10 Tips for First-Time Business Owners

Are you a new business owner? Find out what you’re doing wrong.
10 Tips for First-Time Business Owners
Can you sell all the major values of your company in 60 seconds or less? If not, work on it.

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There are countless books out there about business ownership, and even more blogs and how-to articles littering the Internet. Ironically enough, entrepreneurship isn’t really something that can be picked up from a book, nor something that can be imparted in a series of steps or tutorials. These resources can certainly offer practical insights and perspective, but ultimately, you won’t know what business ownership is truly like unless you just do it. 

However, this doesn’t mean you have to do it completely unprepared, and as you set out on your entrepreneurial journey, there are some tried and true pieces of business wisdom that can keep you on the straight and narrow. 

Here are 10 pieces of advice all first-time business owners should heed: 

1.     There’s more to business ownership than just passion. Do you love to play golf? That’s great — but it doesn’t necessarily mean that opening a golf shop is the best business opportunity for you. As you think about starting a business, don’t fall into the common mistake of believing you have to become your business. A great business opportunity is a great business opportunity, and what matters isn’t that you’re passionate about the service you offer, but that you’re passionate about entrepreneurship.

2.     Focus is critical. Some would-be entrepreneurs are afraid they’ll come across far too few opportunities for growth and success. Not true. More likely than not, you’ll run into several opportunities, and the challenge will be to pick a few short-term goals, then say no to opportunities that don’t help you meet those goals. Juggling too many things at once is the quickest way to lose control of your business.

3.     Prioritize sales. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a strong sales department is something you build only after the rest of the company is in place. Sales are everything. Without sales, you don’t have a business; you just have an idea for one.

4.     Nail the elevator pitch. Can you sell all the major values of your company in 60 seconds or less? If not, work on it. Perfect it. First impressions are everything. Make sure you’re able to make a good one.

5.     You never stop learning. The successful small business owner takes time to read, every single day — even if it’s just reading a couple blogs or newspaper headlines over your morning coffee. Expand your horizons, and keep connected to what’s going on in the world.

6.     You need to be healthy. The importance of your physical health can’t be overstated. Taking the time to get in shape will help you to have more energy, to sleep better at night, to handle stress more effectively, and to get sick less often—all of which is obviously good for business. You can’t run a business if you’re out of commission.

7.     Be frugal. Your wallet is essentially what keeps your company afloat, so act like a startup: Don’t spend a ton of money on things you don’t truly need, like fancy office space.

8.     Know when not to be frugal. With that said, you get what you pay for, and there is a time and place for making the informed decision to spend more money on the things you really need to be first-rate. Don’t scrimp on your lawyer, for example, or on your website design. Get it done right.

9.     Don’t rely on investments or donations. You’re not always going to have people — or banks — to loan you money, and you may lose the interest of investors, so make sure you have a suitable business model that can thrive without them.

10.  Learn as you go. And certainly: You’ll learn pretty fast when you’re using your own money. 

About the Author
Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, Calif., and Dublin, Ireland.

Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often engages in content and social media marketing, drafts resumes, press releases, Web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.


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