If you own a business or you’re thinking about starting one, then you’ll need a little heads up in the elbow grease department. Yes, owning a business is a 9-to-5 job that sometimes goes way past the 5 o’clock hour, but it’s also one of the most rewarding endeavors you’ll ever take on. Here are five life lessons you’ll likely learn while owning and running your own business.
It’s All in the Business Plan
One of the first lessons you’ll learn from owning your own business is that a poor business plan will set you up for disaster. To avoid this, it’s important to know the difference between a business idea and a business plan. A business idea gives you a direction; a business plan sees that you follow that direction and turn it into profit.
Once you’ve drawn the line between an idea and a plan, there are some basics you need to keep in mind when it comes to writing a business plan that’s right for you. For starters, keep your expectations in check so your plan is achievable. Also, spend plenty of time on your company description and make sure it’s in line with the goals you set in your executive summary.
Relationships are the Foundation of Every Business
Any veteran of the business world will tell you that without solid relationships on both a professional and a customer level, your business will struggle. With that said, there are many ways to form essential business relationships while keeping the relationships you already have going.
As for relationships within your industry, it’s wise to network with others in your field by being a helpful resource. By lending a helping hand to “the competition,” you’ll always be in good standing with your industry. Likewise, say to yourself “the customer is always right” at least once a day. Why? Because they are and when your customers are happy, relationships will form and your business will thrive.
Finances Come First
If the money isn’t there, neither is your business, which is why balancing your finances is an essential life lesson to learn. Whether you hire an accountant or run the numbers yourself, getting your business’s finances in order doesn’t mean you have to get a finance career (though it can be helpful), but it does mean you’ll have to devote a large portion of your time making sure your business is in the black.
A good place to start is by tracking down information on financial resources that can help you run and budget your business. If you don’t have the startup capital and first year’s running costs in the bank, the U.S. Small Business Association has plenty of information on loans and grants. There’s also a ton of financial planning advice on the web, from ways to keep your overhead costs down to information on the taxes involved with owning a business.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Calling yourself a business owner is a privilege that comes with a ton of responsibility and hard work. But, just because you’re captain of the ship doesn’t mean you can’t call on some extra help at the helm. That’s right, when you’re running your own business, there’s absolutely no shame in asking for assistance.
As far as life lessons go, asking friends and family to pitch in when times are rough is one of the most important entrepreneurial words of advice to remember. Besides, your loved ones want to see you succeed and will do anything within reason to make sure your business keeps going. On that note, hiring help is perfectly fine too as long as you have the finances.
You Must Love Your Business
When you’re working 12-hour days seven days a week just to keep your dream alive, you have to love what you’re doing or else you’ll run out of steam quickly. As you’re putting together your finances, writing your business plan, and balancing your work schedule, just make sure you have a passion for what lies ahead. A business you like will last you until the next opportunity comes along, but a business you love will last a lifetime.
By keeping in mind the life lessons above, you’ll know exactly what to expect when it comes to calling yourself the boss.