Starting a new business is both exhilarating and scary, but it is also one of the most rewarding things you can do.Whether you’re an entrepreneur already or working towards it, nothing should prevent you from going after your dreams of running your own business.Anyone who thinks starting a business is easy is kidding themselves! It’s a lot of hard work, long hours and stress, but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Each of us has a tale of inimitable circumstances, so it is quite deceptive to think there is an “exact way” to make your business bloom immediately. Over the years, however, I have learned that there is always “a way” if you just believe and keep your end goal in mind. Every little step forward counts!
The most common questions I hear from people eager to start their new business but uncertain and scared to take the risk.
How did you start?
How did you succeed?
How did you make it a reality?
My best advice? If you want to start a new business, start! There is never a perfect time, and your“what if’s” will be forever “what if’s”unless you give it a try.
I am running a global virtual business that 9 years ago started off with just me in my bedroom helping a few friends doing remote PA work. I learned how to run a business from scratch and it was tough, challenging but also fun! Over the years I have learned that there is a recipe for how to help entrepreneurs like me spend their time more efficiently. And so those learnings have brought me to where I am now.
Start with the end in mind. Don’t try to do everything yourself. And make your business run without you.
Let me share my top formula for success:
A business, YOUR business, isn’t a business without systems. If your company is stagnating and not growing each year your business systems can be improved. So start with that in mind from the very beginning!
A few recommendations of systems that have helped my business and other businesses become more efficient:
GET CLOUD BASED! If you want to eventually be able to work with remote workers or virtual assistant this is a must. And not to mention being able to travel and go on holidays and be able to access your programs from wherever you are:
- ACCOUNTING: I recommend QuickBooks accounting and Xero. Simple, accessible and cost-effective.
- COMMUNICATION: Consider how you need to communicate best. Platforms such as Skype, Slack, Zoom, Messenger are great so when you have a virtual team they feel in touch and part of your organisation.
- PROJECT MANAGEMENT: This is a must for the dumping of your ideas and turning them into actions. Then when you hire your assistant you can be assigning tasks to them to work on! The platforms I like Asana, Basecamp, Trello.
- CONTACT MANAGEMENT: I believe that when you start a business your customers are everything. To track them, nurture them and market to them is critical. “Build your list,” they say! There are some very easy to use CRM platforms that will help you to do this and most of them incorporate email marketing, Database, and Automation all in one: Try Active Campaign and Ontraport.
- PROCESSES: Gone are the days of needing a 200-page manual to record your business processes! These days there are many tools that can help you record your process and have them stored efficiently. I recommend a tool like Loom to record what you do into efficient training videos to hand over easily when the time comes. Then using Google Sites to create a directory of processes is a great way to keep everything together!
- PRODUCTIVITY: Many small businesses fail to plan. This is why they fail and don’t move forward. Consider using a daily productivity planner to manage the projects you are working on and build productivity measures into your day. Use your calendar and block work so it gets done. My saying: “If it’s not in your diary, it’s not real!”
Now once you have worked on your systems and integrated these into your business to keep things running smoothly you can start to work on automation to cut down on time and the manual need to do something. The world of automation has gone nuts in the last few years and almost anything these days can be automated. My tip? Don’t discard personal touch for automation completely – it could ruin your business!
How do you achieve this?
I like to start with looking at the flow and touch points of an activity. Something as simple as a person registering for an event on your website can trigger many actions. Through using a tool like Zapier when someone registers for your event you can automate sending them an initial email, add them to your CRM and then add them to your accounting program and then a follow-up sequence of emails. Zapier is a magnificent tool for automating business and efficiency tasks. It focuses mostly on business and productivity apps.
Whether you own a large firm or a small business, chances are you can’t be everywhere at once. The great strength of delegation is that we can achieve so much more by doing it. It allows us to reproduce ourselves and boost leverage to grow our businesses beyond our own individual capacities.
It does take some trust to be able to delegate, and that trust needs to be cleverly placed. If we delegate everyday jobs to people who aren’t capable of handling them, the result may not turn out the way we want it.
When you give trust in the form of delegation, it’s remarkable how people respond. They’ll rise to the occasion. It brings out the best in people, and they perform well.
My tip? Prepare yourself well to get started, and it’s never too early to delegate!
Try this as a starting point: www.virtualelves.com.au/taskauditchallenge
Running a business is hard work, and when the going gets rough, it’s easy to get frantic. I’ve been there, and it’s not a fun thing to have to go through. One of the first things you discover as a business owner is that there’s no such thing as “set in stone.” Everything is a moving target, and adapting has to be part of the plan. Don’t be afraid to DITCH what is not working out for your business. Don’t be committed to your first business plan or product if it’s not giving you the results you want. And when your perfect business plan goes haywire, don’t sweat it. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Remember victory is not measured by how many times you failed.
There are no restrictions on how to become great in the field of business. What you do need is to make the right decision for the right reasons.