5 things I learned too late when starting my company
Starting a business is hard and knowing what to do once it gets started is even harder. Here are 5 things I wish I knew before starting my business.
Entrepreneurship begins with a good idea. But when that idea comes to life, there are a lot of complexities. Many successful business people will testify that they wished they did a bit of research before launching their business. These are a few things that I had to learn the hard way.
Be Critical Toward Pithy One-Liners About Business
There is a lot of material about entrepreneurship on the internet. Many of these articles contain the same regurgitated information replete with pithy wisdom. But that pithy wisdom is not always right. A common line is "Hire slow, fire fast," The principle is that you should take your time when hiring new candidates and release them at the first sign of trouble. While it might have some initial appeal, it is a little misguided.
Candidates are looking for employers who respect their time. If you take too long in the hiring process, they are likely to move on to other opportunities. This tactic could also indicate that you might not be the easiest person to work for. Further, firing fast is not always the best principle. It can be expensive to fire people quickly, especially since there will be an inevitable learning curve when you bring someone new onto the team. If you are taking so much time to research a candidate's background, then firing her quickly would be counterintuitive. You already know that she is qualified. A few early mistakes should not overturn that conclusion.
There is a lot of good wisdom on the internet. But you should be skeptical of pithy one-liners. Look for a consensus among business leaders. Read books composed by experts from many different industries like, tech, rental, drop shipping, etc.. Remember all blogs are not created equal.
Earn The Respect of Your Team
As a young entrepreneur, you have probably hired a few people that are older and more experienced than you. They might be a little indignant that you are in charge. This can lead some new entrepreneurs to domineer over their employees. But that approach is likely to send them to work for a competitor.
You should try to get to know your employees on an individual basis. Assess their strengths and take an interest in their career. Employees will appreciate knowing that they have a future at your company. If you own a gym, tell one of your best employees that you could see her in a management position in a few years.
Beyond that, there needs to a line of communication. If there is something that the company could improve, the employees need to feel comfortable enough to bring it to you. Let them know that you want their insight. Employees have a different perspective than you, and they might see a deficiency that you have overlooked.
Minimize Your Expenses
It can be tempting to get tedious work out of the way. But working too quickly could multiply your expenses. If there are several company vehicles, research cheap auto insurance. A cheaper insurance plan could reduce your bills by thousands of dollars every month. Take a look at your expenses and see what you could alter or do without.
Have An Attorney On Retainer
There are other companies who are trying to compete with you. They know that an emerging entrepreneur will collapse under just a little weight. A lawsuit could be detrimental for your reputation and finances even if you win in court. A good way to avoid that is to have an attorney on retainer who can explain the relevant regulations.
Know When To Take A Break
Rest and diligence needs to be balanced. If you rest too much, you are just being lazy. In contrast, you will overwork yourself if you are too diligent. An exhausted entrepreneur will find it more difficult to relate with people and manage her business. You need be fresh and focused.
Research is critical. That does not mean merely reading a few pithy blog posts. Find good books and podcasts, and apply the principles that you learn. Entrepreneurs often realize these things when it is too late.