If you started your business today…right now…what would you do differently?
First thing that comes to mind? I’d collect a deposit up front for those projects that went south (along with their originator and any hope of my being paid for many hours of work) in the first blushingly innocent year of The Simmons Group. I’m not bitter. Just more careful these days. I’m sure you entrepreneurs out there can shake your heads and chuckle at the remembrance of similar missteps. Some lessons are a little harder than others. Bottom Line: you gotta have a payment policy and you gotta stick to it – no matter what. You just gotta.
Other items on the list might include:
• Thinking bigger from the very beginning. Indulge your vision and make solid plans for getting out of the small pond and into the bigger one sooner than you’re absolutely comfortable with. Dream big and act boldly – even when it hurts. Builds character.
• Joining a business support group. Not necessarily a networking group, and not necessarily a chamber of commerce, but a support group – one that shares questions and listens to the answers. It’s a group that is not so much interested in generating leads or throwing business cards, but in helping each member do better and learn the ropes. I ended up co-founding a group (ISN) like this, for this – simply because there aren’t enough out there – and believe me, I kissed a lot of networking frogs in search of focus and purpose and value in the support category.
Looking back, there’s not a whole lot that I would do differently — this due largely to the fact that there was one item that I aced right out of the gate. The first thing I did when striking out on my own (actually before striking out on my own) was to hire a business coach. Had I not done that, my list would rival the Los Angeles Phone Book in size and weight.
Hutt Bush (Being Point, Inc.) was the single greatest move I ever made as a business entrepreneur. He’s still with me and we’re still blazing new territory together. If you haven’t considered consulting a coach or business mentor, start now. Accountability is a powerful (not to mention absolutely necessary) thing. Having someone on your side – to bounce ideas off, to help you anticipate pitfalls and “rubbing points,” to guide you with experience and knowledge and to hold you accountable — represents value beyond measure. Believe me. Get a coach – end of story.
So let’s hear from you! Tell your story. What would you have done differently? What did you do that holds true-to-course today? What’s your advice for those lined up at the entrepreneur starting gate?