Did you know that a new business is launched every minute in the United States?
Whether if it's because you want to enjoy the perks of becoming a business owner, like being your own boss and setting your own hours, or you want to chase a dream, there's nothing like the excitement that you feel when you finally start your own business.
While you need to be optimistic and confident going in, being a business owner is lonely and challenging. And, there are also some uneasy truths that you need to come to terms with, like the following six facts.
1. It's scary and nerve racking.
While plenty of entrepreneurs will step forward and openly discuss the challenges and failures that they're experienced, most of the success stories we hear have those storybook readings. Rarely does anyone talk about the time you maxed out your credit card, the times' bill collectors hounded you for a late payment or the moment you nearly experienced a nervous breakdown? And, the worst part? You still have to wake-up the next morning and put on your game face.
Sure. Starting your own business is exciting and liberating. There are times when it's a blast. But in-between you're anxious, scared, and your nerves are completely fried. You're going to lose sleep and question your decision.
Into of getting consumed by these fear and anxiety, use it to your advantage. Use it as a motivation. Channel that energy into something productive, like writing a blog post or speaking at a conference. And, by all means, rely on your support system so that you can just let-it-all when you need to. If you don't have a support system, there's no shame in talking to yourself.
2. Not all advice is good.
Having a support system can be a major assist. At the same time, be careful on the advice that you receive. There are skeptics that will tell you to throw in the proverbial white towel. There will be others, while good-intentioned, will share terrible advice that won't help you improve your business.
Remember, everyone has an opinion. But, not everyone is a business owner. Be wary of the advice that others offer - especially from the naysayers. Instead, turn to mentors who have been there and done that.
3. You're not going to please to "everyone."
I think most of us want to please everyone naturally. Here's the truth. It's impossible - just ask any politician. I mean even like companies like Walmart and Facebook aren't for everyone.
Instead of wasting your time trying to please everyone and target every customer, focus on engaging your audience. These are the people that love all of your products and services and will get out of talk about your business.
Speaking of customers happiness, here's another piece of advice that I learned the hard way; the customer isn't always right.
I'm not advocating that you neglect complaints or feedback. Listen to what they're saying, gather the facts, and weigh your options. Sometimes admitting that you made a mistake is enough to resolve the issue. But there are going to be plenty of times when you're going to deal with customers who just want to complain. And no matter you do, you're never going to please them.
4. You'll be a target for cybercriminals.
Cybercriminals don't just target enterprise-level businesses. In fact, 43% of phishing campaigns targeted small business. That's just not a bad PR nightmare. Cyber attacks could ultimately shut down your business. According to the U.S' National Cyber Security Alliance, 60 percent of small businesses are unable to sustain their businesses over six months following a cyber attack.
Don't assume that you're company is completely safe from cyber attacks. Make online security a priority for your business. Constantly be on your toes. Stay up-to-date on the latest threats and scams, keep all of your technology current, keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, and don't be afraid to exchange information with your fellow business owners.
5. Change is inevitable.
You had a fantastic idea that you love. You love the final product. You love the team that you've built. In short, you're proud of the business that you built. That doesn't mean that's going to be sustainable.
The most successful businesses are those that are agile and flexible enough that they're able to pivot. It's a strategy that's worked for Twitter, Groupon, Nokia, Starbucks, and PayPal. Personally, it works for my company Due. When we launched in 2015, we were only primarily focused on invoicing and time tracking. However, we realized that we needed to change direction slightly by emphasizing more on our digital wallet and global payments.
Don't always expect your business to turn out the exact way you envisioned. Change is inevitable.
6. Skimping now will cost you later.
Let's say that you need some cookware because you just moved into your own place for the first. Even though money is tight, would you rather purchase your cookware from a dollar store or a department store?
I'm not knocking dollar stores. You can find some bargains there. But, there's a reason why they sell products for so cheap. They're not the best quality. That means that you're going to be regularly replacing your cookware. Even though you spent more money upfront, you'll end up saving more from investing in better quality cookware since it will last longer.
The same is true when building your business. I understand that you need to be lean and resourceful, but skimping too much on equipment, hardware, and software will come back and haunt you.
Instead of going cheap, go for value. Today no shortage of tools and platforms will handle everything from invoicing automation to accepting payments.
Final words of advice.
Don't kid yourself. Starting your own business is a challenging journey. It requires dedication, passion, and patience. And, there are going to be times when you question whether or not it was the best decision. But, once you have that small taste of success, there's nothing else like it in the world.
I've experienced my fair share of ups and downs. And, I wouldn't change that for anything in the world. As long as you know that from the beginning, it will be worth the fight.