Owning a business – especially when you start from scratch – can be extremely difficult. But after nearly 15 years of owning my own company, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The freedom that I have when I don’t have to punch a clock is amazing. I get to be around my family much more when I work from home and not having set work hours allows me to enjoy my mornings much more. Also, the more you put into your business, the more you get out. I worked a salary job for two years in my early career and found the harder I worked, the more I made for the company. Although working hard may make you shine for your bosses, it doesn’t necessarily translate to more income for yourself.
Owning your business can be an extremely scary undertaking though. Most people have no idea on where to start and how to make the business grow effectively. You have to keep in mind that a thriving business will not happen overnight. It will be a marathon, not a sprint. Put a very realistic goal on making your business profitable or you will cause yourself stress and anxiety that could close doors before you see the fruit of your labor. Save up enough money to get you through at least a few years of the “growing” phase and be sure to set and follow a budget to the cent. When I started my real estate career, I saved up for two years but began seeing great profit after year one. It is always better to save too much rather that too little.
Also, the “sphere of influence” is gold when starting out. This is basically all of your family, friends and acquaintances who would love to help support your business. Use a good CRM (customer relationship management) system to input all of their information and be sure that everyone knows you are in business. Your sphere of influence will be your best allies by telling everyone around them about your business. That is why it might be a great decision to start your business in an area you have lived in for most of your life. In the first year of both my contracting and real estate careers, 80 percent of my business came from my “sphere.” I also take great care of people who refer my business with gift baskets or gift certificates. Let them know how much it means that they refer business to you and they will keep referring. A small gift goes a long way.
Advertising on social media is a great way to get the word out. You can target the exact demographic of your business customers and give your business great visibility for a fraction of the cost of standard mailing. Never underestimate the power of a simple handshake and a business card though. I bring business cards with me every time I leave the house. When I see an opportunity to hand one out, I jump on it. It can be as simple as “Hey, let me know if I can ever help with anything,” or “Come down and check out my new store when you can.” In this day and age of constant digital bombardment, a small simple piece of card stock and a “hello” can be a welcome breath of fresh air.