The last twelve months have been a truly unforgettable experience. Since launching SoVerve in February of 2016, I have learned so much. Not only about small business ownership, but about entrepreneurship and myself. Today, as I end a day that was full of celebration with the person who has supported me most, I wanted to share with you 12 business lessons that I will carry with me moving forward into what I am calling #YearTwo.
Some of these lessons were learned along the way, and some were definitely reinforced. However, they are all important and I believe that many of these can help a new small business owner along the way. Some of these may seem like “no-brainers,” but to a new business owner, they are a very big deal because you don’t quite know what you are getting yourself into until you take the plunge.
12 Business Lessons for New Small Business Owners
1 | Embrace Discomfort: You will be at your most uncomfortable when you launch your business and you will ask yourself so many questions; Will people like my products? Will people buy into my services? There will be so many questions. Launch anyways. Do not allow the discomfort and nervousness keep you from moving forward. If you allow the feeling to cripple you, you will never do it.
2 | Pay Attention: They saying goes, “people may not always tell you how they feel, but they will always show you; pay attention.” This is true in life and it is true in business. Once you have launched pay attention to how your services and products are moving. If people are not buying into certain services or products it is for a reason. You need to pay attention to business trends and to what your audience needs.
3 | Welcome Community: Build a community with other industry professionals but don’t forget your clients as well. Everyone you come into contact with and everyone that interacts with your brand is a community member. Do not discourage this community from helping to elevate your brand, provide constructive criticism, and additional teaching opportunities for you.
4 | Stay Consistent: Once you create systems and processes in your business, do your very best to stay consistent. This can translate into your social media strategy, email marketing strategy, administrative systems, accounting processes; whatever it may be, do your best to always remain consistent. As I stated recently on social media, consistency breeds longevity.
5 | Remain Authentic: Unfortunately, one of the downfalls of the online space is our ability to easily compare ourselves to other brands and companies. Everywhere we turn, we are presented with the opportunity to divert from who we truly are and replace this with a virtual being. Do not fall into this trap. Remember that no one can be you and that is your superpower.
6 | Say No, Often: In the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, you will want to say “yes!” to every opportunity that comes through your desk. However, learn to be selective with who you work with and who you decide to partner with. Not all of the opportunities that present themselves end up being lucrative in the end. More often than not, these end up hurting you more than helping you.
7 | Be Flexible: Learn to be flexible, especially in the beginning. Sometimes we have such a big idea of how things should be that we end up hurting our brands more in the end. This ties into Lessons #2. Be willing to make shifts in your business if you notice that there are things that need to be aligned differently. Don’t be so stuck in your own way that you overlook details that can be fixed with a little flexibility.
8 | Maintain Relationships: Entrepreneurship can be very lonely if you allow it to be. Sure, you have your “friends” and colleagues online, but maintaining healthy relationships that provide normality, is healthy. You can’t and shouldn’t have to go through this journey alone, therefore maintain the relationships with those that support you, offline. Do and talk about things that aren’t always business related.
9 | Never Compare: This one should be clear enough, but competition truly is the thief of joy. There will always be an entrepreneur who is more successful than you at something. You don’t know that person’s journey, though. Plus, what may look like overnight success to you, may very well be years in the making. Remain focused on you and your brand.
10 | Respect The Vets: I call them old war horses. These are people that have been in the business for years. They are seasoned professionals and have been successful in many ways. You should respect them, learn from them, and embrace their advice when they give it freely. Do not undermine them because trust me, you will lose.
11 | Create Routines: Routines will be your very best friend. They will help you both in your personal and professional life. Create calendars and systems, and if you stick with them you will see results. Grab an accountability partner if you need to and together create routines that will help you both stay accountable to achieving your goals.
12 | Believe in Yourself: Lastly, and probably the most important lesson of all, remember to believe in yourself. Everything else will fall into place. In the times when you feel like giving up and you feel like quitting, don’t. Keep your, “Why?” front and center and refer to it often when you are feeling down. This is the sentiment that will keep you from easy failure and it is the sentiment that will carry you the most.
Bonus: Serve. Serve your community and your audience through every piece of content that you create.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. // Philippians 2:3-4
There you have them, my 12 business lessons for any new small business owner or entrepreneur. I’d like to also take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who reached out me to, to congratulate me on my “Launch-Versary.”