One of the traits of a great business owner is that they freely give back. They give back to their team, their clients, and their community. They also seek to help other business owners by sharing what they have learned! Since January is National Mentoring Month, I have been thinking about how, as a young business owner, I would have loved to have access to what I know now.
I decided to share these thoughts by writing to my younger self.
This turned out to be a bit more difficult that I thought; there is a lot I would have liked to know about how to run a successful business! (Actually, I wrote a book on this very topic!) However, I boiled it down to three main topics.
Early on in my career as a business owner, I struggled with staffing. As many business owners do, I relied on the “hire and hope” method – hire team members and hope with everything they worked out.
I brought on a number of team members that I thought were going to be amazing. I built out materials for them, trained them, and expected great things.
Unfortunately, much of the time those “great things” did not materialize.
That really wasn’t their fault though; the problem was, I didn’t know what I was looking for. I was not clear on the job description or who I needed to fill the position.
Later, I learned to get clear on both what the job entailed and who I needed to take that role. It made all the difference! Now, I love having the opportunity to build out my team and bring people on board that will help me reach my vision of helping busy business owners truly thrive.
The second – but equally as important – thing I would tell my younger self is how to plan effectively.
This primarily centers around knowing how to write, read, and follow a business plan. (Knowing how to do that 15 years ago would have made life a lot easier!)
Having a solid business plan gives you a foundation to work from as well as a vision to work toward. It helps you stay on track when your schedule gets busy, and it helps you pivot effectively when you need to!
However, there is more I would share when it comes to planning. A business plan is essential, but being able to pull people in and have some fun is important as well!
You want your business to be profitable and grow, but you also want to be able to make a difference – and to have a business that allows you to live the life you want to live. You want to work with a team that is passionate about helping you serve your clients, reach your goals, and thrive right along with you. Effective planning helps you accomplish this!
As a business owner, you are likely used to the hustle. Much of your focus is probably on reaching new prospects, developing relationships, and bringing in sales.
But are you profitable? And are you able to enjoy that profit?
Early on, I worked my tail off. I sacrificed, like many business owners do, to build a business that could succeed.
However, I really didn’t have a plan for what to do with the money that came in. Much of it went straight into the business – and I kept working until I was ready to drop.
Somewhere along the line, I found the Profit First system, and it made a world of difference. I still work hard – as does my team – but now we do so with a solid plan. I invest back in my business, of course, but I also make it a priority to take a profit from my business and to equip my team to give back in various ways.
There are, of course, other things that I would like to share with my younger self – probably far too many to fit in a blog post – but these are the essential nuggets that would have really made a difference early on.
I would love to know – as a business owner, what would you share with your younger self? If you are just starting out or in a period of growth, what would you like to know? Feel free to join the discussion in our Facebook group – we are here to support you!
Kristen David, a former trial lawyer and partner who went from working 85 hours a week and taking home way too little money in her law firm, built it up to a million-dollar-plus business, then sold her shares and pivoted into a business coach guru. She is now an international speaker, bestselling author, and operates a successful business, empowering business owners to build thriving, profitable businesses that are self-managed with systems. She helps busy business owners build those systems by implementing policies and procedures the Fast Track Way.