Running a business, especially small business is not easy, but not that horribly difficult too. I’ve been self-employed since 1999, being a creative entrepreneur with very small to almost no capital. It was mostly trial and error experiment. Trying to network using internet, by email or messenger app. That’s why most of my clients are coming from other countries. It was considered a successful business since I’ve been able to settle all bills and still have spare cash for entertainment.
From this first entrepreneurship experience, good or bad, I’ve had a pretty good dos and don’ts in running small business. But I would like to share the don’ts in this article.
Don’t give up
Running a company is a long road. Don’t be discouraged. Most businesses don’t take off in days. It could take months and years of hard work, spirits and energy in surviving ups and downs. We better off be persistent and enjoy the process, otherwise, we’ll be exhausted, give up and fail.
Don’t forget your goals to start up a business
New entrepreneurs usually very confidence with their “big idea”. It’s normal anyway. But don’t forget to set up and plan your business. What is your vision and what do you want to achieve in future. Planning your goals is one of the key to always stay on track to success.
Set point of achievement for both short and long terms and specify them clearly. Don’t just say “I want to make $1 million in the first year”. Be reasonable and write down how you’re going to achieve it.
Not thinking about sales and marketing
Many startups have one common believe, “If I build it, they will come”. They believe too much on their ideas. They think it is too revolutionary that they simply rely on free viral marketing. Viral marketing does work, but no one knows how long it will take to really goes viral. So, introducing your product quickly is the key to success. Make it fast before others build similar product as yours.
Never think you are a Superman
I always understand if we don’t have enough capitals, we need to work really hard to achieve our goals. But think about it, you only have one brain, two hands and two legs. There’s limitation to do everything yourself. Always consider to share your works with others. Getting one or more partners can be a solution when hiring employees is not possible.
Think carefully about partnership
Having one or more partners are good, especially when we don’t have big cash in hiring professionals to assist in daily operation. But partnership means long term commitment to business. If your partner is not qualified as perfect candidate, you better rethink. There might be problems in the long run. You could have different vision than your partner. So, if you consider to partner with someone, decide carefully.
The best partner is someone possessing different skills but have similar vision with you.
Don’t stop evolving and stay innovative
Your plan, your marketing strategy and technology might be outdated in times. The world is changing very fast each day. Though you are a pioneer, your industry might not be unique anymore. Competition increased with better capital and infrastructure. If you cannot adapt to changes, you will be lost.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
This is pretty common in business. We all make mistakes. We lose once in awhile, but don’t be afraid. As long as you realize you mistakes, never stop learning and have spirit to stand up again, you’ll be fine.
I understand this list might not cover up every don’ts in starting a business. Feel free to share your experiences and tips in the comment box.
Wahidin Wong is a digital marketer. He is also a jazz and bossa lover.