Going out and starting your own business is stressful, and as a 25 year old, it was no different for me. There are plenty of lessons to be learned which can be tough, especially when thinking that starting a company would be nothing but huge checks cashed and fun. Certain details of running a business slip by many entrepreneurs as simply having a good idea for a business or providing a great service simply aren’t enough. As a founder of a business, it is important to guide all facets of your company that fall within your expertise. The following are lessons I learned—and lessons that many young entrepreneurs will learn—when going into business for themselves.
The Company Name is Key
Coming up with a name that doesn’t blend into the industry or that is too wild is important. Name recognition is important, but going too far out there can lead consumers to think a company might not be serious or have high quality products. There are plenty of brandable business names available out there, but finding the right one will be the challenge. Doing research with email blasts, collecting survey data, can be a perfect way to see how a company name sounds to those in the industry, or even the general public.
Don’t Bend to a Client’s Every Whim Even If You Need the Business
There is a harsh reality when it comes to clients at your own company: the customer isn’t always right. The customer is trying to get the best deal possible, so they might change the scope of a project or expect special treatment. This does not mean you have to deny the client’s wants or needs, but rather that you should be firm. If a client changes the scope of a project after work is complete, make sure you charge them for the work done. The client should be able to hold you accountable, so you should be able to hold the client accountable. This will build a healthy business relationship and can avoid problems in the future. Catering to every want or need because you need the business will lead the client to expect you to jump through every hoop in front of you. Set expectations on both sides, then deliver, on them!
No Days Off is a Reality
Those people who think that working for themselves will be a 40-hour per week gig couldn’t be more wrong. As a business owner, you are at the front line of people asking questions as well as needy clients reaching out on weekends. On those days that you think you can relax, try to knock out work early in the morning and get back to everyone the next morning if they email or call in the middle of the day. Establishing boundaries with clients can be a difficult balance to master as being too amicable can lead to being taken advantage Yet not going the extra mile can negatively impact customer loyalty. Do not go into business thinking this will be less work than before. In general, the hours multiply, but luckily, so does the founder’s pay in most cases.
Cut Your Losses with Some Clients and Employees
There are going to be clients and employees that simply are not looking for a mutually beneficial relationship with your company. Many new companies will stick with these clients or employees due to lack of funds. Once it is possible, cutting out these clients and employees is imperative. Clients like these take time from clients that pay on time, do not change the project goal in the middle, and communicate sufficiently. There will be employees that will be demanding and entitled, so identifying those who are working for themselves rather than for the good of the company can be let go.
As you can see, these are just a few lessons that many people will learn quickly when going into business for themselves. Watch out for the above and deal with it accordingly!