5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Going in to Business
1) Friends are not always the best partners
The idea sounds great, the energy is high, the lightbulbs are going off, high fives all round…
Me, many moons ago when I went into my first real joint venture.
It didn’t last long. Quite simply none of us knew how to run a business. And that’s fairly fundamental when you’ve invested into a partnership.
In the end, 3 into 2 simply didn’t go and something had to give. It was me.
The biggest lesson from this one? Ask the awkward questions…
Challenge everything, work out the downside first. Because with friends and family the easy option is not to offend anyone, to nod and agree, to not dig deeper.
But believe me, when crunch time comes around and those walls are coming down, the conversations are a lot more awkward than they could have been at the beginning.
2) Self Belief is Everything
Sounds like a cliche, seen it all before on those motivational social media posts.
But it’s true…
The dark clouds do arrive, the self doubt creeps in, the exit door looks very attractive. And suddenly you feel like the loneliest person in the whole world.
So you need the self belief, and you need to go back to your ‘why’ - the reason why you started this thing.
If it was a throwaway business, just something on the side for a few extra quid, then it might not matter.
But if you’re doing this for a greater cause, to better yourself, to live the dream, to build a legacy, then you’re going to have to dig deep and believe it really is possible.
Mindset is everything in the entrepreneur game, it’ll either work for you or against you.
3) Customer Service Really is King
You can have the best product in the world, better still if it’s backed up with exceptional customer service.
Doesn’t matter which product or service you offer, someone will always try and do it better (or cheaper).
But if you’ve built up customer (brand) loyalty through added value customer care, then you’re in the best position to take on the competition.
It’s all too easy to sell mass commodities and join the race to the bottom. The real work is in building up and serving your followers.
4) Opportunities Happen at Intersections
7,000 feet above France. I’m chatting to my co-pilot about our various businesses, when we realise we’ve just stumbled on a massive gap in a market.
And nothing to do with aviation…
The shyest person in the world can start a business. They can work from the spare room at home and not see anyone, if that’s what they want.
But opportunity does not happen alone. If you want to scale, you have to get out and be around people.
My greatest ventures have always started through a conversation with someone else, and often in the most random places…
The person who loves ‘networking’ is rare. I mean who relishes walking into a ‘cold’ room where you don’t know anyone?
But that’s not what I’m talking about...
I’m talking about surrounding yourselves with the right people, moving in the right circles and quite simply, having conversations.
Explore, ask questions, listen. You might just be surprised at what happens and where.
5) Don’t Overthink It
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - do it!
The 5 Second Rule works brilliantly in both business and life.
Doesn’t give you a lot of time to talk yourself out of it.
I’m not talking about making reckless decisions, but if you’re on the fence and in danger of getting cramp there, just push the button and give it a go.
After all, what’s the worse that could happen?