On January 31st, 2012, I set out to start my own small business. My new life after working for someone else has been filled with freedom, success, and riches. Sounds sexy, right? Not quite. It has also been filled with periods of stress, failures, and financial woes. This is the life of an entrepreneur.
I have learned many lessons since starting Futureforth. I want to share three key lessons to help you with your own small business journey. These are obviously not my only tips. I plan to share a few more when I speak at The UPS Store Small Biz Salute event in Nashville, Tenn. this month.
Lesson 1. Networking Works.
I feel so strongly about the importance of networking that I wrote a book about it. In New Business Networking, I include many examples of how networking has paid off in my career. An example of this was when I launched my business. As soon as I hit "publish" on the blog post announcing my consultancy, I was greeted with emails and phone calls from potential clients.
I have experienced great rewards from organizing several events in Nashville since moving here from Toronto in 2007. Networking events are the perfect places to meet new people. The UPS Store Small Biz Salute events are no different. They are a prime opportunity to connect and help others. That's the key thing in networking. Find ways to help others without asking for anything in return. Call it karma if you like, but what goes around really does come around.
Lesson 2. Never Stop Fishing.
Have you ever found yourself alone in a restaurant at lunch hour? It always seems odd to me when what should be the busiest time of the day is dead. Business works in ebbs and flows. One day everything is going swimmingly, the next day there is nothing in the water. Every small business experiences quiet periods from time to time. It is scary when you have little revenue coming in from an otherwise strong business. The key is to never stop fishing. You must always take time out of your week to work on your business. Always strive to find your next customer.
Lesson 3. Time is Finite.
When I first launched my business, I wasted a lot of time. I have since become borderline anal-retentive when it comes to managing my time. I saw my business grow firsthand when I cut back coffee meetings. A one-hour meeting usually took about three because of the travel time to get there and back to my office.
I also found that I needed to unplug from technology to organize my time. I used to use an array of different apps and software to keep me productive. I soon realized that every time I picked up my phone to check my to do list, I was distracted by a notification from social media or my email. I ended up developing a printable Daily Goals List that has some extra bells and whistles to keep me from wasting time. You can download a copy here if you are interested. http://www.davedelaney.me/blog/daily-goals
Networking, business development, and managing your time are crucial to running a successful small business. The quicker you can develop your skills in these three areas, the quicker you will see your business grow. For more information on networking opportunities, learn more about The UPS Store's Small Biz Salute coming to cities across the country.
For more small business tips, check out small business solutions page.