Ok let’s be honest. We all went into business filled with passion and expecting the road ahead to (mostly) be unicorns and rainbows. We threw ourselves into it 1000%. But then the realisation came faster than you can say ‘cash flow’. Damn. This be hard.
But don’t worry. The great thing about hard things, is it generally means you are headed somewhere worthwhile. Not the tropics with a cocktail kind of worthwhile, but the kind of worthwhile that takes grit and determination. The kind where you grow, transform and generally uplevel.
“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” – William Durant
So, we thought it would be fitting to share with you some of the lessons we have learned along the way. Because one of the awesome things about business is that you can take learnings from those that have walked before you and take some shortcuts.
LESSONS WE HAVE LEARNT THE HARD WAY ALONG THE WAY
- Embrace the MVP. When launching your business think minimum viable product. How fast, and how simply can you get your idea to market? Then you can start getting feedback from the people that actually matter – your customers. Learn. Iterate. Repeat.
- Play hardball. With finance – be kind, but be firm. Do not negotiate on your terms. Do not be sloppy about it either. It’s so easy to start cutting slack on super nice clients because you have a great relationship, but if the relationship is so great they should be fine to pay you anyway.
- Cultivate outside perspectives. Having people that are close to the business, but not in the business can be really powerful. They bring a new perspective, but also don’t have the same level of emotional engagement. Look for more than an accountant, look for a business advisor that can come along for the ride. We’ve been working with our advisor for 10+ years now.
- Assume you will suck. At hiring that is. Unless of course you have HR as a previous super power in which case we envy you. Hiring the right people is seriously HARD. Spend time getting your hiring process right and getting people involved that know what they are doing. The cost of a bad hire is exponential. We’ve tested it extensively for you so you can save yourself the cash, take our advice and do it right from the get go.
- Diversify revenue streams. Having different revenue streams helps to minimise risk, if something were to happen to one part of your business, another part may be the reason you get through. Also consider the types of revenue stream. If you have a consulting business, maybe you want to complement with a digital product you can sell while you sleep.
- Prioritise distribution channels. What does everyone need? Sales, sales, sales. Right from the start consider distribution channels that are right for your business. Essentially avenues where it is one to many. For example for a beauty brand it may be being stocked by Mecca. For an accounting firm it might be forming an alliance with a law firm and cross referring work.
- Days go fast, time moves slowly. We humans are seriously bad at estimating how long things will take. Try and remember that pretty much everything will take longer than you expected. Little things like getting a proposal out the door, and big things like launching a new product, or ramping up sales. Will your plan work if X takes twice the time you thought? Great, plan for that and then bonus if you surprise yourself.
- Have fun. It is so easy to get swept up in the busyness of it all but it is so important to have fun, otherwise what is the point? Think about ways to ensure you keep creativity, curiosity and play alive in your business. Because…. Well, boring is boring.
Jodie + Em xx