Howdy, Boss Babes! We’re excited to bring you another awesome small business tips post. We have 7 stories for you on what small business owners wish they had known before they started their business. The checklist for things to get squared away before you launch can be quite long, especially if you're the kind of Babe who like to cross all her t's and have her i's polka-dotted. Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for you., because everyone's set of resources and circumstances are different. But never let fear or doubt get in the way & be sure to hold those who support you close. OH! And don’t you ever look back. You can launch the business of your dreams, but be patient & give yourself grace. There’s no such thing as perfect— but there is such a thing as BOSS. ;) Thanks for tuning in & we hope you’ll let us know what stories inspired you to press onward & upward. We love hearing what you’re up to and are excited to cheer you on as you continue on the path of entrepreneurship. Keep calm & stay boss. xx
“Before I started my business I interviewed the best business owner I know, my dad. He started a very successful yacht brokerage company from scratch in 2003 and sold it last year to retire. His best advice he told me is “be flexible”. Things won’t work exactly as you want or plan. But if you are flexible and open to change, you will succeed. He was so right! The other piece of advice that I want to add after 3 years running my business is “stay true to your vision!” Don’t let other people sway what you know you want-- find your tribe that will support you and stay true to be business you want to build!”
St. Petersburg, FL
“I wish I had known that there is no perfect time to get started on something you know you want to do. Even if you don’t know the specifics, even if you don’t think you have the money, even if you’re “busy.” It’s all an excuse. The only way to start a business, is to do just that - START. No one is going to do it for you, no one has a magical formula for you, you aren’t going to get lucky, and you can’t follow your dreams if you aren’t willing to commit to taking action. I would’ve started MUCH sooner if I had stopped procrastinating and lying to myself with excuses like, “oh but I have bills to pay,” “I have a really full plate right now,” or my favorite, “I really need to save more.” You’ll never have the perfect amount of money to begin, which is why you take baby steps. And timing will never be perfect, which is why you have to do things in chunks and fit it into the time you DO have.”
St. Petersburg, FL
“I’d say the number one thing I’d wish I’d known before starting was that things would start much more slowly than I thought they would. And it turned out to be ok. Yes, Valhalla didn’t break even in the first year like I had hoped, but growing slowly turned out to be essential. It helped us refine Valhalla’s product into a “can’t live without” rather than a “this is nice” product.
In most businesses, retention is important but with a month-to-month membership, it’s everything. And growing slowly helped us experiment with what helped build retention without turning off customers and creating negative experiences. In the first few months before we had retention nailed down, we were at about 50% retention which means our cost to acquire new customers was sky high. As we learned what helped members feel more satisfied with the service, we slowly crept up to 70% then 80% and now with our fully refined member retention formula, we’ve been able to maintain 90% retention.
If we had started off at full blast with more members than we did, we may have created some mediocre experiences which may have done some damage to our reputation. We would have also had a hard time implementing our experiments for retention and examining the results because we would have been too busy trying to stay afloat servicing the customers we did have.”
“One thing I wish I had known before I started my business was how much my last job would affect my business in a really positive way. When I left my agency to go freelance I left on good terms and continue to work with them as an independent to this day. Also as people moved on from that company they have continued to give me work with the new companies they’ve moved on to and have referred their friends and acquaintances. Having people who know how you are in a professional setting and view you in a positive way really does a lot for expanding your network. In many ways I wouldn’t change anything since it worked out so well, but I might have been even more intentional about those relationships and making sure I nurtured them even more before leaving and striking out on my own.”
“To be honest, when I started my business I was quite naive and dove in head first. I don’t think I realized how much hard work and hustle it would take. Had I known, I likely would have held myself back and second guessed everything. Perhaps, I should have been more prepared; but I believed in myself and the ability to learn and accept challenges. That’s all I needed to get started! I am still learning all the time. I don’t think I’ll ever stop.”
“My business is exactly where I would want it be. I knew it would be hard work, sleepless nights, hustling daily, staying ahead of the game and staying ahead of trends. I was mentally and physically ready to do all of this before I started. I knew it would be turning my love into my life. I knew it would mean I would never stop working - and I also knew it would mean making my own schedule and being my own boss - so that if I DID want to stop working for a month I could. What I can say for others is this. If you want to be successful ....First have the passion, 2nd have the funds and 3rd be ready to work. You can literally be anyone you want to be.”
“I wish that I had known that the adrenaline rush RUNS OUT. I seriously thought that having your own business would be this constant high of excitement and energy and motivation. The reality is that, like anything else, there are a lot of tough days where you fight procrastination or, especially in the very beginning, struggle with wondering if anyone is even caring about the content that you're spending hours creating. It can be so discouraging. Joining a close knit group of other small business owners, like Boss Babe Club, will save your life. Because you'll understand you're normal on the good AND BAD days. Consistency wins and your village will help you stay focused on the big picture.”