5 Things About Starting a Business Learned By Making Mistakes
All too often the world casts a negative light on making mistakes, but the truth is the most successful people make mistakes better than anyone. While this may seem counter-productive it actually builds better products, people and companies. Over the last year and a half while growing PixelBit from all sides i’ve experienced my share of mistakes and learned from them. Here is the top 5.
5 – Gathering the Right Tools on Day 1
It would seem that a new business needs to be very cautious of spending (unless you’re funded) but sometimes you can take that to extremes. Early on I didn’t see a need for legal counsel until a well known client of mine decided to change that perception overnight. Now anytime I start another venture my lawyer will be the 2nd call I make. Now he and my accountant are in my favorites.
4 – Make Bookkeeping and Record-keeping a Weekly Task
As you start to build and grow a company you want your focus to be on growth and money making aspects. However what I did was originally left working in Quickbooks for later and then when it was needed spent 2 days reconciling, reporting and filing (not tax related) everything. This year i’ve made it a point to set aside time and on average spend 20 minutes a week.
3 – Stretch the Funds
If you’ve freelanced you know all about highs and lows in payments. Sometimes you have a record month and other times you can actually see the dust collecting on your mailbox. Well in running a company with others relying on money this becomes a major issue. Having learned and survived the down months (usually in the Summer) I now make it a point to set aside a good chunk of money not allocated to payroll and bills for those dips. The amount you need to set aside will vary based on company but you’ll quickly learn.
2 – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Don’t let your ego or desire to “go it on your own” actually hurt you. About 4 months in I wanted to source more local work while maintaining our existing client obligations. I spent money on advertising and quickly learned I should have bet on dog races as I knew nothing about marketing a company. I mean in freelance you market yourself, but its really not the same! Well after a few meetings and help from some great friends I was able to re-run the campaign and had an amazing response.
1 – Create a Website and Keep It Updated
When I started PixelBit my intention was to take the first 2 months and create the brand, website, mobile presence and market it in hopes of capturing work for the team. To our great surprise we had our first project in our hands 2 weeks after announcing the companies existence. Then it was day in and day out of work for clients. Which was awesome, but finally this Summer I had to take a step back and properly build the brand, once and for all. The website is now in its final development stage but next time i’ll be sure to create all that before announcing the company. Its not only awkward for a web company to not have an active website its borderline painful to not be able to show live examples of work with our words and brand attached.
Hopefully this post will help others and don’t be afraid to fail and make mistakes, be afraid not to. If you only take one thing away from these 5 points its to plan ahead, draw out everything and expect things to be rocky as you get started, however as you grow you’ll be thankful you created a firm foundation.