The worst (and best) advice for burgeoning small business owners
When starting your own business, all of a sudden everyone from your BFF to your Great Aunt Margaret will become entrepreneurial gurus. Not all of the advice will be valuable, I mean what does Aunt Margaret know about building a craft brewery empire? With so many well intentioned tips and tricks, you’ll have to wade through all of it to determine which you should heed and what you can leave behind.
With over 20 years in helping small business owners succeed, Derek Turner, Coast Capital’s Senior Vice President, Business Banking, has heard his fair share of both good and bad (in some cases very bad) advice. He recently shared the worst advice he has heard from small business owners and on the other side of the coin, the right advice.
BAD ADVICE: Get ready for the 24/7 hustle!
GOOD ADVICE: Strive for balance.
Yes starting your business is lots of hard work and there will likely be some long hours ahead, but a good business plan should take into account how you are going to sustainably grow your business without running yourself into the ground. If your business has outgrown you, congratulations! Now it’s time to bring in solutions to create efficiencies, so you can get some shut eye.
BAD ADVICE: You need something no one has ever seen before!
GOOD ADVICE: Differentiation comes in all shapes and sizes.
It is true that to succeed you need to stand out from your competition, but it doesn’t have to be the physical product or service. It might be price, quality, customer service, or distribution.
BAD ADVICE: Never deviate from your business plan.
GOOD ADVICE: Iterate, iterate, iterate.
A solid business plan is the first step to getting your business off the ground but that plan shouldn’t be set in stone. A static plan doesn’t account for new ideas and innovations, changes in the external environment, and opportunities or threats that you haven’t considered. A business plan is a living document and should evolve as your business grows, changes and matures.
BAD ADVICE: Avoid debt at all costs.
GOOD ADVICE: It takes money to make money.
Debt is a four letter word to most people, but the truth is there is good and bad debt both in personal finances and in business too. If you take on debt to build your business, it is rarely a bad idea. You’ll want to tap into the expertise of your financial institutions’ small business advisors but if taking out a loan means that you are optimizing some aspect of your business that will bring in more cash, that dreaded four letter word might not be such a bad thing.
BAD ADVICE: Don’t do it.
GOOD ADVICE: Small business ownership is hard, but also super rewarding.
Of course owning your own business is going to come with challenges and there will likely be times when you feel like throwing in the towel. But isn’t that true of anything that is worth doing? So, if you are passionate and think you have what it takes to launch your own business, then jump in (well, after doing your research and having the important conversations in terms of building a solid business plan) and DO IT.
Derek Turner is the Senior VP of Business Banking at Coast Capital Savings. Derek has over 20 years in helping small business owners succeed. If you have some questions you want answered by one of the experts at Coast Capital, Book an Appointment with us today!