No matter what your experience, how or why you started your business or where you are in the journey. There is always knowledge or advice you wish you had received sooner. Below are thirteen (unlucky for some but not for you) pieces of advice I would share with a start-up today.

In no particular order and not an exhaustive list by any means!

Top thirteen business tips
1. Have a separate bank account for the business

This is important for so many reasons but firstly it proves to you and shows your potential client you are serious about the business. Shop around as many banks offer great new account incentives including free banking. Bonus tip: start recording income and expenditure from day one, whether in an Excel spreadsheet or cloud based software, don’t leave your ‘bookkeeping’ until year end.


2. Pay yourself a ‘salary’

Your business bank account is just that, for transactions related to your business (see above). If you are self-employed calculate what you need as an income and what you can reasonably take out of the business, transfer this sum to a personal account on the same date each month. It will help to stop you dipping in and out and keep that spreadsheet clean of personal spend.


3. Start an outsource list

This is a list of jobs that take you away from the important tasks of the business, that you hate doing or not an expert in. When you are ready to seek outside help perhaps in the form of a virtual assistant you will know exactly what activity can be passed over. Also, helpful as the business grows and you consider taking on employees as it will provide valuable information on which areas of the business need support.


4. Use LastPass or similar for all your passwords

Usernames, passwords and security questions can take up considerable time in creating, changing and then recreating when forgotten. There is also an issue of security of this type of information, particularly if you keep on behalf of clients. I use LastPass and love it, easy to use and the app on my phone is very useful.


5. Get the right advice

You will be offered advice from many people (including your family) from the minute you establish your business. Often from those with their own agenda e.g. a service or programme to sell or a networking group to promote, a warning shared in my Facebook group by Cherry Iley of Skills For Sale. Cherry went on to point out experienced people will be happy to help you along and will not charge you for it. Although you will need to pay for some expert advice and should be prepared for this e.g. solicitor or accountant even then many offer a free consultation.


6. You don’t have to be everywhere

It can be very easy at the beginning of the business journey to spread yourself thinly attending and even joining every networking group in a 100 mile radius. Pick and choose carefully, those where you will find your potential client and that you are able to commit to attending long term. Ask for recommendations, attend as a guest and get a feel for the group before joining. Do not be pressured into joining a group ever!


7. Don’t hide behind email

Hiding behind email is a common problem for even the most established business person. Sending out emails, crafted in the safety of your office, to introduce yourself or your products and services might make you feel productive but can be demotivating when not returned. Don’t get me wrong email has an important role to play in your marketing strategy, however, emails are easy to delete and ignore by a busy person. Picking up the phone is far more productive and successful, be brave and pick it up you might be surprised by the results.


8. Put time aside for you

A sentiment shared by Mary Webb owner of Destination Salisbury, a successful business woman who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for over ten years. Mary explains: ‘Give yourself a set time for work and a set time for leisure and family. All too easy to work constantly thinking you are "putting everything into your new venture" and then feeling washed out.’ This of course applies throughout your business journey and boundaries are important to maintain momentum.


9. Every day is a learning day

The beauty of learning is it can be on your terms and in a way that suits you best. Online programmes are all the rage but without accountability, you may not even finish it! Find the right programme for you that includes ‘actual’ support. Facebook groups are great places to connect and learn or pick up a book and start a daily habit of reading. Try a webinar or check out free training offered in your area from business support organisations.


10. Get a mentor and invest in you

There is nothing wrong and it’s certainly not a sign of weakness to ask for help. The right mentor or coach will have long term benefit. This is something Mandy Milford of Mandy Milford Photography believes and added the following to a recent Facebook group discussion ‘pay for tried and tested advice to get a head start, so you don't waste years making mistakes that others have made. You don't need to reinvent the wheel!’ The right mentor or coach will offer you value beyond your initial need for support.


11. Make time for business planning

Book a regular time slot with yourself in the diary at regular intervals to suit you. A time to review the business, consider your recent activity against the business plan and always check your income and expenditure - are you reaching your goals? Be honest with yourself about what’s working and what’s not and where change needs to occur. Use this time to celebrate your successes big and small!


12. Collaborate when it’s right for you and MUTUALLY beneficial

Not every offer will be right for you, not every partnership the right fit. Don’t jump into something without truly understanding the benefit to you and your business. I would suggest that you establish your business first before ‘jumping’ into bed with another – be you first! However, should you decide to partner up please seek expert advice on documentation and contracts.


13. You are ready!

There are always doubts, your website copy not good enough, the product not quite perfect and fear can be debilitating. You are ready, start talking to people, networking and connecting. You can tweak as you go BUT don’t let fear stop you being all that you can be TODAY because YOU are ready!

 

Why not book a free, no obligation Business MoT with me, a 45-minute call when I can help you check off all you need to kick start your business and answer your burning questions.

 

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