SERIES: Lessons Learned While Starting A Small Business – Part 1

Welcome to the latest series on JosephSangl.com – “Lessons Learned While Starting A Small Business”.   Starting a small business can be tremendously exciting and frightening at the same time.   One of the most common trends that we see among small business owners is that they are very good at providing their product or service, but they are not so skilled at the “business side” of doing business.   This series will focus on some of the key lessons we have learned from meeting with many small business owners as well as truths we have learned as we have built a small business.

Part One – Starting a business will cost more than you think.

If you believe that you will start a business without it costing you anything, you are living in a fairy tale.   It is going to cost you money.   It will cost you time.   It will cost you hobbies.   It can even cost you relationships.   Starting a small business is not for sissies.   It requires great resolve, passion, focus, money, tremendous effort, patience and time.

Money Dr. John C. Maxwell states in his book, Put Your Dream To The Test, that your dream will cost you, and it will cost you more than once.   Start-up costs alone can cripple a new business from the start.   Legally organizing the business costs money.   Office supplies and equipment cost money.   Office space costs money.   If you are not willing to put your own money into the business, don’t expect anyone else to invest in it either.   Take the amount of money you think it will take to successfully start your business and double it.   You will be close to the amount you will really need.   Your business is going to cost you money.

Time If you are pursuing a dream, it will consume large amounts of time.   It will rob you of sleep.   You will quite possibly stare at the ceiling for hours throughout the night as you think through the countless opportunities that lie in front of you or the enormous costs coming up that the bank account can’t cover.   In the book, The E-Myth (I reviewed it HERE) , Michael Gerber challenges a small business owner to draw up the organizational chart for all of the positions necessary to make the dream become reality.   The next step is to put a name in each position.   If there is no employee for the position you have written down, then your name is to be entered there because you will be the one doing that task until someone is hired to do it!   Talk about intimidating!   I discovered that I am the CEO, resource development, HR, shipping clerk, travel agent, and janitor all at the same time!   No wonder I was tired!   Your business is going to cost you time.

Hobbies If you want to start a small business and still maintain a great family life, some hobbies will have to take a back seat.   I love golfing, but golfing loses out right now.   I can’t afford five hours away from family and the business once or twice a week.   I love fishing.   I have greatly reduced the time spent with this hobby.   When I do go fishing, I bring along my daughter to maximize that time.   You will not have to say goodbye to your favorite hobbies forever, but they might have to be moved down the priority list while launching your small business.

Bottom Line: Launching a small business will cost you.

Your thoughts?   Small business owners – I would love to get your thoughts into the conversation – share them in the comments section.

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3 Responses to “SERIES: Lessons Learned While Starting A Small Business – Part 1”

  1. hal April 13, 2010 at 5:28 am #

    you are sooo right. i started a used car business 6 years ago while working a full time job. in 2007 my job at honeywell shutdown. your own small business takes all the spare time you have. im everything in my business. its not going in and working 8 hours and leaving your job behind. i always have my business on my mind. i work 6 days a week. sunday off. its hard but i get satisfaction being my own boss.

  2. Peter R April 13, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    For my business to continually make money it requires me to travel. Which hinders my ability to do the things locally (hobbies, build relationships, etc). I have no employees.

    When I first got started I was traveling a lot, but after 2 years of business I’m able to plan my time better (with God’s help!). And still bring in the same amount, usually more. I still have no real employees but have been able to hire people to help me complete certain tasks quicker.

  3. Terri McDonadl April 13, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    You are soooooo right! So many people open a business because they are good service providers but not great on the business side of “the business”. My business partner and I took a risk when we opened our business. We were running from our last employer not running toward our future. One of the best things we did for our business was finding a business coaching company that was specific to our line of business. It was quite expensive, approximately $20,000 for the two of us to attend the classes and workshops and pay for our travel, and the cost of partnering with this company for a year. We learned alot and applied what we learned. We could not implement everything at once, because it was just too overwhelming. It taught us to clarify, set goals, implement systems, etc. We are about to celebrate our 3rd anniversary and are just now feeling like we “know” what we are doing. We actually showed a profit for 2009 which was our second full year of business. Our business will be debt free in a little over 2 years. Hard work and investing in the right tools and education are the key.

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