Staff Insight's 8th Anniversary: Advice for Small Businesses
By Rich Bono
We recently celebrated our 8th Anniversary of opening Staff Insight LLC, which to us, was quite an accomplishment (especially considering the time we opened is known as the “Economic Crisis’ and the worst recession since the Great Depression). We didn’t know if we would be able to pull it off. Although the goal is to always have confidence in succeeding as small business owners, we did not know all the challenges that come along when starting your own company.
We are often approached by future business owners that ask for advice and insight to starting up a company and venturing out on their own. There are three general rules, if you will, that have proved helpful in us being able to continue to run our business for these last 8 years and continue to do what we love and be self-employed.
Set small short term goals. During these economically challenging times, a smaller business is faced with more challenges than ever before. Being goal oriented and having a solid business plan is valuable and necessary, but trying to attain very large goals too far down the road (although a good strategy), can seem like a constant uphill journey. Also try, “Taking it year by year”. We have found that setting short term goals for ourselves that we can accomplish for our company each year, is realistic, attainable, and motivational regarding our feelings of accomplishment. Do we have a vision of where we want to be years from now? Absolutely, but outlining smaller goals before then is a great way to stay motivated and acknowledge your success.
Balance In many cases cutting costs where necessary is key when you start out. If it means printing your own business cards, using second hand office equipment, or bargaining with a dozen vendors for the best price, then you do what you need to do to help your business profit. With conservative business practices in mind, be weary of being too conservative and don’t lose judgment when recognizing those times where you may need to spend money to make money. There is a certain element of risk when starting a business and the entrepreneurial spirit should not end as you run it. If there is an opportunity for the business to grow, and the return is likely to justify the risk, don’t pass it up! It’s about balance and knowing when to be conservative with your spending and when it is ok to invest in your business when needed.
Timing – There are many factors as to why a business venture will work. Timing is an important one. When is the right time to start? What business trends that are relevant now that will dictate how you should operate? Constantly staying abreast with the times and at what point in time there is a need or demand for your service or product is crucial. Timing factors in to so many aspects of starting and operating your company. Your research, knowledge and interest on what is happening today is key to having good timing in every strategic move you make for you and your company.