I missed work all of last week. I caught a cold and it turned into bronchitis. It was not fun.
It’s been rare that I’ve been on the couch for such an extended period of time. Only twice before that I can think of.
While it’s no fun to be under the weather, it did give me time to think and reflect. Forced albeit. But maybe that was a good thing.
I was thinking about how long I have been in small business (since 2002). And what I would tell a woman starting a small business today.
I came up with this short list. Three things. When women ask me what three advice I can offer … this is whatI tell them.
First – Be Brave
The first thing I tell them is: “Be Brave”
Running a small business is not for the faint of heart. So get your courage all pumped up (which I know you can do).
I find that I am super committed to the success of my projects and my clients. So much so that I’ve always put in a lot of effort. Perhaps more than I should.
One side of this caring-a-lot-about-a-project coin is that when it doesn’t go as expected I am a little hurt. I like to do things well, and I like to take care of clients. When it doesn’t go right I take it personally, because I am that committed.
Something very interesting is that I’ve found this experience is pretty common for many women in business. It’s been the case for most my clients and colleagues.
It definitely takes some guts and bravery to keep at it because it is inevitable that when you’re running a business some things won’t turn out as you had hoped.
You can’t let it get you down.
Stay focused on your wins. And learn from your experiences.
Second – Seek Out Skilled and Experienced Advisors
The second thing I say is: “Seek out skilled and experienced advisors”
And be sure to listen to them, even when they tell you thinks you don’t want to hear. Which they will.
Yeah, I was weak here and there on this point in my early years. Don’t be like that. Listen to me instead.
In particular you will need three core professionals to help your business:
- a great accountant
- a really good lawyer
- and a solid insurance broker
An accountant to keep you on your toes with your finances. If you don’t have clean finances you won’t know how you’re doing and you can end up with serious money troubles.
A lawyer to protect you. Set up your company in the way that makes the most sense, legally claim your business name, write those boring legal documents that go on your website. More than anything, if you’ve developed something new, try not to jump the gun until an intellectual property attorney has helped you with your trademark and maybe even patent protection. Because there are lots of people who can and will just steal your idea and run with it. Don’t let that happen to your gorgeous, amazing, idea that only you could come up with.
And insurance. Yes, I know it’s boring. But when you need it, and you don’t have it. Well, it will be distressing which is, I promise, far worse than boring.
Be prepared to spend money for these services. Don’t have the money? Hold on then. Work on your budget and put these items in it. Call around and get quotes, interview a few options for each service. Find the money and then get these key people on board, looking after you and your beautiful business.
Third – Don’t Give Up!
The third and final thing I want women to know is: “Dig your heals in and don’t give up”
Because you might have some tough times.
But if you really believe in what you are doing you can get there.
The people I know who have “gotten there” are the ones who haven’t given up.
They are not always the smartest, with the most money, or the most knowledge, or the most experience.
They are however hard workers who just refuse to quit.
They embrace every experience and learn from it.
For them there are no barriers – there are just “hurdles” as one of my clients calls them. And hurdles are meant to be jumped over!
I’ve been in business since 2002. Seventeen years as of the writing of this article.
I’ve watched a lot of people start and quit their businesses during that time.
I’ve learned SO MUCH.
I’ve had my fair share of disappointment.
I’m still here, putting in the time every day, making a difference in the lives of my clients.
I’m even working on fresh, new ideas.
And my hat is off to you, reader, whether you are already in small business or just thinking of getting into it.
Which I suspect is the reason you’re reading this article of mine.
From me to you – hold onto that business idea you’ve got and keep pressing ahead.