Starting your own business is an incredibly exciting challenge to take on, but it can be arduous too. 

When you have the success of the entire enterprise resting on your shoulders, there is no one else who can take responsibility for failures or point the company in the right direction. This can lead to many entrepreneurs quitting before they have reached success, as the scale of the challenge slowly reveals itself to them.

Indeed, while it is relatively straightforward to lay your plans out on paper, it is another challenge entirely to put them into action, so it is vital that you have a clear understanding of what will be required of you before you start your own business.

For example, it may be necessary for you to learn a variety of skills that you may not immediately associate with your chosen industry. When you have no employees, all tasks will need to be completed by you. This means learning how to perform basic accounting, marketing and sales, as well as having the patience to wait for your plans to reach fruition.

This is what you need to know if you want to start your own business:

You need to learn basic accounting skills

One of the many hidden challenges of starting your own business is that you will have to perform almost all tasks within every section of the company yourself. 

This means you will need to handle planning, strategy, production, sales, marketing and administrative tasks yourself. If you are not familiar with any of these areas, then it is crucial that you establish a base of knowledge in each area.

You should, for instance, learn bookkeeping and accounting basics which will help keep your finances in order when you are first establishing the business.

Hopefully, you won’t have to perform these tasks for long, because you will start hiring full-time employees who can handle them for you. 

Nevertheless, by developing these skills you will become a better leader as a result. This is because when you do hire employees to handle these jobs, you will know what it takes to succeed in the position. 

As a result, you are more likely to recognise the right candidate during the hiring process, give them all the necessary tools and resources to help them succeed in their role, and notice if they are underperforming within the role.

Starting a business is a marathon, not a sprint

When you first start a business, it is important to appreciate just how long it takes to make it a successful venture. It is a natural human tendency to become overly excited by a new project, burn the midnight oil trying to make it a success, and then become disheartened or even jaded when there is little response from the market.

History is littered with business leaders who experienced failure after failure before hitting their stride, and you should take comfort from that. Success in business is not the work of a moment and requires you to be incredibly patient when bringing a new enterprise to life.

To the same end, you should learn to conserve your energy levels. Running a business full-time can quickly leave you feeling exhausted and unable to complete daily tasks to the best of your abilities. 

Therefore, avoid the temptation to be a hero and attempt to finish tomorrow’s jobs today. It will only hurt you in the long run.

Study marketing

Marketing is the bedrock to the sustained success of any business. Once you have created a market-leading product and have the customer service to match, you need to tell people about it. 

Without great marketing, you will blend into the background and become an also-ran in your industry. This is especially true of start-ups, which naturally struggle to attract customers

Therefore, take the time to learn the marketing fundamentals, because it will inevitably be you who is producing the content at first. 

You should, for example, train yourself to perform basic copywriting, learn how to build online audiences using content marketing, and understand how basic human psychology works in relation to advertising (there are several great books on this subject which make this easy to grasp). 

Almost every great business leader is also a fantastic marketer. Figures like Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett might divide opinion – but that is exactly what has separated them from their competitors. They invoke emotion, which is the basis of great marketing.

Keep your team to a minimum

When you do start to hire employees for your business, it will be tempting to build as large a team as possible. This is understandable because there is a basic human instinct for safety in numbers, but it might hinder you early on.

The reason for this is simple. As a start-up, your cash flow will fluctuate wildly month on month. You might have a flurry of orders (after which you hire more employees) followed by a much slower month. 

This will narrow down your profit margins (or eliminate them altogether) and prevent you from investing in the right areas. 

Instead, assign as many jobs as possible to part-time freelancers who can provide similar levels of support without needing to be paid a consistent salary or given job security. This will also help you remain agile as you scale quickly. 

Don’t be intimidated by more experienced business owners

Lastly, don’t be intimidated by more experienced business owners who seem to have a better understanding of their role than you. Leadership only improves with accumulated experience, so there is no course you can take or mentor you can hire who will magically grant you the abilities of a more experienced business owner. 

All you need to do is work on your own skills, minimise your weaknesses and build upon your strengths. Over time and as you gain more experience of the corporate world, you will find it far easier to perform your role as a business owner.

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Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.