Happy Women in Business Day! As a women in business, I am often asked “what advice would you give your past self”, when it comes to starting my business, there are lots of things that I would change if I were to go back in time and start again. We Love Pets has been full of ups and downs, and not every decision I have made has been a good one.
Here are five things I wish I had known before starting out.
- Ask for Help
Asking for help and making use of the help available is always important when starting a business from new. I did ask around for advice from other well-established franchisors and went to network events and franchise meetings, and those things really helped. But, if I could go back, I would definitely do more research, more networking, more talking, and gain even more mentors. The best thing to do is to explore those things available to you in-depth, meet lots of people and talk to more franchisors. There has been a study showing that 92% of small business owners firmly believe that their business wouldn’t have been as successful if it wasn’t for the help and guidance of mentors, so there really is a massive benefit in reaching out to others and getting help.
- Take Advantage of Systems
When starting out, I wanted almost to prove myself to nobody in particular. I was setting everything up from scratch and doing it all myself, which can definitely become overwhelming. There are loads of systems already in place designed to help you out with these things, often created by existing franchisors. It might feel like you’re copping out by using other people’s systems, but often it is more efficient than doing it all alone.
- Don’t Be a Cheapskate
It’s really easy to fall into the mindset of “I should be saving money at every opportunity” when starting out. If you don’t know how things will pay out, it can be reassuring to do things cheaply, but in the end, costs will add up if you keep having to fork out to fix everything. Think of spending as an investment. When you consider how much return profit you will be getting, it’s more than worth it to fork out a little more initially.
- Buy a Franchise Instead
This one makes it sound like an advertisement for buying a franchise, but it really is a much easier route to take in setting up your own business. When I started We Love Pets, I was largely alone and running everything by myself- website, content, staff schedules, media, contracts, accounting, all of it. This is a struggle to do without support, and sometimes it might seem impossible. If I went back to day one, I would definitely look into buying a franchise instead so I could hit the ground running and benefit from the network and support they offer. I would still own my own business, but it would be so much easier to handle everything.
- Don’t Work With Your Husband
Starting a business would have been so much easier if I hadn’t worked with my husband. That’s a joke… Well kind of 👀🤣