Last October, I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own business. I had been working for other companies since 1976 and was used to getting that steady paycheck. With only eight months of money in my reserves to cover my bills, I knew that I was going to have to work very hard as well as smart in order to get my business generating the revenues that I would need.
Well, I am happy to say that I did it! I overcame the odds and I am excited that I was able to accomplish this in the timeframe that I had.
Quite a few people have approached me and asked how I was able to do this and what lessons did I learn along the way.
I decided in celebrating my one year anniversary, I would reflect back and share.
First, I had a PLAN. As mentioned earlier, I knew that I had eight months to start generating the revenues that were necessary so each month I calculated what I needed to close in business. I set weekly GOALS. At the end of each week, I reviewed to see if I had reached those goals. If I hadn’t, then I readjusted my goals for the following week. When you are working for yourself, you have to be accountable to yourself since you no longer have a boss who holds you to those expectations.
Next, I worked on my TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS. I only had so many hours in the day, and every one of them needed to be productive. I needed to make sure that I wasn’t wasting valuable time on tasks that would not be generating revenue. At the end of each day, I would review what I had done to make sure I was on track.
I learned how to ‘BARTER’ business services. This saved me money that I didn’t have to spend, but needed those services to operate my business. Some of the services were for accounting, legal, computer repairs, website design and printing.
I became a better NETWORKER. I saw the value of being in a LEADERSHIP ROLE of an organization and how it could add to my credibility. I spent time in educating myself on MARKETING and BRANDING and applied this knowledge to my website, brochures and in updating my LinkedIn profile. On LinkedIn, I joined groups and made sure I asked for recommendations. I also created a BLOG and wrote articles that would educate my readers.
I met with BUSINESS COUNSELORS at Score and the Small Business Development Center who helped guide me along the way. Besides counseling small business owners, they offer classes that are free or very affordable.
I began accepting invitations to SPEAK at banks, CPA firms, civic groups, chambers and other organizations to inform the group on alternative financing. This helped increase the amount of business referrals that I had been receiving. As some of you are aware, this was a huge accomplishment for me since I have always been afraid to speak in front of a group of people. I had to overcome this fear since I knew that public speaking would help promote my business.
And finally, I made a COMMITMENT TO QUALITY. I know how important my services are to my clients and my goal is to always exceed their expectations through service and innovation. I treat every deal as if I have one chance to make an impression and I treat every client as my only one.