Nobody ever said starting your own business would be easy (oh, wait ... now there are people advertising that all over the Internet!!) Regardless, with so many little details to manage in the early days, it’s easy to let things feel messy …
There’s the legal side of things – all the paperwork and fees and filings with various government entities. Plus, making sure you’re covered when you enter into an agreement with a client, customer or vendor.
There’s the financial side of things – opening new bank accounts, figuring out a tracking system (whether it’s simply spreadsheets or choosing from myriad accounting software options), and identifying just how much money you should be investing in your business to get it set up right!
Then there’s the product or service itself – what are you offering, who is it for? How will you package it? How will you deliver it?
And then sales and marketing – how will you get the word out about what you are offering? Which social media platforms should you be using? What should you be posting and how often? What’s your sales pitch? What’s your follow-up process? How will you retain repeat customers?
Ok, so when I break it down that way, it sounds simple enough. Or not!
But, with all the DIY tools out there, it sounds like it should be easy. There’s a blog post or an email series, or an online course out there that will teach you how to do anything from CRM systems to cloud accounting platforms to online project management! There are literally thousands of “experts” out there ready to tell you how easy it is to make your first six figures, or even your first million, following their proprietary system! But, when you compare – those “experts” are often contradicting each other. And, honestly, there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. So, with so much to do and so many choices, it’s easy to fall into overwhelm and inaction.
I find that people typically get stuck in one of three spots:
1. Which tool or training to pick?
There are so MANY! Which one is better for what you need? You could spin out for hours on research before making a decision!
2. What to do first?
With so many new skills to learn and so many details to manage, it often becomes a chicken or egg problem.
3. How to put it all together into one cohesive strategy that works when you go to implement?
Instead of working really hard to force all the pieces fit together, what’s the secret sauce for building a system that makes your life easier?
Here’s what I would do:
1. Start with the end in mind – what is the goal you are trying to achieve? Pick one goal, and only one goal, to start.
2. Work backward to determine what needs to be done in what order. Then break each step down into the simplest actions. (See my post on micro-commitments.)
3. Schedule each step out in your calendar. Set a time allowance for everything. If you don’t know how to do something, include the time it will take to research it and learn.
4. Pick the tools or trainings based on the budget you have, the time you have, and the quality or value of the offering. (Not sure? Trust your gut.)
5. Hire people to support you in the areas where you are weakest! For instance, if you aren’t so good with the finance side, get a bookkeeper asap. Don’t have the patience to learn how to set up your website and email client? There are so many professionals out there who’d be excited to do it for you!
Focus. Don’t make excuses. Don’t succumb to distractions. Unless there is blood involved, don’t deviate from your plan. Just spend the time allotted on each task. Check that one thing off the list. And move on.
Need someone to hold you accountable in this process? It’s ok to admit it … I do! That’s where mentors and coaches and virtual assistants come in. Because, if you can’t maintain your focus, you will not achieve your goal. So, do whatever it takes, even if you have to ask for (and pay for) help.
Now, get to work!
I want to see more small businesses make it past their first year! Helping people wade through the options and set an overall strategy and a day-to-day plan is one of the ways I can assist. Reach out and schedule a free mini-coaching session to see how I can help you in your business!