I have failed at business ventures for a decade. They either flopped outright, or I was unable to execute my idea correctly. I was embarrassed when I realized my dreams wouldn’t come to fruition after I had promoted my services. I can say it proudly now because I learned some valuable lessons.
Start the Business
First, the best way to start a business is to take steps to execute. Talking about it won’t fill and submit the business registration paperwork. Brainstorming a name won’t make you choose one. You can always change it later. Also, your registered name and how you market your company may be two different things. Scrolling through social media probably won’t count as market research.
To begin, the Small Business Administration has resources to guide you through every step of the process, including creating a business plan. Additionally, you can use the site to find grants, loans, and mentorship.
Keep it Simple
The next lesson I’ve learned is to keep it simple. In my first business, I tried to be a Jane of all trades but a master of none. I offered everything I could potentially be good at or figure out how to do instead of just providing my best thing. For example, I wanted to work in small business support, which was entirely too broad. I did everything from registration to marketing plans.
I offered logos and websites, but I didn’t have a logo, and I used a low-budget template builder for my site. I figured I needed a place with plenty of things listed for customers to order. It didn’t matter that I would have to learn on the job. I wasted so much time figuring out all the things I could list on my site that fell within my category. I should have used that time to create quality content and find clients that needed what I could do.
Delegate Your Weaknesses
Failing to create a good website leads me to my third lesson, which is to delegate your weaknesses. I did not know how to code ten years ago (I do now), and my website proved that. What I should have done was hire a frontend developer or web designer to create a site I could manage.
I was, and still am, terrible at marketing my services and products. I can talk about business all day long, but I am not great at selling. I should have hired someone to teach me to sell. Discovering and acknowledging your weaknesses will be more comfortable as you go through the process of starting a business. There is so much to know that you can’t help but accept you don’t know enough.
I’ve started four companies so far, and there have been fewer failures and more clients. However, I can always continue to grow and be a better entrepreneur. I will need all of these lessons learned for my future endeavors. I will have three more tips in part two.