Entrepreneur Advice For Starting Your Small Business

Listen to these entrepreneurs talk about the challenges, setbacks, and successes they experienced while starting their businesses. From implementing customer policies and procedures to networking and making connections with your community, they give their advice as they look back on when they were just starting out as business owners.

I'd say a memorable
challenge that I experienced
during the starting phase,
was probably not paying
for certain services
that would have alleviated
certain pain points that I had.
I was broke, and so if I could
cut a corner here or there
and save that money, I did it,
but in the long run, I realized that
I spent a lot of time paying for,
paying in time and money for those things
that I could have just
paid financially early on
a little bit more
and that problem would
have, wouldn't have existed.
When I started the business,
I thought I could do it
all by myself. (laughs)
So I think that was one
significant challenge
during that time.
And I think as entrepreneurs we're like,
trying to make it work
without a lot of cash often.
We're also trying to make it work
without a lot of time sometimes
depending on the situation.
And so that was one thing that
I did learn over time though,
is that I cannot do this by myself.
And that was a really liberating
and great thing to learn,
because once we started
bringing in team members
and advisors, it just was
a whole different company.
We went from being me running a business,
to Asheville Tea Company being a company.
And it was such a wonderful transition.
One of the things that we experienced
just getting started
right out of the shoot
is it's awful easy to fall
in love with the product
that you've created.
I mean, it's an awesome
thing to develop something
that never existed before,
and to have your new fancy
logo on it and everything else.
But I would say don't do that,
because that's you,
but you have to make sure that the rest
of the world would see it the same way.
And if you're clouded by your
own love for your product,
it's really hard to see what
other people are thinking.
So I definitely did this in the beginning,
and you talk about something
like it was the greatest thing
since sliced bread,
and other people were looking at ya
like you had three heads
or something like that.
So get feedback, do focus groups,
do whatever it would take to make sure
that others have as much enthusiasm
for what you've developed as you do.
One of the challenges in the early stages
of my business was um...
implementing and sticking
to all of our policies for our clients.
We have like a cancellation policy
and we use a pet sitting portal
which is like an third party
software to communicate
and do scheduling and getting people
from texting me to using our
system was really challenging.
And also like it
keep up with those policies and like
make sure that everyone followed them and
and try to disconnect from
like how they felt about them.
Cause it was sort of a change for them.
And so that was, it was
it could be difficult at times, you know
little small things would
come up that would take a lot
of time and a lot of
energy in the beginning
but it was definitely paid off in the end.
Now I like, I don't really have to worry
about a lot of the small things.
In the starting phase,
when the business was first
getting off the ground,
one of the things that I did a lot of
was reaching out to the community.
So I joined every single
networking group in the area
that I possibly could.
And so I was everywhere once
at least three or four days a week
at some kind of event
in order to meet people.
But that was one of the mistakes I made
was to get involved with too much
over too long a period of time,
although some of that,
all of the relationships
and that's really what it
was is meeting everyone
through those relationships.
People remember you, and if
it was a good experience,
they will remember you in the future.
So now most of the clients that I get,
in fact, almost all of them
are completely referral from people
who've had a good experience with our firm
which inevitably that's
the same for everyone.
They like your product,
they're going to buy your product.
And so, you know, it wasn't a
terrible mistake that I made
but it was one that I learned from
during the very beginning of networking.
So one of my biggest
challenges in the early days
of our startup was having the awareness
that I really need to
dial into the numbers,
and what the whole financial model
of this looked like, and I really, really,
really resisted that when, and I really,
really really got lucky that I got
my business to a point
to where it was stable
and successful before I dove into it.
And if I could change any one thing,
I would have started my pursuit
of being a numbers
master far, far earlier.
So just don't let that one go.
Make sure you understand the books.

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