Starting a business can take a toll on anybody especially those who are doing it for the first time. It’s never an instant success as there is a lot to do and spend money on to ensure the business gains momentum. Customers are never easy to find, looking for service providers can be such a daunting task and most importantly locating trustworthy, hardworking employees is as hard as it gets.
Amy Balliet, a co-founder of Killer Infographics understands the challenges surrounding a business startup as she had her fair share of them while beginning her now thriving business. It took her and her partner only three years to establish their company which now has 20 employees. Their success has granted them the opportunity to work with big names including Microsoft and Starbucks. However, this great achievement was not a bed of roses for Balliett and her partner as they underwent serious struggles in the beginning. Balliett says that it was difficult to dig up for customers as well as find the right designers to work with. Thankfully they made it and are now enjoying the fruits of their labor!
Asked whether there was something she would have done differently if she were to start her business now, Amy points out the following four tips that can be helpful to fledging business owners;
1. Wear as Many Hats as Possible
In order to maximize on profit margins, it is essential for any aspiring business owner to wear as many hats around their businesses as they can. Amy calls herself the “Chief Swiss Army Knife” because she can handle lots of tasks in just one day. Versatility and flexibility is crucial in the beginning of a business start-up as this is what keeps the money in the company in turn allowing it to grow. Therefore, be sure to cover almost every desk and do as much work as possible for the longest time possible. Worry not, once your business picks up, you will be able to hire people to help with the work.
2. A Bookkeeper is Mandatory
Hiring a bookkeeper is one of the expenses you must be willing to spend on. Balliett says that she was in charge of all the accounting aspects in their company. She had to juggle QuickBooks, Excel Spreadsheets and other manual records while keeping up with them all. What this did to the company is leave it without any cash flow as there was no one to chase after client payments. Bringing in a bookkeeper was the best thing that happened to their company according to Balliett. It gave the company an opportunity to restore the cash flow and consequently grow the company.
3. Develop a Great Working Culture
As much as working at a startup is stressful, Balliett says that promoting a culture of encouragement and fun around the workplace works like charm. Employees need to be motivated even if they are not bringing in big bucks. If business owners can understand this, their employees will remain loyal even if they are not receiving any salaries at the end of the month. Baillett recalls a time when they were going through a difficult time financially. She says that not even a single staff member quit. They all stuck with them because they enjoyed working with each other. While Killer Graphics has become a hotspot, Baillett says that they would have achieved so much more if they had focused on this right from the beginning.
4. Set up the Right Business
During a business startup, the three options available include;
Balliett insists that it is important to do enough research on which kind of business to set up as this brought so many problems for her in the beginning. With little knowledge about this issue, they began their business as a C-Corp which had restrictions when it comes to how much money to keep in the bank as well as high levels of taxes. She wishes she knew better. Her advice to aspiring business owners is to get input from others to ensure they make the right decision.
Have you been able to start up a business and driven it to a successful level? Please share with us what worked for you in the comments box below…