Top Ten things I wish I had known before starting a business


A friend requested I write this article. These are in no particular order.

1) Cash is King, Queen, Jester, and everything else. 

The most impressive balance sheet won't save you from an empty bank account. Organic growth requires a significant amount of cash; which leads to point #2.

2) Growing a business is harder than you think

If asked my number one challenge in business, I would say growth. It's always hard to grow - but paradoxically it's hard to resist the urge to grow. Managing growth while keeping the eye on the core business is a significant challenge. 

3) Get to know your service providers

Talk to lawyer, accountant and bank managers before you require their services; if you need help it's easier to ask for it if they already know you and your business.

4) Use social media

Of course, this didn't exist as a tool when I started my company but in today's world there's no excuse for not reaching out to prospective partners, employees, contractors, vendors and customers over social media. I particularly like Twitter for business purposes.

5) Networking

Get to know people, it's amazing what you can find out by simply talking to peers.

6) Avoid accounts receivable

Try to figure out a way to do your business plan that avoids accounts receivable. Businesses don't like paying bills any more than people do.

7) Partnerships

Consider partnering with others; it's a bit of a double edged sword but having the right people on a team with you can make a huge difference in your success.

8) Coaching / Mentoring

Find a business coach or mentor - someone that can bring you back out of the weeds of day to day life and focus on the bigger picture.

9) Business communities are small

Within the city of London, Ontario for example it's is fairly easy to get to know a lot of the great minds behind London's business, cultural, arts and governance sectors. If you have a positive reputation it will follow you. But watch out, a negative reputation carries the same consequences.

10) Industry assistance

There are lots of organizations, some of whom have funding grants, to help you out in the early on set of the business world. For small businesses, there is the Small Business Centre and Techalliance. I know in both the cases of SBC and Techalliance they are willing to simply chat with a start up - go talk to them about starting your business.

Learning what opportunities are out there for a hand up is something I wish I had done earlier in starting rtraction.

Those are the ones that quickly come to mind - did I miss any?

Posted via email from David Billson's Posterous