This is one of those icebreaker questions you hear at a networking event. While it may seem cheesy to ask, you can unearth some pretty helpful nuggets of wisdom. So, what are the things I wish I knew before starting a business?

This exercise isn’t meant to discount the challenges we’ve all faced as working professionals but rather share tips with those working toward what we have now.

Will it save them from hard work or failure? Absolutely not.
But, it could help shift their perspective along the way.

Things I wish I knew before starting a business

1. If you build it they won’t come.

In a saturated industry or the overwhelming online landscape, simply creating something won’t put you on the map, so to speak. You actually have to find where your audience is and point them back to your website, studio, Instagram profile, or store.

2. Our expertise isn’t the focus.

Talking about ourselves doesn’t make someone want to work with us. Relating to the problem they’re experiencing and sharing how we can help them get to their ideal end-result does.

3. You really need to understand your audience.

If we want to show up where our audience hangs out, we need to really “get” them. Do they spend time looking at puppy videos, or are they researching six sigma techniques in their industry? If we want to relate to their problem, we need to know what their priorities are—family, safety, health, free time, and the like.

4. You can’t be the best at everything.

As a business owner, marketing director, office manager, or influencer, chances are you’ve become a “jack of all trades” of some sort. This is the nature of small business—we wear a lot of hats! While one person may have a lot of skills such as networking, crafting a quality email, running a meeting, and negotiating sales deals, it takes a lot of time and energy to hone skills in multiple areas. And, as we all know, time isn’t always available. So, rather than taking on several roles, focus on your strengths that most impact the bottom line, and hire experts for the rest.

5. Automation is your friend.

Whether you’re looking to eliminate the back and forth emails when scheduling meetings or streamline your social media calendar, automation can decrease the number of monotonous tasks. That’s why we love programs like OnceHub and Social Pilot and are excited to venture out with Zapier to connect our tools and create digital routines so we don’t have to worry about moving data around manually.

6. Investment pays off.

While no one loves the prospect of paying for something with no guaranteed return, it can be worth it in the long run. Investing in specialized software, templates, education, and other resources can save time and get you to your desired result faster.

7. Realize that failure is an option.

Failure isn’t a popular conversation starter, but it’s part of the process of owning a business. Put in the effort, fail, learn from your mistakes, and try again. Don’t take failure as an sign that you, your product, or your service aren’t valuable. Instead, reflect on what you’ve done so far, look for opportunities to tweak things, and make the changes.

Whether you’re new to entrepreneurship, ready for a more flexible schedule, or even a seasoned business owner looking to grow; understanding these nuggets of wisdom can provide direction and motivation on your journey to success.

Actionable takeaway:

Rethink how you’re looking at business, your audience, your team, and today’s market. And, seek out the resources, automated solutions, and education to become more effective in your role.

  • Do you wish you had a group of likeminded professionals to bounce ideas off of?
  • Do you need accountability to apply what you’re learning to your business?
  • Would you benefit from a digital strategy session tailored to your organization?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, you might be a great fit for our Marketing Masters program.