This is the last post in the series on Five Keys To Starting Your Own Business. So far I’ve covered the first four keys:
Key #1 – Get Over Your Fear
Key #2 – Understand Your Business
Key #3 – Take Time To Plan
Key #4 – Selling & Marketing Your Business
Key #5 – Your Support Network
When you first start out, you will very likely be a team of just one. This is even more reason that this key is so important for you.
It’s tough being a business owner and you will ride the emotional roller-coaster through extreme highs and extreme lows, possibly within the hour! You will need support to get you through the lows and you’ll want to share the highs with people who understand that you’re not just blowing your own trumpet.
What support network do you have in place – family, friends, networking communities, a mentor / coach, mastermind group? Different networks play different roles.
I recently heard Natalie Archer, an Executive Coach, describe five key roles around our five fingers:
Thumb – Coach – asks you the tough questions and gives you encouragement *thumbs up*
Pointer – Competitor – learn from them and do better *watch out, I’m after you*
Middle – Critic – keep you on your toes but sometimes need to tell them where to go *flip the bird*
Ring – Collaborator – someone to share ideas & dreams with *happily married*
Pinkie – Confidant – mentor, someone you trust and can rely on *pinkie promise, pinkie swear*
This is a good starting point. How many of your five fingers can you put a name to? If you’ve got gaps, how do you find people to fill these roles?
You can ask other people who they work with. A recommendation is always good – especially for roles like a Coach, Mentor and Partner.
You can start to follow people on social networks and engage with them. Don’t broadcast. Ask questions and engage. Build a community.
You can subscribe and comment on blogs and build a relationship that way – not only with the blog writer, but also with subscribers who will also see your comments.
I met one of my mentors at a weekly coffee meetup.
You need to invest time and energy and make sure that you vet people carefully. You want the best people on your team. You want a good mix – including people who challenge you and help you to grow.
The other thing to consider early on is what you can outsource or have other people do for you. There are good options available these days using freelancers, virtual assistants and contractors.
Some of the tasks that you might consider outsourcing include:
- Web Design, Search Engine Optimisation / Marketing, Facebook Welcome Page, Twitter Background Design
- Logo Design, Graphic Design
- Copywriting, Editing, Transcription
- Bookkeeping, Filing, Call Centre / Help Desk
Here’s a list of sites I’ve used personally or which people I know and trust recommend:
Transcription Services – Bridie’s Typing Services and The Transcription People
I recently used fiverr.com to create an e-book cover and a banner. It was the best $5 (well $10 actually) I’ve spent – service was fast, process was simple and quality was absolutely fine.
Other great sources are Forums and word of mouth referrals.
In corporate jobs, we are trained in delegation and teamwork and these same skills apply when we are running our own business. The difference is, we often have to delegate tasks to people who are outside of our business so I’d argue these skills are even more important as a business owner than as a corporate manager. You’ll get the most out of your team if you treat them well and with respect.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said “You are the sum of the 5 people you spend most time with” so think about that. Surround yourself with people you want to be like. Who do you aspire to be? Who do you want to learn from? Who motivates you to succeed? Who understands your problems and can help you move ahead?
Common Mistake #5 – Lone Ranger
The final common mistake is Lone Ranger syndrome or trying to do it all yourself. Mind you, even the Lone Range had Tonto to keep him company 😉
Many entrepreneurs are high-achievers, perfectionists and control freaks. Successful entrepreneurs learn to let go, to delegate and to trust others.
A high percentage of all new business start-ups fail within the first 5 years and I’m sure there are many contributing factors; one of them is that we just burn out trying to do it all. It’s ironic because many of us start our own businesses for lifestyle reasons and then end up working longer and harder than we did when we had a J.O.B.!!
Your chances of success will be greatly improved if you get yourself a team – even a virtual one. Don’t just rely on family and friends – often they don’t understand and don’t share your enthusiasm. Tap into a support group that you can rely on for good advice and constructive feedback.
Finally, don’t try to get everything for free and do it yourself. Remember, time is your life. When your time is up, so is your life. Some things are worth paying for.
That brings me to the end of this series on Five Keys to Starting Your Own Business:
- Get Over Your Fears
- Understand Your Business
- Take Time To Plan
- Selling & Marketing
- Your Support Network
You will see that the bold letters form the acronym GUTSY and it takes a gutsy person to leave behind a corporate job to start their own business.
By now, you might be feeling like this is all too hard or there’s so much to do that it’s a bit overwhelming. Well, it’s not that hard if you’ve got clear steps to follow, a logical approach and someone to ask for help when you need it. That’s why I created the 60 Days to Start-up Bootcamp.
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Which of the five keys do you think is the most difficult to get right? Do you have any tips you’d like to share about starting or running your own business? What other topics related to business, career or lifestyle are you interested to know more about?