Things I Didn't Know When Starting My Business

In a recent con­ver­sa­tion with oth­er busi­ness own­ers, we start­ed talk­ing about things we had no clue about when we start­ed our first busi­ness­es. It was a fun­ny, enter­tain­ing, and com­fort­ing con­ver­sa­tion. It was reas­sur­ing because some­times we for­get we aren’t the only ones learn­ing new things on the job. (And in this case, the job” is build­ing and run­ning the business.)

I decid­ed to share some of the things I thought of while pon­der­ing this ques­tion. So here are some things I didn’t know when start­ing Focus Lab:

  • How much I could learn from books on both broad and spe­cif­ic topics
  • How much I couldn’t learn from books and just had to experience
  • How afford­able — and valu­able — good legal coun­sel could be
  • How afford­able — and valu­able — good tax and finan­cial coun­sel could be
  • The key dif­fer­ences between 1099 con­trac­tors and W‑2 employees
  • How busi­ness tax­es work (even at a high level)
  • How to read a bal­ance sheet
  • How to read a P&L
  • How easy it would be to hire an employ­ee (For some rea­son I assumed it was a com­pli­cat­ed process, but it isn’t.)
  • How dif­fi­cult it would be to fire someone
  • How dif­fi­cult it would be to hold some­one accountable
  • How much time I would need to spend learn­ing to under­stand peo­ple better
  • How quick­ly some friends and fam­i­ly would assume I’m rak­ing in cash
  • How valu­able a coach would be
  • That there would be so many oth­er busi­ness own­ers will­ing to share their strug­gles and lessons learned
  • That I would feel gen­uine enthu­si­asm see­ing team mem­bers move on into the next phase of their career after Focus Lab (even if I was sad to see them go).

When I decid­ed to share this post, I asked some oth­er busi­ness own­ers on Twit­ter and Face­book the same ques­tion. So here are some­thing things oth­er busi­ness own­ers didn’t know when start­ing their first business:

  • That when some­thing bad hap­pens, it’s not the end of the world, and some­thing good always shows up.
  • The roller­coast­er effect.
  • The types of real-life expe­ri­ences I’d be able to direct­ly or indi­rect­ly sup­port team mem­bers through. (Mar­riage issues, deaths in the fam­i­ly, mis­car­riages, med­ical diag­noses, etc.)
  • How much time I would spend remind­ing team mem­bers of things already dis­cussed. (Not because they aren’t pay­ing atten­tion, but because humans nat­u­ral­ly need to be remind­ed of things.)
  • How expen­sive sig­nage could be.
  • How many types of insur­ances the busi­ness would end up with and how much the pre­mi­ums could cost.
  • Cash flow is the most impor­tant thing to learn in busi­ness — not profit.
  • There’s no such thing as a silent part­ner,” nor a one-time investment.”
  • Busi­ness devel­op­ment or lead generation
  • I didn’t real­ize what a chal­lenge it would be to build a good team. Employ­ing peo­ple has been my biggest les­son so far.
  • Man­age­ment Skills
  • Cash flow management
  • How impor­tant rela­tion­ship skills are! Lis­ten­ing (real­ly lis­ten­ing) and talking/​writing are fun­da­men­tal to deliv­er­ing value.

And my per­son­al favorite:

  • All of it…..


Why share all of this?

Some­times peo­ple want to start a busi­ness but feel like they don’t have enough answers yet. My hope here is to show that you can have many unknowns and still suc­cess­ful­ly begin some­thing. You’ll learn along the way. Some­times you just need to take that leap and get going.

Have a ques­tion you want to run by some­one already rid­ing that roller­coast­er? Feel free to hit me up.

Tags for this entry: business getting started

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