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Top 3 mistakes when starting a business – Part 3

by Alison Bradford

(If you missed the other 2 you can read part 1 here and part 2 here)

Okay, so we’ve covered 2 out of the top 3 mistakes that people make when starting a business – drum roll please – here’s number 3…….

Not getting the right support

No man or woman can do it alone.

We all need help with some things.

You are amazingly fantastic and awesome at those things you’re great at (You know what those are, right?).

BUT there are some things that you down right suck at.

You may want to keep muddling through these things, thinking that maybe you’ll get better and quicker at it. Or maybe congratulating yourself at having a go and saving money on paying someone else to do it.

I know how you feel – I’ve been there too. When you’re new to business and you’re not making any or much money, every penny counts and it’s tempting to think that you’re doing the right thing by trying to do everything yourself.

This is a false economy

It can lead to you spending evenings on the computer as you spend hours trying to figure out how to build your own website and then end up with something that you hate.

It can lead to you spending your weekends working through your accounts, pulling your hair out in frustration whilst your family are off playing somewhere without you.

It can lead to you feeling isolated and your creativity stagnating as you work from home and don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off or to challenge you and hold you accountable.

It can lead to you spending your time avoiding what you know you should really be doing to bring in more customers as you waste time ‘researching’ on the internet or ‘building relationships’ on social media.

You can end up feeling busy, isolated, frustrated and wondering where it all went wrong.

Okay, enough doom and gloom now – how can you avoid making this mistake and get the support you need?

Outsource

Recognise those things that you suck at or hate doing and pay someone else to do them. You need to invest in your business and allow a budget for these things.

If you’re really struggling to pay someone else and working on really low profit margins, look at low cost freelancers on sites such as www.peopleperhour.com, or look to do skills swaps with other small business owners.

If you use Twitter or Facebook, let your followers know what you need help with and see if they can recommend someone low cost to you. Maybe you need a website designing and someone knows a student web designer who is looking to build up their portfolio.

If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Take a minute now to jot down the jobs that you need to outsource, prioritise them and start figuring out how you are going to outsource the top one to start with.

Take the plunge and try it out – just remember what else you can be doing with your time once it’s off your hands.

Networking

Networking isn’t just a part of your Marketing plan, it’s about getting out there, meeting other people in business, and building up your support network.

It’s about finding out that lots of people are struggling with the same things you are and realising you are not alone.

It’s about growing your own network and finding other people to bounce ideas around with and people you can help and who can help you.

If you’re not regularly going to a networking group then I strongly encourage you to do so. Even if you can only manage once a month to start with. It’s a great way of keeping you in touch with the outside world and overcoming feelings of isolation. Especially if you work from home.

Go and try one in the next couple of weeks. Be curious about the people there and set up some follow up 1:1 chats over coffee with people you want to find out more about. Don’t go to sell.

Mastermind Group

There are lots of different definitions over what a mastermind group is and isn’t. For my purposes here I’ll define it simply as a group of like-minded people who meet regularly to discuss their challenges, set goals and objectives and hold each other accountable for these.

Some of the people who join my group programmes often end up staying in touch to do this between themselves.

I do it myself with a group that I’ve done some training with.

Sometimes you can get too close and too involved in your business that you may miss what’s right under your nose.

This is where a group like this can help, along with problem solving and helping you to keep the belief.

These can be face to face meetings, conference calls or even on forums such as private Facebook groups.

Get a coach or mentor

I know what you’re thinking – well she would say that wouldn’t she?

It still makes it true though. Why would you choose to take the harder path and navigate by yourself when you can have someone there to help guide you, challenge you, teach you, support you and be there for you completely with no judgement.

It’s very hard for friends, family or anyone who knows you well to do this role as they will have their own agenda about what you should do and what’s right for you – normally thinking that they know what’s best for you.

Having someone with no bias to listen to you, ask you questions to open up what is within you, and sometimes to point out the blindingly obvious, under your nose stuff that you can’t see because you are too close.

Ask for recommendations, find someone you like and arrange a chat to see if it’s someone you feel a connection to and want to work with.

Tip – Don’t ever look to pay for coaching or mentoring unless you have spoken to the person first. Chemistry is important and you need to trust the person you end up working with.

Want some more?

Phew – that’s a long blog post for me! Off to grab a coffee now but if you have any questions or points to add please leave a comment.

 

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Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach who works with smart, ambitious business owners to get clarity about how they can grow their business and increase profit. Sign up here to learn 6 easy ways you can boost profit in your business today.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Elinor September 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm

A great 3-part series Alison. Loads of great advice. Networking is really useful but I’ve noticed it can become a real time sucker in itself (not to mention money sucker). Your post reminded me to really review some memberships and take a hard look at which ones have helped with problem solving and generated business and which ones are just not for me – some formats I like and others I find a bit repetitive. Love it when you get the chance to mingle. So thanks for the tips and keep up the great work.

Reply

Alison Bradford September 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

Thanks Elinor and that’s a great point to review the ones you go to every so often. There’s some that I found really useful when I was starting out but less so now – and new ones that are a better fit for where I’m at right now.

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Melissa Plimmer September 3, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Networking was the best thing I ever did for my business. Not only has it generated a lot of work for me, but it’s great for advice and support and always leaves me feeling motivated!!

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Alison Bradford September 4, 2012 at 10:44 am

That’s great to hear you endorse that networking has worked for your business in lots of ways.

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Catherine Graham August 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm

It is too easy to hide away in “a vacuum” when running your own business. Networking and sharing my experiences with others, along with outsourcing those tasks that others can do more quickly (and better) than myself has helped me grow my business without the frustration I felt in the early days!

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Alison Bradford September 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm

That’s great to hear Catherine, thanks for sharing.

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