1. Cash is King!
Many start up founders have heard the saying, “It takes money to make money.” Access to funds and capital certainly helps, but it’s not the aggregate solution to your start up problems.
Because of the ease of technology and the internet of things, the cost of starting a business is coming down all the time. Now, more than ever before, there are cost effective ways test the market with a new product idea. This helps make the validation of your minimum viable product that much easier.
Don’t let your finances own you. You are ultimately responsible for your financial decision, at that requires you to have a basic amount of financial literacy.
Wants versus needs. It’s important to distinguish between what you need for your business, versus what you want. That thing you think you need? You don’t need it. It might be tempting to invest a bunch of money on a marketing campaign, but if you can barely keep the lights on, that may not be the time to bring in an outside marketing firm to promote your business. You may have to stick with bootstrapping it longer than you would want. Stop spending time and money on frivolous distractions; that new shipment of lush business cards won’t determine your future.
2. Know when to pivot
Every small business will hit a time when they realize they must alter their business. This could involve changing your product, demographic focus or marketing strategy. Pivot is not a one dimensional word in terms of starting a business, it’s part of the normal course of business in the start-up world.
Every new business faces an uphill battle when making their first few sales, but once you get the past the honeymoon phase of running your business, you have to convince customers to buy your product or service. This means your company’s value proposition should speak to things people already want, or want to do.
If you get to much push back from the market you have to consider whether your product is what people actually want, or whether your marketing is saying what people actually want to hear. It might be the product or it might be how it’s positioned, but finding solutions to both problems starts with the market in mind.
3. Work-Life Balance
I have come to find that if you want to be your own boss, than you need to give up on the idea of having a nice blend of work-life responsibilities. Don’t get me wrong it’s admirable pursuit, but the realities of running a small business don’t allow for much time for a social life outside of pouring your hear and soul into the business.
In 2018, work life balance is a bit of fallacy. It’s less about a zero-sum game versus investing time in what feeds your soul. Where you invest your time says a lot about what your value. Running a business is no different. You will get out of it, what you put into it. It’s important to track and take account of your time. This will help you understand where you investing your time, talents and resources.
As you can see running a business is not all peaches and crème, it comes with a lot of challenges and distractions. That being said at the end of the day it is worth the headaches if you ware willing to give up some of your flexibility and work life balance.
No Coast Founder- Dr. Ryan Anderson