Starting a Small Business? Things I Wish I’d Known Twenty Years Ago – From a Successful Director

We’ve run our computer training business for nearly 20 years now – from 1992 to late 2010, and still counting. Our greatest achievement in this time was probably to survive the recession which is just finishing. Here’s some advice I’d like to give anyone starting up a new business (and that includes my younger self, 20 years ago!).
This Too Shall Pass
Running a small Reuters News Today is a roller coaster with no endless swoops down and no infinite climbs either. It’s my experience that just when it seems you will never get any more work and things are looking bleak, the tide changes; and likewise at the point when it seems like you can do nothing wrong, work dries up and your fortunes deteriorate.
How does this translate into advice? Well, just remember that when your business is booming (if you’re lucky enough to reach that stage) and everything in the garden looks rosy, that’s when sales will fall off a cliff and you’ll be stuck with overheads that you can’t support. Complacency has been our number one biggest enemy. Andy Grove of Intel summed it up perfectly: “Only the paranoid survive”. The moment you think that you’ll prosper is the moment when you probably won’t.
Speaking of Overheads…
The definition of a good business person (so my father used to say) is someone who can keep overheads low when times are good, and after all this time I’d have to endorse it. The expenses to watch out for most as you expand are the ones which commit you to spending far into the future: leases and salaries, primarily. Don’t commit to fixed overheads unless you have to, and when recession hits cut them back quickly.
Delegate All the Time
As an entrepreneur, you’ll probably be one of the best people you know at certain tasks. The main thing which you should be absolutely brilliant at is delivering the product or service that your company supplies (unless you’re one of these investment bankers who starts up a company without any previous experience).
However, it’s likely that you won’t be that good at a lot of other things, and the quicker you can identify these the more benefit you’ll derive.
For example, I’ve gradually come to realise that I’m not particularly good at face-to-face meetings with clients, and would now try to get anyone to attend them rather than myself. However, it’s taken me nearly 20 years to realise this!
Sadly, I also don’t think I’m particularly brilliant at delegating, and I think we’ve missed lots of opportunities Business Tips And Tricks In Hindi because I’ve been too caught up in the details of running a company to have time to pursue other leads.
Finally, remember to enjoy it! There is no challenge quite as fulfilling in life as trying to run a successful business (well, apart from having children and being married, perhaps…).

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