This is the second (and final) post about the challenge of owning a business. Please read the first post here
Beginning a business is long hours and hard work. There is also a lot of advice out there, but this advice is what I wish I had paid more attention to.
Network. When I first began my company, I set up meetings almost daily. These meetings were for me to know who was in the field and if I needed to know them or not. I would gather information, research that information, and then ask the person I met with to make any necessary introductions. Here is my biggest piece of advice: DO NOT PAY for networking groups (at least not at first). I find it good to know folks who run the Chamber of Commerce or other groups, but you can find groups like Meetup.com that can offer you a wealth of networking opportunities for free, or a small cost. Also, seek out organizations like the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). They are a governmental organization that was formed to help small businesses succeed. Now, networking can get out of hand. So, only take one, 1 hour meeting per day (at most) and then get back to work!
Cost.Many companies have saved up money to begin, some have a Venture Capitalist (VC) who is backing them (this is what most tech companies have), while other companies take out a small business loan. When I began, I didn’t realize the extravagant cost of owning a business, so before you begin, do some homework.
Mary Lee Kitchen has been privately funded(excluding our Kickstarter campaign last year) from the beginning. Meaning, my family has put in some money, but other than that it has been funded by my husband Victor and me. We are not at a point where we can pay our staff, so everything we make goes back into the company. I’ve had multiple other jobs while owning the company, which most small business owners do.
Work. Have you ever heard that those in the startup world never sleep? Well, I go back and forth about this one. I don’t believe that your sleep should suffer in order to have a successful business. Quite the opposite, actually: if you get more sleep, then you are able to recharge and have more creative ideas, which will help when you are trying to operate a business. Are the hours long? YES. Is it hard work? YES! Is it worth it? I ask myself this everyday. A lot of things have been sacrificed for me to start a company. Friendships, relationships, finances: all of these have been strained at one point in order for this to happen. However, I still put in long hours because I believe in my company’s purpose.
If you began a company because you don’t want to do the same thing day in and day out, let me stop you right there.Owning a business will mean more responsibility and more tedious tasks on your plate. In my experience, those who work the grind are the ones who are the most successful…(well, unless they have a lot of money and can hire a lot of go-fers…)
The challenges of owning a business are vast. Sometimes, the rewards come in small doses instead of large ones. But hopefully, with a good idea, hard work, dedication, and a good strategy plan, you will be able to overcome your challenges and reap the benefits of owning a successful business.