Updated: Aug 18
The sad fact is that so many businesses fail within their first 12 months, not due to the lack of effort, but through the lack of knowledge in a key area of their business arena.
The biggest hurdle Start Ups face is not knowing everything about running a business and thinking it will be OK they will learn on the job.
Absolutely, learning on the job is crucial to professional development, you need to know why something worked or very importantly did not! The challenge that I see often too late for a business startup is that the failure areas where not in the core of what the business was created to do.
No-one is going to be expert in the four key cornerstones of a business and therefore in due course you hire professionals to do the job for you. The problem you face now, unless you are backed by a large cash pool that you can afford to lose part of, it that you need to turn your vision into cash and sustain it for the short medium and long term.
I have started 3 businesses and worked in many as an employee. When sitting with my clients during a mentoring session, I can see myself in the chair opposite, saying the same things they are saying to me, wishing that they had taken professional advice on some of the basics, such as marketing, company structure etc.
I will say honestly! Get your self a mentor, who is expert in your field of work, who knows the ropes, the pitfalls and the right way to do something because, just for now, you need to get it right first time as you cannot afford to throw money or time learning.
This is how bad it can get for a Start up who has passion, vision and skills to create an amazing product, but no commercial acumen at all. That is fine by the way...you spend wisely at the start on areas you do not know.
Jill, not her real name, came to me via a recommendation (as do most of my clients). She had handed in her notice, left her full-time job and was now fully in the driving seat of her new business. Her husband set up all the company details, accountants, bank, legal terms and conditions etc and she was raring to go, she had used her own money to get the business setup and wanted to be earning a good salary within 3 months.
Why did she come to me?
She had the vision and the professional help on the administration,however, she had little or no knowledge with buying and merchandising. She was great at sales and whilst this would be crucial to the success of the business, selling skills where not enough as her clients where looking for depth of offer and a price-point that matched the marketplace she was now working in.
She needed to start earning within the first 3 months and it was not happening. The product she was selling was to end users, in a very crowded marketplace and the competition online was really high! She had to sell door to door, face to face and likely she would be getting orders for perhaps a dozen at a time if lucky. She had no customer base yet and her client base already had suppliers in place.
We worked through all of this and we got a road map in place with the right numbers. It was so easy to get off the ground, but when there is a huge gap in expertise, then you do not have time to learn, you need to hit the ground running and take off, not crash. This is why so many small business that should succeed, fail within the first year.
When you create a business plan, BUDGET for the gaps in your business skills for a mentor who can provide you with that knowledge. Remember they are only there to get you off the ground, so not a long term cost, but a vital one!