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I wish I knew that before starting my first business...

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If you are in the process of starting your own business, you are no doubt feeling excited about the whole experience, albeit a bit nervous. It is so important to do as much planning and preparation as possible when setting up a new business. However, no matter how much effort you put in, there are some things you just can’t be prepared for. Let's minimise these shocks as much as possible by providing you with the things that most people wish they knew before they started their first business.

Your team is the most important thing – It is important to recognise that your team is always the most vital thing when starting your business. If your employees aren’t doing a good job, your business isn’t going to be doing too great either. This highlights why it is vital to choose your team carefully. While it can be very tempting to promise jobs to family members and friends, you should avoid doing this. You’re setting up a business, not a job centre. You need to have the best talent working for you. Simply liking someone is not enough. You need to make sure they have the necessary experience, skills, and insight.

Cash flow management is critical – The importance of cash flow management should never be undervalued. This is something that a lot of new business owners take for granted, and they live to regret it. If you do not manage your cash flow properly, you are going to experience periods whereby you run out of cash. This could mean you are unable to pay your bills, which could cause hefty overdraft charges. Not only this, but if you do not have a pool of cash available to you, you will struggle to take advantage of any opportunities that come your way. This could halt your business growth considerably.

It is okay to get help when you need it – As a new business owner, it can be very tempting to try and do everything yourself. You assume that leaning on others is a weakness or that you are not up to the task. However, this is certainly not the case. One of the key qualities of successful business owners is that they know how to delegate effectively. After all, there are so many elements involved in owning and running a business, and so it becomes impossible to do everything yourself. Moreover, it can be better to make the most of expertise if you are unsure about something, for example, you can use an online company formation agent to ensure you register your business correctly with Companies House.

The odds are going to be stacked against you – The odds are not going to be in your favour, and that is fine. You have probably already read the statistics about the number of startup businesses that do not see out the first year. Don’t let this intimidate you, though. Let it drive you to be more than just another number.

It can be very lonely – Although you may have hard that being a business owner can be very lonely, you have probably viewed this as an exaggeration. How can it be lonely when you are going to have people around you all of the time? Well, loneliness is definitely part of being a business owner, and it is something that no one prepares you for. After all, you are going to be responsible for the success of your company, you are going to be making all of the big decisions, and this can be a large burden to carry.

Growth does not automatically stem from activity – Last but not least, just because you are being active does not mean your business is going to grow. The more active you are, does not mean you are going to take your business to the next level. To do this, you need to work smarter. Taking on more employees for the sake of it is definitely not an advisable approach.

So there you have it: some of the things that most people wish they knew before they started their first business. Hopefully, you now feel a bit more prepared for the journey that is ahead of you. From making friends with the media to embracing professional assistance where required, there are numerous steps you can take to make the process go as smoothly as possible.