Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

What We Wish We’d Known Before We Started Our Own Businesses

When it comes to starting a business there is no roadmap, no Yellow Brick Road, no secret recipe that will guarantee you success going forward. That being said, there’s no point in going in completely blind.

So, let’s dissect the three of the top pieces of advice that business owners wish they’d known before they first started out.

There’s No Glory in Going it Alone.

At the end of the day when you cross the finish line as a business owner, there are no special prizes given for doing everything all on your own with no assistance, no gold medals to be handed out for going it alone, no special commendations for having ignored advice and done everything exactly your own way. So, ask for help whenever you need it, whenever you want, have someone you can check in to make sure you’re on the right track. Reach out to other business owners, friends, family members, former co-workers. Ask for advice from anyone who will listen to your concerns.

It’s often a good idea to get yourself a professional mentor. You could approach someone already within your network that you admire and whose career path you wish to emulate or alternatively you could apply for a more traditional, professional mentorship. To learn more about professional mentorships, how to find one and how to nurture the relationship check out this article.

Insurance is important.

Like death and taxes, the fact that you’re going to constantly need to be applying for more and more insurance is one of life’s inevitabilities. As a business owner, it’s important that we make sure we’re covered in the event of the unexpected. Many insurance providers, like NRMA, provide business insurance that caters for a wide range of industries. No matter what type of business you’re beginning you’ll need some form of insurance whether that’s Public Liability Insurance, Professional Indemnity Insurance or General Business Insurance is something you’ll have to find out.

Public Liability Insurance covers you and your business in the case that a third party injures themselves or damages their property on your premises or services. This insurance protects you against being sued for negligence although how much cover you actually need depends on the location of your business and the type of services you provide. Professional Indemnity Insurance provides you with cover against claims or injury, financial loss or property damage due to the professional service you performed. This insurance policy prevents a mistake or omission from gravely costing your business. General Business Insurance is best suited to those providing professional services such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects and real estate professionals. Do some research and find out what type of insurance you’ll need for your business and then get a policy straightaway. It’s important.

Find A Niche & Stick To It. Don’t Put The Cart Before The Horse.

A common mistake that most new business owners make is trying to do too much too soon. Trying to do it all is the fatal flaw, the kiss of death so, when you’re starting out, you should pick one thing you’re going to do and do it amazingly. It’s often said that there’s nothing new under the sun. This means that as a new business owner you’ve got to determine what you’re going to do as a business and find a way to do it differently to everyone else, better than everyone else. There’s no point opening an independent coffee shop directly next door to a Starbucks and trying to blend in – you have to make yourself stand out!

A second related piece of advice: don’t put the cart before the horse.  In business terms, don’t expand beyond your means before you’re ready. Hold your horses, slow down, once you’re ready to expand it will come naturally – don’t try and force it. You have to focus on building up the fundamentals first before you take over the world. If you’re pretty sure you’re ready to expand but want to make sure, check out this article from Forbes Business Council about the telltale signs your business is ready to expand.

Starting a business is a truly exciting time for any young entrepreneur, however, it is also immensely challenging. So heed the advice of others who have come before you. If you can ask for help when you need it, make sure you cover your back and do things at your own pace then you’ll be just fine.

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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