What Are The Steps to Owning Your Own Business?

Owning your own business is a difficult and time-consuming endeavor. Here are some important things you should keep in mind when starting and running your own business.

1) Not everyone is your target customer.

Not every product has mass appeal. Rather, market to already-existing converts and watch as they spread your brand with others like them.

2) You aren’t special.

There are tons of people in this world doing the same things you are. What makes you stand out is the sum of why you do it, for whom you do it, and how you do it. Success is about what, who, why, and how.

3) Value perseveres, cheap flies away. 

When owning a business, you’ll be tempted by cheap solutions. Instead go for value and what will endure for you and your customers.

4) Sometimes the customer Is wrong. 

You rely on your customers to survive. Hear them out, consider the possibilities, and don’t budge on your values. Some ought there can never be satisfied and will always seek causes to complain over. Were we to focus on complainers, we’d be out of business quite fast.

5) Trade is bad when you don’t treat it like a business transaction.

You ought to look at every arrangement as a business exchange. You need to make sure you have a contract, clarify what’s being delivered, what is being exchange, and the timeline. Without that, there will always be a party feeling like they are losing. Even when money isn’t being exchanged business can still happen.

6) The business bank account isn’t an endless fund.

A Bookkeeper and a CPA will be very helpful when your business is up and running. The P&L (profit and loss) statement allows you to see if it’s truly profitable. Only if you know what’s happening with your banking can you improve your business’ finances.

The real profit and loss (P&L) statement will show if it's actually profitable.

7) Tech can’t save a terrible business model.

Tech is just a tool. If something is doing badly, look at the business model to see what’s wrong. Changing your computer can’t improve your business. Examine your business model when things are faltering. 

8) You won’t be able to do everything.

Even though you’re great, skilled, driven, and the core behind the business, when you’re doing everything for a long time you’re eventually going to crack.

9) Learn to outsource.

Though it may be tough to fund when starting out, other people out there can help you distribute the weight and focus on running your own specialty. You can’t do all things. You need to trust in others who are high-quality and enjoy doing what you despise with your business.

10) The business’ most important asset isn’t you.

The most important asset to your business is your customers.

11) The top business skill you’ll get is listening.

Customers, as well as employees, the community, and the industry, are all worth listening to. If we listened as much as we talked or posted on social media it would be unimaginable where our businesses would be. Try waiting five counts before jumping in when someone talks with you about a thought. Listen when others don’t think you are.

12) Infrastructure is vital. 

Your goal is growing. You want more revenue, sales, and larger and more impressive customers. When growth comes, what will happen when our infrastructure can’t support it? When deciding to scale a business, you should think about if you have the capacity to make the change and if not, how can it be done. By focusing on infrastructure rather than charging forward, you will support all your future work.

13) A great team is needed.

Not everything can be done by yourself. You need to get good people focused on growing your hopes and visions. Many of your best ideas will be from people observing your ideas from the outside. A strong, energetic team is central.

14) If you can never empower them, don’t hire them. 

Because you can’t do all things, you will require people that you are able to trust to work for your business’ best interests. Hire well, invest in their training as well as mentoring. Good employees will begin well, though over time they’ll require your assistance. If you can’t trust them to eventually work for your best interests, don’t hire them.

15) Overnight success is impossible.

Overnight success simply doesn’t happen. Success instead is the result of a strange mix of failure and opportunity, as well as humility and tenacity. These things don’t come about instantly, no matter what others say.

16) Think like a customer, not a business owner.

Rather than looking at things like a business owner, look at them like a customer. This doesn’t need to be explained much. The best business successes predict customer wants and meet their needs in extraordinary and pleasant ways.

17) Be familiar with your most important client each day – you.

Remember the story about the cobbler’s children and their lack of shoes? You can’t run a business like that. Make sure to put aside time every day for your business. The first client each day is you. Remember this by putting it on a sticky note, repeat it frequently.

18) You're in control.

You are your own boss. When you own a business, the customers, suppliers, and government workers can’t tell you what to do. However, sometimes, especially on bad days, they can even tell you where to go. You still have the options and can decide.

19) You can build things.

Think of how satisfying Legos were as a kid. You can become a multi-national exporter, create a program for children increasing literacy, or make wonderful spaces of yards. Owning a business, you’re able to determine and create your dreams. 

20) You can assist people.

A corporate poll discovered over 96 percent of small business owners believed being able to make a difference for their clients was one of best things about owning a small business. Small businesses make a difference for people by creating jobs and acting as positive community citizens.

21) You might be able to have a flexible lifestyle.

Particularly for women, owning a business might make your lifestyle flexible enough to both raise your family as well as pursue an exciting career. There are starting to be more and more Mompreneurs. Since 1997, women-owned businesses have grown by 68%. In the U.S. in 2014, there were over 9.1 million women-owned businesses.

Young women aren’t the only ones able to benefit from owning a business. Those near retirement or who are retired can benefit from owning a business by keeping themselves busy while doing enjoyable things.

22) You may change the world.

We don’t have to look back much to find a business owner that brought change to the world, such as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. But to make significant change you don’t have to be a future Facebook or Microsoft.

Torben Vestergaard Frandsen created LifeStraw over 10 years ago as an individual, cheap purifier for water that now provides safe drinking water to countless people.

Making change in the world is quite a tough goal, but making a difference in a small part of it can still be very satisfying.

23) You can get more money.

Some businesses out there generate tons of money while other businesses don’t. Many successful businesses owners get a living, not massive wealth. Owning a business can still give you the potential of making much more than as an employee.

On an assembly line making widgets, you make a set wage. If more widgets are sold, you don’t get any profit from that increase.

Compared to being an employee, owning a business gives you more potential to make money.

24) Your lifestyle might change.

When you own a business, it is important to note that those in retail will find flexible lifestyles hard because of the nature of the industry. However, those who are self-employed instead of by someone else often will find other benefits.

The self-employed might benefit from tax-breaks on their income that employees can’t get, as well as other benefits such as income splitting, hiring family members, and working from home.

Lastly, owning a business may make you wake up on Monday excited rather than having to drag yourself to go work for someone else.

25) Invest at the beginning.

Setting up new businesses can be cheap or even free. However, you need to think about your brand. You need a quality logo, website, legal fees, professional fees, and technology. Though each piece may be inexpensive, it adds up.

  • If you are cheap, it can be apparent.
  • When you are starting out you have to put out a vibrant image.
  • Don’t make it seem like you’re cash-strapped even if you are.
  • Self-created websites can look strange and be tough to navigate, damaging your brand.

A good business plan is important. By knowing your initial costs, you can determine if you’re ready to start your business. It is generally advisable to reserve $5K to $10K for starting a new business. It may be easier to do the initial planning when you still have a job to fund it.

26) It can take 2-3 years to build a good business book.

One of the best ways to start a business is to immediately already have clients. It might take a while for referring and word of mouth to help your business.

You’ll need patience and hard work to build a strong reputation. This includes searching your network. Marketing can help expand your business beyond your immediate network, which you will eventually need.

Tools such as email newsletters, social media, and traditional public relations can be useful to consider too as you build your brand.

27) Be ready to sell yourself.

Many business owners don’t really like sales and just want to do the business. However, if you start a business you simply need to spend a lot of work in sales. You can never completely outsource this.

Clients inevitably change; therefore, you need to always be finding new prospects. You don’t have to be a super extrovert to get clients. An analysis of 35 recent studies covering over 4,000 salespersons showed that there was essentially no correlation between sales and extroversion.

Ambiverts, those straddling the space between introverts and extroverts, are usually the best salespersons. Most people are ambiverts, which means most of us are able to be effective salespersons and sell well

Many businesses change as time goes on and what you start out with may not be what you later specialize in.

You have to look at uncertainty as opportunity to be a good business owner. Accepting change means accepting risk. There is a strong case that being able to change is one of the most important skills for a successful business owner. You need to be able to take risks and live with uncertainty. If you only do what’s stable and familiar, you can’t be really successful.

It’s tough to do what’s unknown and risky, but that’s those who risk it get rewards.

28) Be ready to change.

Business owners have to do some of everything, particularly initially. You should like each function a lot, but it’s useful if the key ones are more interesting.

Owning a business may not be right for you if you only hope to dabble in sales, finance, marketing, and product development. Being a business owner isn’t just trying many different fields but knowing what to prioritize.

Far too many business owners focus only on the sectors they enjoy while ignoring other vital functions.

If you need help with starting your own business, you can post your legal need to UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.