I’ve just celebrated my first year in business. I can’t say that things turned out like I expected, at all. But the day I read these words from Alli Price, founder of Motivating Mum, I knew that I should go gentle on myself: “The first year in business – you’re not running it – you’re learning how to run it”.
I know the statistics on business failure in the first three years, etc, etc. And while that terrifies me slightly, a quick check-in with my ‘big why’ makes me more determined to keep going and keep serving. With that, I want to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned to embrace in this first year of learning to run a business:
Get real with your goal setting
Make sure that the goals you set create actions that will help your business move forward, not just keep you busy. Have someone keep you accountable. Write your goals down and regularly review and update them, but also remember that time and consistency will build momentum for your business.
Lots of learning opportunities
I love learning. So much so, that I sign up to insane amounts of courses and workshops and buy books and checklists and all that. And I’ve just realised that I have so many opportunities to learn that I could hide behind my learning for the next five years instead of taking any action. I have reached a point where I need to have confidence in what I have learned, and then move forward: trusting that I will be able to take on new learning opportunities as I need them!
Belong to a community
Branching out in your own business is something that takes a lot of courage, and you might find that although the friends and family surrounding you are supportive, they aren’t on the same journey. It’s okay to realise that you need to hang with some new people who can understand the ups and downs of business: you might find these people online, or face-to-face. You don’t need to forget your old peeps, just make friends with some new ones who can support you in your goals and challenges! (Side note: a Biz Mums Club is a great way to get support from a like-minded bunch of women!)
Don’t give up
I’ve been told it’s a pretty normal thing to have those moments when you just want to give up your business dream and get a ‘real job’. It’s okay to take a step back and check-in to see if this business thing is still what you want out of life. And if the answer is yes, but things still aren’t working, this is what one of my coaches said to me: ‘it’s feedback, not failure’. Take a look at what isn’t working and try to analyse where things went wrong. Get professional help or advice if you need it. Tweak and try again!
People need to know about you
Put simply, if people don’t know about you, they can’t buy your products or services. What are you doing to get your brand and business name out there to your target market? What are you doing to serve them and build a relationship with them? How can you reach the people who need or want what you are offering? Go back through all the steps above and think about them in regards to your marketing: what are your goals, what do you need to learn and how can you learn it, what wisdom or advice can you get, or partnerships can you create with your new community, and what are you going to do if it doesn’t work?
If you are like me and just starting out in your business journey, I want to encourage you to keep moving forward, keep striving to make the impact that you want to make for your customers and for the world. Stand up tall, keep learning, stay focused on your goals and find joy in the process.
Tanya Cunningham from Coaching Mum is passionate about empowering women to discover their purpose, and her business coaches mums to embrace their unique vision of motherhood. She lives with her husband and two boys in Canberra.