Don’t be afraid to take a risk – if you run your own business, you’ve already taken the biggest risk of all … giving up your day job and salary. All other risks will probably pale into insignificance.
Be brave … when your business starts taking off, eat into your profits and take on a member of staff. It can be a daunting decision, especially your first recruit. But after that, it gets a lot easier.
Be a boss, not a friend – if you employ people, you cannot be a friend and the person who might have to sack them. Draw a line, don’t step over it
Some people will shaft you … learn to look for the signs. I have been in business for 19 years and been stuffed twice by people I thought I could trust. You feel betrayed and heart-broken. Get over it, man-up and be stronger next time.
Learn to say no – it’s always good to offer help to charities and community groups, but sometimes you will have to say no. Your top priority must be your own business.
Adapt your skills to maximise your appeal to your customers – if your offering is limited, find ways of widening it.
Be confident in your own skills – too many people are quite happy to knock you back and be negative.
Retain your self-respect and don’t be a door mat – customer service is hugely important, but don’t let your clients walk all over you.
Be prepared to sack a client you cannot work with – you will feel so much better about it, and you will knock the stuffing out of them!
If you are being squeezed by your clients, pass it on. Sometimes your suppliers will need to feel your pain.
Thinking time – no matter how caught up you are in the daily grind, the world will not stop if something happens to you. Always find time to think strategically. Do it in the bath, do it having a jog, down the gym, walking the dog.
“You’re so lucky that your business is a success.” Isn’t it funny that the harder we work the “luckier” we tend to be? I wonder if they are related. Don’t get cross when people imply that you have simply had lots of good luck. Explain to them some of the realities of running your own business and the risks you have taken.
Family first – your children grow up too quickly. Try to get the right balance between pushing your business forward and attending that school play, birthday celebration or graduation ceremony. You cannot turn the clock back or re-invent memories that don’t exist.
By Tim Cobb, of Cobb PR