By Doug Bennett (aka The Goals Guy®)
Unless you have a skilled team behind you when you start a new business, you’ll likely find yourself responsible for new tasks you’d never thought about before; you might also find that you don’t have the skills you need to successfully accomplish the vast majority of them!
You might, like I once did, avoid some of the necessary tasks that you don’t find that enjoyable or that seem to “take up too much time”. However, if you don’t set your business up properly from the outset, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed – and what’s worse is that your dream of “more freedom as an entrepreneur” can quickly turn into an 80-hour working week (where the golf course becomes a distant memory).
You’ll be relieved to know that it’s not all doom and gloom! If you’d like to find out five ways you can start a business and avoid overwhelm, read on…
1) Be proactive
I used to be an excellent procrastinator but I’ve let that slip 🤣 because I realised that it was causing unnecessary problems. As tempting as it is to say “I don’t know how to do that, so I’ll just leave it for now”, don’t.
Imagine that whatever you’re working on is an apple. If you aren’t keen on the taste of that apple and just pop it to one side so you can eat it later, what will happen? The apple will turn brown and start to rot. If you forget about it and just leave it sitting there, it’ll attract flies and maggots. It will be a sticky mess that you will have to deal with at some stage!
If you leave that apple to fester, it’ll end up being a much bigger job than if you had just eaten it, or thrown it away. In other words, take care of the task in hand because leaving it for later will cost you more energy and effort.
There will frequently be other new, exciting and more interesting things to work on in your business than whatever that apple represents, but grasp that task and deal with it now (or delegate, but don’t leave it hanging!).
2) Streamline your finances
By setting up a separate bank account for your business, you’ll save yourself hours of frustration. Otherwise you’ll find yourself buying business goods using your personal account and potentially getting your finances mixed up.
You might pay a business-related invoice from your personal account, or receive payment into your personal account. This might not bother you if it’s only two to three payments, but after a few months of repeatedly doing this you’ll realise, if you’re self-employed, that you will have to separate out all the payments from your own personal finances in order to complete your tax return (or else you’ll sacrifice all your allowable expenses that help you pay less tax!).
For example, if you earned £12,000 in a tax year, that’s within your personal tax-free allowance; you’d have no tax liability. However, if you earned £20,000, £7,500 of that is taxable; as a basic rate taxpayer, you’d pay approximately £1,500. But, if you have a few thousand pounds of allowable expenses, you’d now have to trawl through your bank account and search for your business incomings and outgoings.
Keep it simple: open a separate digital bank account (you might like to consider Starling). Even if it’s not a business one, at least create an account that is solely for business use; and file your receipts in one place too!
3) Create systems and processes
A few years ago, a tradesman completed some work at my house; it then took him more than three months to send an invoice. If you’re running a business, you need to be on top of your cash flow!
Think about the service that you are offering. What systems or processes can you put in place to help your business run seamlessly?
Do you need to send clients a link to a video? Do you need to book people in for appointments? I use Calendly to book in my coaching clients.
Decide what your terms and conditions (payment, cancellation, contract etc.) are going to be and create a system that supports them. If you depend on your income each month (i.e. you don’t have big savings), then you can’t afford to rely on the “karma police” to chase down your clients. Use an online payment facility like PayPal or Stripe.
Think about the best systems to support your business from the get-go, because once you are client-facing you’ll have less time to mop up any chaos!
4) Tap into your own network
We touched on the importance of tapping into your own personal and professional connections in my recent blog 7 Networking Tips That Get Great Results (Without Making You Cringe), but it’s amazing how often people overlook it!
I’ve recently worked with two coaching clients who each have more than 700 contacts stored in their phone who might be interested in the product or service that they have to sell, yet both clients felt that they had to meet new people.
For example, if you’re a will writer and you know that 70 per cent of your phone contacts don’t have a will, that’s the obvious place to start! It doesn’t matter if you’re a hairdresser or a plumber, you will already have direct access to people who might be thrilled to hear and buy from you!
The friends and acquaintances you’ve already connected with know, like and trust you (hopefully!), so why squander precious time trying to build rapport in a new circle of people? Reach out to the people you know, and trust that once they become a happy customer they will help you generate new business.
If you find yourself stalling to pick up the phone and make a prospecting call, remember the phrase “acres of diamonds”. It’s the title of a book by Russell H. Conwell which explores the idea that we don’t need to look elsewhere for opportunity, achievement or fortune because the resources we need are present in our own community.
Hopefully if you’re a service-based business owner, you’ll already be familiar with my book Think Simple Win Big: How to Build the Business of Your Dreams With a Few Simple Goals. However, even if you haven’t read it yet, know that thinking simply is one of the best ways to win big. You don’t need to make anything complicated to run a successful business.
I hope this blog has given you plenty of food for thought (apple anyone?) when it comes to setting your new business up for success. If you’d love my professional support and advice around goal setting, or some coaching to get your startup off the ground, send me an email at email@example.com. Or why not book a discovery call while they’re still free?