So, you want to start a business? You want to be your own boss and have employees answer to you. That’s great! But before you can get started, there are a few things you should know.
Yes, becoming a successful entrepreneur comes with plenty of rewards, perks, and financial wins, but like anything else worth having, it takes plenty of hard work to get there. Your success won’t come without some frustrating hurdles and obstacles.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most frustrating things you’ll face as a new business owner and how to overcome them to become the entrepreneur you’ve dreamed of being.
No rest for the weary
Having a tyrant for a boss can be a real drag. As an entrepreneur, you’re your own boss, right? Not so fast.
This is one of the biggest unexpected surprises that many new entrepreneurs face.
There’s a major gray area between your role as an employee and owner. There are no clear boundaries for when your day starts and ends. You’re never really off the clock — mentally or physically.
Say good-bye to the days of working a steady 9-5. You’re in charge now! And while this is attractive to some people, most ambitious entrepreneurs don’t realize the level of stress and responsibility that comes along with starting your own business.
While you don’t need to answer to a boss, you DO need to answer to unhappy customers, disgruntled employees, and vendors. Your accountability doesn’t disappear, it just shifts gears.
Being a business owner is risky. There are no guarantees that your business will succeed. What if people don’t react well to your product or service? What if you hit a dip in the economy? These are all things you need to prepare for.
Not only are you dealing with the financial aspect of business ownership but you’re now responsible for dealing with the daily operations of running a business.
One way to manage your time and tasks is to hire responsible employees that can help burden some of the stress.
It takes money to make money. Most people envision entrepreneurs as rolling in the dough. But it doesn’t start out that way.
The good news is, planning ahead can help you get there. Before you open your doors, secure financial backing and put aside an “emergency fund”.
In the beginning, you’ll rely on payments and daily revenue from customers and clients to cover overhead costs. Common expenses include inventory, rent, and payroll. But what happens when your cash flow is slow or clients are behind on payments?
Founder of Rent Round, Raj Dosanjh, explains;
“If your company sends invoices to clients, make sure you have a clear deadline for when payments are due. Late payments can complicate things and put you in a bad financial situation. This is a common complaint of small businesses that deal with big-name clients.
These big businesses don’t think twice about making a late payment. They know they’re good for the money – but that doesn’t help you at the moment.
Small businesses rely on consistent payments for day-to-day survival. A few late payments could mean having your lights turned off or getting an eviction notice.”
To avoid this hurdle, create a payment schedule and hold customers accountable for paying by the due date. If they don’t, you may need to suspend their accounts or cut ties with them if the problem persists.
If you can, collect payments before delivering your service or product. You can also set up an automated payment schedule to guarantee you receive your money on time.
Time is money
When you’re the boss you get to sit behind the scenes, put your feet up, and just watch the cash flood in, right? Wrong!
Successful entrepreneurs roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty right alongside their employees.
Most businesses start out small, which means a lot of the responsibility will fall on your shoulders to start. You may need to divide a lot of work among only a handful of employees — including yourself!
You’ll quickly become a jack of all trades. You may be ringing up customers, stocking shelves, running payroll, and running your own marketing campaign — on top of your other responsibilities. While this might be overwhelming at first, you’ll get a first-hand look at all aspects of your business.
As soon as you start making money you can hire reliable employees to do these jobs for you.
As frustrating as this is for many new entrepreneurs, it puts you in control of every decision from the bottom up.
You’re also creating the foundation for how you want your business run. After you put things on the right track, you can step away and let your trained employees take over.
Bite your tongue
The old saying goes, “The customer is always right”, and you’ll quickly learn that they are right, even when they’re wrong. Eating humble pie is all part of being a business owner and some days are easier than others.
It’s a sad reality that only a few negative reviews or customer complaints can do major damage to your business, reputation, and income. You may feel at the mercy of your customers.
This is especially true for small businesses where you may only have a few reviews. If one of the five online reviews you have is negative, you may see a dip in business. Bigger businesses can burden five, ten, or even twenty bad reviews if they have 100 good ones to back it up.
Customer complaints require your immediate attention.
Negative feedback is also hard to swallow as an entrepreneur. These comments feel like a punch to the gut. After a few, you may start doubting yourself and your business. You may think things like, “What am I doing? Was this a bad idea? Am I going to fail?”
Don’t let a few unhappy customers make you throw in the towel! Do your best to make things right and get back on your feet. Don’t make the mistake of feeling sorry for yourself or you may get stuck in a negative headspace and do more damage.
Negative online reviews are especially hard to deal with since most people Google a business before using them. That’s why you need to react fast and professionally. Don’t engage in arguments with anyone online. Instead, apologize, offer to make things right, and move on.
Remember, you can’t make everyone happy.
Act fast so that the negative reviews don’t linger online too long, unaddressed. This could deter potential clients or customers researching your business.
It all comes down to you
No one cares about your business as much as you do. That’s a hard reality many entrepreneurs must face. But the sooner you realize it, the better.
You put your blood, sweat, tears, and money into building your business. Your staff views it as just a job. And that’s okay! Lower your expectations a little bit and you won’t be left disappointed. Instead, task them with jobs you don’t want and you know they can handle. Then focus your attention on what matters most.
Unfortunately, your employees aren’t the only ones who might leave you wanting more. Vendors and third-party dealers may not share your same sense of urgency when it comes to delivering your products and inventory.
This means you may experience delays that negatively impact your business. Customers can’t buy items off empty shelves. The missteps that happen at the top of the supply chain could trickle down and negatively affect daily operations.
That’s why the best entrepreneurs always have a plan B. Be realistic about the things you can’t change. Don’t panic or let the stress overwhelm you and avoid taking vendor delays personally.
Remember that your suppliers have their own priorities, too.
Check your emotions at the door
You need a thick skin and a strong, business mentality to succeed as a business owner. There’s no time for hurt feelings or getting offended.
But don’t confuse not getting offended with not being passionate about what you’re doing. You still need to be invested in the success of your company, but don’t let outside negativity blur your vision for success. Check your ego (and your emotions) at the door.
Negative feedback can feel like a personal attack but it’s actually a beneficial learning experience for many entrepreneurs. It unmasks what areas of your business need improvement. This may be your customer service skills, website design, or marketing ads. Be open to the idea that there’s always room for improvement.
It can be difficult to check your emotions at the door when you’ve invested so much time and energy in getting your business off the ground.
It’s important not to get discouraged. Remember, the investments you make now will pay off in the future.
Check your emotions at the door and focus on success. Take one day at a time and you’ll be surprised at how quickly things take off.
Now that you know six of the less glamorous things about being an entrepreneur, you can prepare to face them head-on. When times get tough and you’re feeling discouraged, remember why you started.
Focus on the end game. Giving up will hurt a lot more than failing.
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- 6 Not So Glamorous Things About Being an Entrepreneur - May 23, 2020