“I’ve done this as my career, I know how to do this in my own business.” – Don’t be this person.
You have to be somewhat naïve to start a business. For most business owners, had they known what was coming, they wouldn’t have done it.
Two of my biggest personal learnings as an entrepreneur are: get more consultation and be more conservative.
Consultation – think of every person you have in your network. Think of what value a conversation with them could bring to your business. Seriously, write it out. Then meet with as many of them as possible.
I took many meetings before launching my business to “pick brains” of previous colleagues, but I left a lot on the table. There are people I met with that I only thought of how they could have helped after the fact. Had I consulted my buddy about media buying in Los Angeles vs Chicago, this could have been the difference of early retirement vs bankruptcy for me.
If you know multiple people who do media buying – consult them all. Multiple financial gurus – consult them all. Multiple public relations experts – consult them all. Ask your network, who else they know who could help. Do not underestimate the value of advice.
Conservative – whatever you would project in your previous career with an established company, cut that expectation in at least half. Have you managed big budgets in the past? Yes. Have you managed your entire P&L and been successful? Yes. Have you launched new products to new clients within your previous company? Yes. This isn’t enough to succeed. My best business advice is you need to be conservative.
Even if deep down you know you can hit certain targets and you’ve never fallen short of those projections before. Starting a new business entirely on your own is different. There will be challenges you never had to deal with before. There will be more time sucked into things you never thought about. There’s no way you can know all things always. Give yourself the wiggle room.
Great leaders don’t try to get everything right on their own.