of them are easier to live with and learn from since I was 100% committed at that time.
Communication is a double-edged sword.
I learned this the hard way. As a planner, I like to run ideas by employees, friends, and my spouse. I’ve learned that employees may not be the best people to discuss my thoughts because it can make them nervous. There is such thing as being too transparent. For cash flow issues, talk to your account, and for growth ideas, speak to your business partners or mentors. Try to balance good communication and transparency.
Don’t hire old friends.
I hired an old friend a long time ago, and it was damaging to the business. This person was unbelievably toxic to the workplace, and it consumed so much time and resources to fix the work environment. Despite my better judgment, I overlooked far more issues than I would have with most workers. Hiring this person is one of my greatest regrets as a business owner to this day.
Fire bad employees fast.
That last rule brings me to this one. Reading the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins taught me that you must get rid of bad players. In reality, I have let toxic employees linger, and it is very damaging. No matter what industry you are in, working with great people is key to everything. To keep great people, you must remove toxicity from the workplace.
Always make sure you’ve got the cash.
Holy moly, people. In the beginning, I was so bad at holding onto money. After years of suffering, I’ve learned to keep the cash. If you face cashflow issues or continued losses, fix them quickly. Let people go. Cut your expenses. Do whatever it takes to get your money where it needs to be – fast. Maintaining proper cash and liquidity allows you to make better decisions.
Take care of your star players.
You want to surround yourself with great people. Taking good care of them means letting go of the bad apples. Try to offer bonuses, better pay, time off, and other perks to keep your star employees happy and motivated. Replacing experienced and motivated employees with newcomers is costly in the short and long run.
Learn to say NO.
Being decisive is one thing. Telling people no is tough for some people. You can serve everyone and do everything, but that can become cumbersome and counterproductive. For me, this is one of my greatest strengths. Stay focused on your short and long-term goals and say no to anything that is not within that scope. Your time is precious as an entrepreneur wearing many caps already. I built a company that is excellent with specific services, and I don’t stray from that. Saying no allows me to run an efficient and loved company while also balancing my work/home life.
Listen to your clients.
We ask every single customer for input about their experience. This critical tool allows us to evaluate our processes. Respond quickly to recurring complaints. Make changes that will prevent future issues. Resolve problems your customers face. Feedback should help you shape and tweak your business.
Don’t screw around with the taxman.
I recommend hiring an accountant and letting them handle your taxes. I know many business owners do things on their own, and that’s great. But it seems so risky to me. I feel I did right to maintain an accountant relationship to handle all of my tax filings and paperwork since year one as an entrepreneur. We also work with a payroll company, ADP, to handle all of our payroll duties as a responsible employer and taxpayer.
Always treat people well.
If I look back at my greatest regrets, it all boils down to people I treated unfairly or unreasonably. I have lost irreplaceable vendors, excellent employees, and business partners to poor actions on my part. This topic is worth an article of its own. My most remarkable advice to you is to treat everyone around you well. Be kind, patient, fair, and open. For the most part, I can feel proud of my behavior towards other humans, but there are some instances that I let my ego or short-lived arrogance get the best of me.
Take care of your customers.
This last item is the most important in our list of Business Tips For New Entrepreneurs. In the end, your business cannot succeed if you are not taking good care of customers. They are the lifeline and heart of your business and the reason why you exist. Do everything and anything you can to save and keep your clients.
1. Go above and beyond.
2. Own your mistakes.
3. Listen to complaints.
4. Ship your products fast.
5. Solve their problems.
6. Say Thank You
7. Reward good customers.
8. Be on time.
Be sure also to take care of your difficult clients because they are the loudest. There is such a thing as a terrible customer, and if you need to fire one for your sanity, go right ahead. But remember, all businesses have a small percentage of needy clients. Those are often the most loyal and profitable long term. I see it like this: Go above and beyond for the small percentage of demanding customers to retain the large portion of easy customers.
Online businesses competing against the likes of Amazon, Vista Print, and Target. You may appreciate our article about how to run a successful online business. You can discover a few more tips about being a young entrepreneur at Entrepreneur.com.
Running a business is hard. It is that simple. It can be taxing. It can be rewarding. Try to remain positive through the bad times so you can overcome and make it to the good times.
Business Tips For New Entrepreneurs – Conclusion
Many businesses fail. It can happen to the best of us. Failure can also be avoided through self-reflection, dedication to perfection, and researched decision-making. Good luck with your business venture, and I hope my business advice is helpful to your endeavors.
About the author: Chris Mullen owns and operates the online print company, Printkeg.com.