Setting up your own business is very much a learn-as-you go process, although we can certainly take advice and guidance from our fellow business owners.
We recently surveyed a group of our WiRE members, asking them to use their experience and success in business to provide their own tips and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Here’s what they said…
Sarah Shakespeare, Saloukee, https://saloukee.com
‘Learn to take criticism and not be offended, learn to laugh when you want to cry, surround yourself with positive people, take time for yourself, be passionate and open to new inspiration, love your friends and family more than ever…they will be the ones to help you through when times are tough. It’s definitely not easy, but if you can do what you love, it’ll be worth the sleepless nights!’
Louise Welsby, Buy-From Shropshire,
‘Plan carefully, research the market, know your customer and, most importantly, believe in yourself and go for it. It is a very challenging journey but it is also incredibly fulfilling and exhilarating. To take an idea and turn it into a viable business is an incredible achievement. I would also say that finding a network is also a great tip – women are particularly good at this and WiRE has been a brilliant source of support and inspiration too.’
Cleopatra Browne,Celtic Quest Coasteering Ltd, www.celticquestcoasteering.com
‘Go with your gut, you know your onions better than anyone else, but… listen towhat others have to say. Be prepared to make mistakes, a lot of mistakes, that’s the only way to get it right and improve things. Do the math, if the math adds up, go for it. Don’t settle for “that’ll do”, be the best at what you do/offer/make etc. The giant brands started out tiny too, so aim high but don’t expect it to be an easy ride. Savour the highs, it’s not all about the bottom line and making a buck, enjoy what you do. Thank those that help, your team, friends, family, mentors, colleagues whoever, they all help to get you places. A quick ‘thanks’ can make a person’s day (and make them even more awesome at helping you out!!)’
Elaine Pritchard,Caittom Publishing Limited, www.caittompublishing.co.uk
‘Don’t be afraid to try lots of things. Some will work, some won’t. Opportunities will arise that you never imagined. Be prepared to be flexible. Seven years after starting my business the work that I do, and who I do it for, has changed completely from year one. I think starting a business is like giving birth for the first time. You write your birth plan and have lots of ideas about how it will be, what you will do and what you won’t do…… but you just never know how you will feel or what will happen. Your ”baby business’ will continue to surprise and delight you as it grows. You never know what is around the corner, but if you put in the hard work your life will be richer (not just in financial terms – but in quality, diversity and joy). Don’t chase money. If you are true to yourself and your customers and doing what you love for the right reasons the money will follow. Also, network, network, network. Don’t think of networking as a sales opportunity. It’s NOT. Listen and learn. Be helpful and generous with your support for others. You will find people YOU can trust to help you with IT, admin, photography, accounting and any other services and products you need. As people build relationships with you, they will trust you and talk about you to others. It’s the ultimate win-win situation.’
Cheryl Turner,Tao Business Solutions,
‘Never give up. It’s a cliché, but Rome really wasn’t built in a day. Don’t go to one networking event / post one Facebook update and then give up if nothing comes of it. Getting new business – and retaining the clients – can take weeks/months. It’s a waiting game, not a quickfire pursuit.’
Sarah Lewis, Sarah Lewis Enterprises Ltd, firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Look after yourself first, drink water, do exercise and take regular breaks to avoid burnout.
2. Don’t set specific boundaries in the type of work you cater for, sometimes the most amazing opportunities come along which may include tailoring your service or product slightly differently to fit a client or offering additional services but is worth it in the long run.
3. Keep up to date with accounts or outsource to someone amazing and have a really good relationship with them.
4. Learn – Go on courses, workshops, training days – invest in yourself. 5. Enjoy yourself – build friendships, go networking, enjoy those extra perks of self-employment like popping out for a coffee with a friend or working from home in your pyjamas with the dog on your lap, after all with all the hours and sleepless nights, your worth it!’
Lucy Newall-Ellis, Ravenspoint Marketing, www.ravenspointmarketing.com
‘Keep learning. Before you take the leap and start your own business (and throughout your business journey), do your homework and keep learning. There is some much information out there on all aspects of business, right at your fingertips – take advantage of it! Look at relevant websites, read books, take on-line courses and keep an eye on what other service providers are doing in your industry. A big part of being an entrepreneur is challenging yourself and feeling confident in your own abilities – learning helps you achieve this!’
Lajina Leal,Lajina Masala, www.lajinamasala.com
‘Think about mindset, set goals and focus.’
Kay Heald,Kay Heald HR, www.kayhealdhr.co.uk
‘People do business with people – don’t underestimate the importance of authenticity and kindness.’
Phyl Edmonds,Severn Intervention Services Ltd, email@example.com
‘There is a lot of free business advice out there, including within WiRE. Get yourself a business mentor – this could be a friend already running a successful business, or a professional mentor. Get yourself an accountant – they save you more than they cost!’
Kay Dartnell,Wheely Wonderful Cycling, www.wheelywonderfulcycling.co.uk
‘Perseverance and it is useful to have a pot of money to fall back on. Also, if you are going into a Tourism business and contemplating a family, then be aware that there is a constant compromise to be made about your own family holidays when they hit school age.’
If you have any business advice to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your own guest blog.
For regular business tips, subscribe to the WiRE team blog mailing list (if you haven’t already!).