Are you looking for a resource to start and build your business in the smartest most strategic way possible? There is endless information on how people would advise you on what’s important. In today’s episode listen in as I give my Top 5 things to do first as a new entrepreneur.
- Listen in to hear the five things every entrepreneur needs to have
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I started my business back in 2018 and when I did, there was a lot of information available to me. There is even more of it now, 3 years later. I wanted to be smart about how I started my business because I didn’t have unlimited resources of free time, energy, cognitive bandwidth, money— any of those things.
I wanted to be resourceful, start and build my business in the smartest, most strategic way possible. And chances are you do too.
We don’t like wasting time, energy, or money. And this episode is specifically for you to not try the throwing-spaghetti-against-the-wall technique which often wastes those resources.
There are millions of people giving you advice on your business, especially on starting one. When I was doing research for my business, there were countless articles, trainings, videos, blog posts that came up and I didn’t agree with any of them so here I am creating my own and putting my own point-of-view out there.
These steps that I am getting ready to share are geared toward new or aspiring entrepreneurs but if you are an established entrepreneur don’t turn this off yet. Because if you haven’t yet done these 5 things, I highly recommend you do them now before scaling your business any further. Better late than never, right?
- The first step is to validate your business idea. The last thing you want to do is to throw a bunch of money and spend a lot of time creating a business around solving a problem that actually doesn’t exist or to just add your name to the list of people who sell the exact same thing as everyone else. So you’ll want to do some market research. What are others in your field doing? What problems are they solving? What are people saying they need? What are they missing from the solutions currently available to them? Is there a need for what you’ll offer (if there are others in the field, that is a pretty good sign) and is there a gap for you to fill (are people who have this problem still dealing with it even after having tried some solutions)? These two questions are critical for success because it allows you to understand the field in which you are playing and how to position your business in a way that sets it apart from everyone else.
- The second step is to get clear on what you do and who you serve through creating a business plan. There are plenty of business coaches, gurus, and other entrepreneurs who are happy to share their opinion on if you need a business plan or not. Here is my take: If you are going to have investors, a board of directors, going on Shark Tank, or a business partner, you likely need to go through the process of creating a formal business plan. But if you are a solopreneur who is self-funded, you don’t need a 40-page business plan full of jargon that no one will ever read. A simple business plan can be exactly what you need to get the clarity you need and then… TAKE MASSIVE ACTION. And that is exactly what I talked about in episode 17: how to create a business plan that you’ll actually finish and use. And you can snag my free Boss Up Biz Plan template and guide to help you create it super quick.
- The third step is to set up the financial systems for you to accept money. Before I dive into this one, I do want to say that I am not an accountant or financial advisor. I highly recommend that you choose to have a separate business bank account from your personal accounts, no matter what the legal structure of your business is. And then have a way for people to pay you online. I personally use Stripe and Paypal as my payment processors and I like that combination for my business because it allows me to accept credit cards, e-checks, and for someone to use Paypal or Paypal Credit to pay me. You get to decide how you’ll accept payment. One quick note on payment processor fees: most payment processors charge 2.9% or some sort of fee for each transaction. This is the cost of doing business and you should prepare for it. Every time I log in to Facebook groups, I see someone trying to side-step that fee by using unauthorized payment processors to accept payment for services, which is a violation of their terms of service, or that they try to pass on the fee to the client, which is illegal in several states. To keep things simple, if you are going to accept online payments, expect those fees as the cost of doing business.
- The fourth step is to develop a healthy relationship with learning. One of my biggest values in life and my business is to always be a life-long learner. I think we are in one of the coolest times when it comes to access to information. The world is changing at an incredibly fast-rate and part of that is in response to the connectedness that we have. Being able to find answers to your questions quickly is no longer an issue. I listen to an incredible amount of podcasts and audiobooks, read magazines and books, watch videos and trainings, join programs and work with different people to level up over and over. But there is one thing that I noticed about myself and others who were life-long learners: when we value learning from others’ experiences and culled lists of best practices, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking they have it all figured out and we can just take what worked for them and implement in our life, in our business in the same way. And that doesn’t work. At least not long term. It isn’t enough to just devour books and hire a bunch of people to give you the answer. You have to be able to take that information, those best practices, and integrate it into your life and your business. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it but there is no right way to build a business. There is a way that is going to be the best way for you based on what your business is and how you are structuring it, what field you are in, the goals you have set for yourself and the business, your strengths, your dreams, your interests, your experiences. So part of developing a healthy relationship with learning is knowing when to look outside of yourself for inspiration, when to look within you for guidance, and how to combine all of that to create a way forward that works for you.
- The fifth and final step is to hire a coach. There is such value in having someone in this role, especially early in your business. A client of mine originally hopped on a breakthrough call with me before she officially started her business. She kept calling her business a “baby business” because while she had a successful corporate career, she was new to the entrepreneurial world. Within the first 3-4 weeks of working together that coincided with when she signed her first client aka the beginning of her business, she was completely booked out and had successfully raised her prices twice in that time frame. When she and I talked about her wins in such a short time, she said something to the effect of “I knew that I needed someone by my side to help me navigate this journey. I needed the outside perspective, someone getting me, my voice and what it is that I am wanting to create. Investing in my business from the start is what has provided me with the opportunity to have these results so quickly.”
I also invested in a coach early in my business, before I had signed my first client. And although it wasn’t the experience I was hoping for, I learned some valuable lessons about how to and how not to run my own business and how to work with clients.
Outside perspective can not only provide innovative ideas and a backboard for bouncing your own ideas off of, but also accountability to keep you on track. Accountability is actually the #1 thing potential clients say they need. Hiring a coach means that you have someone to help you map out strategic next steps so you are confident about how you spend your finite time, stay on track, and pivot when necessary to get you to your goals faster and more easily. That relationship can provide clarity in where you are and where you are going, how to leverage your talents and skills, to hone in on what’s most effective for you, and to encourage and inspire you to take action to get to your goals faster & easier.
I offer one-on-one coaching as a service to my clients and I only have limited spots, so if you are interested in me being your coach, I want to invite you to book a breakthrough call with me so we can chat and determine if I am the right coach for you. You can book a breakthrough call for free by going to erinhaworth.com/call
These steps are meant to guide you and set you up for success. You obviously can do other things as you work on these steps, but these have been the steps that have been most impactful in my own business.
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode: Grab a piece of paper. Draw a line down the center of the page. On the left side, write down the 5 steps: Validate Business Idea, Create a Business Plan, Set up Financial Systems, Develop a Healthy System for Learning, and Hire a Coach. On the right side, next to each step, write down a date by which you want to have completed or mastered that step. You have a plan. Now, get to work.