Entrepreneurial tips for your business

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Entrepreneurial tips for your business

According to Abha Bhattarai’s Washington Post article – American entrepreneurship is on the rise – dated September 14, 2023, “applications for new businesses spiked to an all-time high in July 2020, when more than 550,000 Americans filed paperwork to start their own companies, census data shows.” While this is great news for those who want to start their own business, operating one and having it flourish requires a particular set of skills.

I established my consulting business, Yasenny, LLC. in 2013. Just as it was starting to take off, the pandemic hit. I was thrown – like many of us – into the great unknown. I learned some valuable lessons that helped keep my business alive during that difficult time. Since the world had never experienced anything like that before there was no one to turn to and no research or resources to access making for a lot of trial and error!

I am happy – and proud to say – that Yasenny, LLC. is thriving. It hasn’t been an easy couple of years, but we made it out of the storm. I want to share the top tips I learned along the way in case you are considering opening your own business or you need a little fuel to light you up!

If you are in business for yourself or are considering owning one, it is necessary that you are first and foremost passionate about the service/product you offer. I also feel that you should be as close to an expert as possible. The other elements of running a business don’t require you to know it all. What I discovered is that you don’t have to know everything about everything when it comes to your entrepreneurial endeavors. The skills I learned, and continue to sharpen today, have nothing to do with the business I provide. They are skills that I had to practice to maintain my business.

Tips for Entrepreneurs

  1. Know your numbers! You must have a budget for your business. Keeping a budget helps you keep from overspending and spotlights the areas you are spending your money on. This area of your business must be black and white. You cannot think in broad stroke terms like, “my monthly payroll tax is about $400 give or take.” You must be specific. Know what is coming in and what is going out. You may have a CPA do your taxes, but you should have an idea of your cash flow, and your profit and loss statement. For some of you this may be a difficult area to learn. My advice is to ask questions, take your time, and carve out a plan on how often you will review your books. Being on top of your money will tell the truth about how your business is performing. You will never have to second guess if a product is doing well, or a marketing campaign was successful. Your numbers will not lie!
  2. Learn how to sell your brand. As a business owner, you are the face of your company. Your ideas, your dreams, your vision are all wrapped up in it, which means you need to be able to clearly share with others what you do and who you are. If you find it difficult to shake hands with strangers or give an elevator speech, it’s time to brush up on those interpersonal and public speaking skills. Join a Toastmaster group if you need help organizing your thoughts and developing and sharing your story. You are the top dog now, and you will have to start acting like it! No one will care for your business as much as you do, and you need to be able to sell your brand and yourself!
  3. Find a Mentor. It doesn’t matter if you have 30 years of experience in a corporation, once you are a business owner all bets are off! Be proactive in your “on the job training” as an entrepreneur and find a business owner who is willing to bounce ideas/brainstorm/answer questions you have. There is a learning curve when you go from being an employee to being an owner. Just like those corporations who have training departments to onboard new hires, you will need some Basic 101 training whenever you are stuck in a situation. You will need guidance and oversight if you want your business to grow. Some chamber of commerces and community colleges offer incubator labs for small businesses. Seek them out and connect. You never want a small concern to develop into a big problem because you didn’t address it. Look for the leaders and pick their brains!
  4. Look at your business, the market, and your competition from 20,000 feet! You oversee all parts of your business and with that comes the responsibility of understanding your company’s place in the market and who you are up against. Getting the pulse of how things are going outside your four walls will help you pivot – if necessary – and plan accordingly. Don’t get too absorbed inside your business that you don’t look outside of it. You should do this exercise quarterly or whenever you sense something has changed in sales, traffic, or even a shift in your customer base.
  5. Experience the power of networking. For me, building relationships has become more important than ever. Whether it’s at a chamber event or working with a client I look for ways to connect with them or connect them to someone within my network. One of the harder things about being an entrepreneur is that you often work alone, which means that it will require you to make the effort to meet people. Building your network will create a community that can support and assist your business, plus it makes the work more fulfilling and social.

I am still applying these tips today, and I have begun to master them. I tweak them as things arise, and they have gotten easier the more I do them. Being an entrepreneur requires passion, strength, and lots of perseverance.

I wish you lots of success as you pursue your dream of being your own boss – all the best!