Starting a Business is Like Having a Baby
Twelve Tips for Business Start-Ups
By Linda Banister
Red Door Coaching and Training Ltd.
(It started as ten, but like all good ideas, it grew...)
Starting a business is like preparing for and then having a baby. Everyone has a different view of how it should be done and in what ways they can help you. There are lots of books to read, groups to join and people who just want to help you to spend your money!! As with parenting... tread carefully, listen and learn - then do what feels right for you and your business.
- BEWARE OF THE SHARKS – There are people out there ready to take your money at a time when you are at your most vulnerable and need help. Do your homework.
- VALUES - Take some time to decide what your values are. Look to work with businesses who might have similar values to yours if you can. Remember if you don’t stick to your values there can be a conflict of interest about who you are and what you represent. Give a chocolate lolly to a child, or let them stay up late and they want it all the time. Clients are just the same.
- HEALTH - Take care of your own health. Keep up with your regular exercise. Like a parent you have responsibilities to others now. You are your company’s biggest asset and you need to look after yourself.
- GROUPS – (Or networking) in the business world. An essential key part of parenting or running your own business. Find others to share your thoughts with and support you or you may go insane!!! They will allow you to ask the daft questions you are dying to ask. Keeping an open mind, visit lots of groups before deciding which ones best suits your needs.
- ROLE MODEL – Who are the good parents or role models in business? Who do you see out there operating and running their business in the way you want to run yours? Will they be your mentor? Ask them. Use them to bounce ideas off and take time to find out what it is that makes them good at what they do. Then evolve your own style.
- READ - Lots of relevant information but be selective. Just like any new parent, there is a wealth of conflicting advice available. You have to choose the guidance that fits in with your values and what you are trying to achieve and then go with that one. You cannot listen and act on everyone’s advice.
- BUDGET - Set yourself a budget for marketing. Most guides advise around 6% of your turnover. Don’t buy the first pram you see or assume the most expensive is the best.
- TALKING - Word of mouth is your biggest form of advertising. It’s what gets you known in the playground and it’s free! Always ask your clients to give you a recommendation either on your website, or via email. Leave business cards and leaflets with your satisfied clients fro them to pass on.
- MISTAKES – You will make them. Just learn from them and don’t make the same ones twice.
- SELF BELIEF – You were a successful individual before having a child so why doubt your ability to be a parent? If all those millions of people can run their own business, so can you. You can do it!
- PATIENCE – Be patient with yourself and others. Remember, this is a new set of skills for you. You don’t become an expert overnight. Just learn quickly and be prepared to adapt. You will get your sleep back eventually!!!
- SHARE – with others, e.g. good babysitters, website designers etc, and pass on work if you can. As you teach your child to share remember to do it yourself. It will pay dividends in the world of business.