Have you ever heard the term, “You’ll never really be ready. Just Start.” While this can help you get off the couch and start the workout you have been putting off since 2021, we don’t really recommend this when it comes to starting a business. As Kel, one of our founders, consistently states, “In business, you don’t need to know everything, but you do need a checklist of everything you need to know.” Below is our blueprint of what we have learned in our first year of Soigne’ for those who are looking to start their own business.
Everything takes longer than expected
When starting a business, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of time it takes to get things done. From setting up the company properly to developing a product or service to marketing and sales to helping your client|customer; the list is never-ending. We quickly learned that this is a marathon, not a sprint and that we needed to be patient and flexible with our timelines. We all know Rome wasn’t built in a day; the same applies to your business, so give yourself grace along the way.
You don’t need to have everything perfect before you start
The notion that you need everything to be flawless before commencing your endeavors is misguided. As referenced earlier in this article, that particular quote should be treated more as a general guideline than rigid advice. It is acceptable to make adjustments to your business approach during your initial year. In fact, you should be making changes along the way. We made numerous modifications in our first year and still are today.
The price point of your products or services is critical for sustaining your business. This not only determines yours and your employees income but the amount of cash flow you are receiving on a consistent basis. Without cash flow, your business won’t be able to survive. It’s crucial to have a good understanding of your expenses and revenues in order to manage your finances carefully.
You need to be adaptable
Take our word for it, starting a business requires a lot of trial and error. We quickly learned that we not everything goes as planned so being willing to pivot when this happened allowed us to make improvements. When things don’t work out the first time around, that isn’t a sign to quit or that you are incapable; it just means there is a better way. So, be open to feedback and be willing to make changes.
Networking is key
Whether you know it or not, you cannot be successful on your own. You need customers to make a sale, you need referrals to grow and you need to engage in order to increase your reach. As a service company customer service was one of the key attributes we focus on as referrals in our industry are gold. This also helped us to make valuable connections and learn from others in areas that may not have been our strong suit. Don’t try to do this on your own, use the help where needed and watch your business grow.
You need to take care of yourself
Starting a business can be stressful, and it’s important to take care of yourself. We learned that it’s important to prioritize self-care, such as getting enough sleep, exercise, and eating healthy food. It’s also important to take breaks and step away from work when necessary. This is something we are still working on, but in the long run you will thank youself because you will avoid burn out. For business models that cater to working from home, a useful suggestion is to implement well-defined processes for each service or task. Creating a management timeline that outlines the entire workflow from start to finish has enabled us to establish clear responsibilities and prevent any interruptions to our business operations, while also giving us the flexibility to pause and resume work as needed.
Automate as much as you can
One of the best practices for running a successful business is to automate as many tasks as possible. By utilizing technology to streamline your operations, you can save time, reduce costs, and enhance overall efficiency. This can be achieved through a variety of methods such as using automated software to handle routine tasks, implementing customer relationship management (CRM) systems to track interactions with clients [we started with Asana and moved to Notion], or utilizing project management tools to coordinate team activities. Automating processes allows you to reduce the risk of human error, which can be particularly beneficial in industries where precision and accuracy are crucial. By making automation a priority, you can free up more time to focus on high-value tasks that require a human touch, such as creative problem-solving or strategic planning.
Delegating is not a weakness, but a strength
Delegating work to others is not a sign of weakness, but rather a strength. As a business owner, it is important to recognize that you cannot handle every task alone and that entrusting responsibilities to others is essential for the growth of your enterprise. Delegating work can enable you to utilize the skills and expertise of your team members and distribute workloads more efficiently. By doing so, you can ensure that tasks are completed on time and to a high standard. Additionally, delegating responsibilities can provide opportunities for employee development, allowing them to gain new skills and take on more challenging projects. Ultimately, delegating work can enhance overall productivity, build trust within your team, and allow you to focus on higher-level tasks such as strategic planning and business development.
Mistakes will happen
We’ve learned that it’s important to own up to your mistakes and to more importantly, learn from them. It is always advisable to have contingency plans in place and to document all agreements in writing. This helps to ensure that you are prepared for unexpected situations and can provide a clear record of what was agreed upon in case of any disputes or misunderstandings. Having a plan B and plan C can provide additional backup options to help you stay on track in case your initial plans fall through.
Teamwork is critical
Starting a business is not a one-person job. We’ve learned that building a strong team is directly linked to the success of your business. We prioritized finding people who shared our vision and were willing to work together to achieve our business goals.
We could easily list more but these were the main areas we found to be applicable to anyone looking to start a business. Remember to be patient, adaptable, and willing to learn from your mistakes. Building a strong team, networking, managing your finances carefully, and prioritizing self-care are all critical to the success of a business. We are sure more lessons are coming, but we are so grateful for our first year in business. Thank you to all who have supported us throughout this beautiful journey. We’re excited to continue learning and growing as we stay Soigne’.
If you made it this far, pour a glass with us and raise them high for our first year in business.