As the Gospel goes out about starting your own business, many success stories exist. There are also stories of failure. In both cases, you often realise that many people do not quite know what to expect. It is impossible to account for everything that you will encounter. Still, with the benefit of experience and research, we have put together a list of things that you should expect if you decide to go into business. There’s no guarantee you will experience all of these things but you will certainly encounter some.
Change, as they say, is the only constant. This is a hard-hitting life fact that hits even harder in business. Many people start businesses thinking they want to do one thing but the market pushes them towards another solution that it prefers. Technology comes in and changes the way things are done and affects business too; remember when only photographers and well-off people owned cameras? Change can also happen closer to home; customer attitudes towards the environment and law changes are two good examples. Change will come.
No idea is perfect. Criticism will come your way. If you’re fortunate, it will be small sporadic bouts of criticism but you may face a huge assault on your business idea, the way you do things, how you express yourself or something else. Criticism isn’t always wrong or bad but in all honesty, it depends upon how you derive meaning from it. So be prepared to sift through the criticism to find what you can use to improve your business.
You will do everything
To say you will do everything is taking things a bit too far, but you will be required to have an understanding of everything. A mistake that people transitioning from employment to business often make is thinking their understanding of one part of a business is enough. A business is a big picture. A friend of mine once quit his job to start his own business and went to his mentor for advice. The mentor advised them to go and get their job back and, this time, learn EVERYTHING about the business.
This next bit is counterintuitive but once you start a business, it is not enough. There’s a saying that goes, the more you learn, the more you realise there is to learn. This is deep. You will find that there is so much more to learn as you master things. Just as you start understanding marketing, you realise that selling is something else altogether. You start to understand selling then you learn there’s eCommerce. And so it goes.
Know when to get help
In connection with the last two points, it’s important to know when to ask for help. You will, many times, be in a position where the best thing to do is get help from someone who knows an area better than you. This is something you must accept and act on. Just two tips here. Firstly don’t go for the easiest but rather the best person to help. Secondly, it’s possible to outgrow people and this is alright.
Disappointment will strike
This is really a question of character and the most important one to answer before starting the journey. What will you do if things go wrong? Many people misinterpret the question and rather answer by saying things won’t go wrong. This is avoiding the question rather than answering it. Consider what could go wrong and how you will deal with it.
You won’t always feel okay
Constantly learning, accepting criticism, getting help from other people and always expecting change means one thing; you will not always feel okay. And that’s okay. There will be uncomfortable moments that seem to endure. To prosper, one must learn to be comfortable in discomfort. This doesn’t mean ignoring your physical or psychological well-being. However, you will have to be aware when uncomfortable experiences are helping you grow and endure through them. These make the last tip all the more important.
You will only ever have one first customer, one tenth customer and one hundredth customer. These and other milestones are all worth celebrating. It’s important because celebration acts as an acknowledgement of your achievements. So remember to note and celebrate these wins.
I sincerely hope you are better prepared for some of what to expect in business. I recommend you read Phil Knight’s (Nike) Shoe Dog. I rate it as the best business biography I have ever read and it teaches us all the things encompassed herein. Stories help make better sense of ideas.