An Expert's Guide For New Businesses
By Dell Gines
Recently I did some informal consulting for two new business owners. Like many new business owners, they were extremely overwhelmed.
What to do first, when to do it, how much to do it, what forms to fill out here, what market to target there.
If you are a business owner who has been doing it for a while now, you remember the feeling.
So after listening for a moment to these new business ownees, allowing them to vent, allowing them to express themselves to someone with an empathetic ear, I stopped them. I didn’t go into any long drawn out speeches on cashflow, business planning, or management, but I talked about babies.
You see babies are fascinating. From the time they are born to about one year old, they grow incredibly fast. Right now I have a nine month old boy, and he is just on the verge of learning to walk.
Just yesterday it seems, he couldn’t even hold up his head. Now he is scooting around on all fours, getting into places that he shouldn’t and in general making a mess of things.
Tomorrow, or in a few days, he will be on his two feet stumbling and bumbling along, falling on is fat diaper many times but getting back up. Then he will be a young boy, running and playing sports. When this happens those days where he couldn’t crawl, couldn’t walk, stumbled and bumbled around will be long forgotten.
What I conveyed to these new business owners was that everything new is difficult and challenging. Like a baby, as a new owner you are going to make mistakes, plenty of them. You are going to fall, you are going to get into things you shouldn’t, you are going to stumble and bumble along.
Use this whole process, like a baby does, to learn and grow. Understand that it is a natural process, and everyone who opens a new business goes through it.
Here are a few steps to manage through the ‘Baby Step Phase’…
1. Remind yourself you are a baby. Remember, mistakes happen and you may get an ‘owie’ along the way.
2. Focus on one thing at a time. Order the things that are most important in your business and work from top to bottom.
3. Have patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a good business. Consider extending out your time line so you have room to grow through mistakes.
4. Find a mentor. When you are a baby, it is always good to have an adult watching out for you and keeping you away from the fire. Find a business owner, banker, or retiree that you can bounce ideas off.
Remember, in a year or two from now you will be running, and those days of learning to crawl and walk will be long forgotten.
Grow & Prosper!
Dell Gines is a management consultant based in Omaha, Nebraska. He runs and blogs at Urbanceed.
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