4 answers

What are some things you wish you thought you knew when you started your own business?

Asked Nashville, Tennessee

4 answers

Ashley’s Answer


When you own a business there is no 9-5 its 24/7. It is a constant worry and theres nothing wrong with that however you have to make sure that you manage your time wisely. With that you need to make sure you make time for you and your mental health. I worked for many years nonstop and although I grew tremendously I was burnt out after 3 years and ready to find a new career. Instead I made changes in my staff (got rid of negativity) and started to take a day off . On my one day off I do ZERO business work. I dedicate it to myself and my family.

Ariel, there are many things: - Make sure there is a market for that not just now but in the long run - Follow the trend of the economy and the politics where you are going to open the business - Understand what your target public actually needs and if they can continue to afford your product, in case a crisis arise. For the company I am one of the co-founders one way to improve the connection, the productivity also to have a break from work I found ways to create team building activities in which we would play, go to a place and after I would analyse the pros and cons, see how the team absorbed the experience.

G. Mark’s Answer


When I first planned to start a business, I was very naive. I assumed that if I just put out some information and ads, the business would come. Business takes a lot of preparation and teamwork. And teamwork includes funding, because without significant funding, it's unlikely you'll survive against competition in any endeavor that is likely to pay off enough to pay the bills. Unless you need no income and you're working out of your parents house, you will be competing against serious folks who are willing to put in huge effort. As I've said before, over 86 percent of businesses never make a profit at all. And if you end up being a small player, you will fail if you actually want to produce more than a bake sale or two. Another thing I underestimated was competitive research. No successful business stands still. As soon as you get competent at something, someone else is also competent or more so. So you need to evolve and learn and research, particularly in any tech business. I remember as a young mechanic back when the corporate guys would come around with paper manuals and instruction presentations, some of the guys would absolutely dread that. There was always a possibility that you would have to spend either long hours studying or at least trying out techniques, failing, getting confused, finding holes in the documentation or instruction or even bugs in the new products. I recall a new Chevrolet in the showroom for the unveiling that was a station wagon with a new tailgate that could open as a horizontal door or a drop-down tailgate. Brilliant design and very simple. It had two handles -- one for the "door" and the other for the "tailgate". And they were interlocked so only one could be operated at a time by a single operator. Until one guy's kids came in and worked the handles with one kid on each handle. They overcame the interlock and the tailgate fell off on a single pin, dropped to the ground and fell off. Now think if you were a single business owner and you introduced a product like that, and instead of a team of engineers jumping on the problem with work-arounds, you had to stay awake for the rest of the weekend or week or month figuring it out while the customer simply refused to pay you for a defective product. That's the risk of the small business person and the preparation and ingenuity and fortitude required.

Jessica’s Answer

I wish I read more books. Not just business books but also personal growth/leadership books. If you are starting a business, people will look up to you for direction and you have to be a great leader if you want people to follow. I also highly recommend finding a mentor who has created results and have them give you tips and tricks!

Gary’s Answer


We started a side business two years ago and what has benefited me the most is having strong mentors.  I have had several friends who have ran business from retail, to cafes, to service industry and used car lots.  The one thing they have in common is they have an incredible work ethic, they understand delayed gratification and they are willing to do what ever it takes to be successful. 

Gary recommends the following next steps:

  • Look towards small local business that are successful and ask questions about what they did to make themselves succeed.
  • Work on developing the skills listed above: Work Ethic-- Get the assignment done when it is assigned, don't wait for the night before it is due. Delayed gratification-- don't buy that thing today, think about if you really need it, if it is the best use of your money. Wait 24 hours, or a week, or a month and see if you really need it. Willing to do what it takes-- Just keep swimming, understand that there is not an option to not finish what you start.