I’m a little late with this post because I didn’t want to write it knowing that I intend to blog a year in review post that would pretty much cover this particular slice of life. However, being that this is a personal journey blog- as in my posts reflect my own life lessons, whether I learned them the hard-knock way (living it out myself) or the reserved way (a study and decent comprehension of someone else’s lessons) a big chunk of my current journey is my entrepreneurial endeavors and I thought it fitting to highlight one of my biggest lessons learned in the 1st year with my current business.
My business partner and I founded A & D Media on July 2nd over coffee with a handshake, a laptop, less than 200 bucks and a dream.
I don’t want to get too long-winded about this so I’ll just come out and say it: Starting a business was pretty easy. Being that we are essentially two home-based, service providing freelancers who came together to form a small company it wasn’t hard to get rolling in terms of legalities. Running and Growing a Successful Business on the other hand is Hard-Work!
I didn’t expect it to be easy and I certainly had no plot to get rich quick. Admittedly, I was very naïve to believe that things would just take off since our services were oh so in demand and I couldn’t find anyone else offering our services in our area (still laughing at myself on that one since everybody and their mama claims to be social media marketing consultant right about now). I would say one my biggest lessons learned this year was the importance of having a focused business plan.
While we did actually sit down to write a business plan and marketing plan however; we really didn’t know what we were doing. We got so excited about owning a business that we didn’t think to utilize the free resources offered through our local SBDC We eventually got frustrated with sections of a business plan we didn’t understand, lost patience with our limited knowledge, and decided to just see what would happen if we “kinda sorta” told the people we already knew that we were offering service A and B. Luckily for us, “kinda sorta” aka announcing to our personal social media connections and attending local networking events with business cards that read “Hire Us” printed on the back of them earned us our first clients.
In a sense this worked for us because due to our personalities, we would’ve got stuck in planning mode and never made a move towards action. But in all honesty, without a plan it’s easy to lack focus, steer away from your mission and lose sight of your vision. If we had completed our plan the way I would’ve liked to, it would have been much easier to determine our success factors and measure our growth. It took us half of the 1st year to realize most of our initial goals weren’t realistic nor aligned to our means of accomplishing them and pretty much had to press the reset button and start again in January this time armed with the help of a local consultant and business coach. I believe it’s generally better to have a real business plan that truly details the bottom-line result for pretty much every business- Making a Profit, and action steps you need to take to accomplish it. Overall, the first year proved to be full of tough lessons, surprisingly welcomed set-backs, as well as many sweet sweet victories
Until next time…