By Evan Kelly, Sr. Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC
What’s the old saying? The only way to learn is to make mistakes...or something along those lines. But let’s face it, when it comes to building a business, regardless of your brilliant and marketable ideas, you’re going to make mistakes, lose some money, burn some bridges, and hire and fire the wrong people. Remember, the path to success is often paved by those who have emulated past successes. That said, mistakes will happen. If you mitigate those then success may be a lot smoother, and perhaps sooner.
What are some of the key things NOT to do when starting or building a business? I hunted around for some of the more salient tips for the Top 5 no no’s.
There’s another old saying...friends and business don’t mix. This may very well be true. Don’t rush into partnerships just because you and your bestie feel it would be an amazing thing if you could be friends AND business partners because you work so well together on so many levels. Beyond the obvious fact that if the business goes sideways, a great friendship might also, you want to partner with people who: a) Bring the right skill set b) Bring something new to the table c) Inspire you and d) Has less personal involvement in your regular life. This isn’t to say friends can’t work together, however, best practices would say avoid it if you can.
Don’t ignore your customers. You started a business because you have a vision and a mission. Your product or service might be exactly the way you want it to be and you chose to stand by it regardless of the storm at your door. But just maybe your consumers see something a little differently. Ignoring constructive criticism or reviews is a missed opportunity to better what you do.
Don’t do too much too soon. Let’s assume you put together a business plan...you did right? Your business plan is your road map to where you want to be. You don’t have to hit above your marks in the first year. Don’t fill your warehouse assuming buyers will come flocking. You run the risk of burning through resources and burning out. Pace yourself.
Don’t ignore setting up a separate business bank account. Mixing business and family finances can get confusing. The Canada Revenue Agency may have a pile of questions for you when it comes to tax time is these resources are not separate. Plus, your supply chain may look at you strangely by writing personal cheques all the time. It’s simply a lot more professional.
Don’t give up. You started the business for a reason. Expect 5 years of lean and steep learning curves. Those who have built successful businesses say they can never go back to work for someone else. You got into business because saw a need in the marketplace and wanted to be that person...don’t change.