When I launched The Healthy Mummy on October 1, 2010, I had not one ounce of business experience. I had bucketloads of passion, energy and ideas but that was all I had.
But as I have learnt, passion, energy, hard work and ideas can get you a long way!
The past 10 years have been a huge learning curve, and I still learn every single day.
Below are the 10 main things I have learnt about running a business.
1. It never gets easier, you just get more experienced
There will be some really, really tough days. Days, weeks and months where things go wrong.
There will be times when situations and logistics are out of your control. Times when you think it is all going to go wrong. Times when you will want to give up. Times when people let you down. Times when the stress is so bad that you can’t sleep.
Times when anxiety is part of your daily life. But through experience, you learn. And experience is everything.
Through experience, you learn not to sweat the small stuff. You learn how to move on from mistakes.
You learn that mistakes can make you stronger. You become resilient.
You learn that business is never easy, but you become better at it, and stronger through experience.
2. Innovation is critical
You always need it and it will kill your business if you don’t have it.
I have always believed this. It is imperative to always look forward. To have new ideas waiting in the wings.
You can’t sit there and hope it will turn out OK.
You need to be the master of your own destiny.
And the world we live in moves fast and consumers have a desire for better products, better services, more ways to make their lives easier.
If you don’t innovate and invest, your business may not survive.
3. No one will manage your business’ purse strings like you, so be careful who you hire to manage your spend
It is so important to have a tight grip on your business finances.
For the first three years, I literally had no idea about finances, tax, gross profit margin or cashflow. I was flying blind for a long time.
But by year three, I got my act together, and started understanding finances, and how I needed much better cost control on everything.
It is one of the most important things to master, as no one will care more about the cash in your business than you do.
4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but make sure you know all the facts and make informed decisions
You can’t make an omelette without cracking an egg, right?
And it is the same with business.
You have to do new things and be prepared for the fact they may fail.
Having a test-and-learn philosophy is crucial, and I have had this belief from day one.
I 100% assess new ideas before we do them, but I also go into it knowing there is a chance it is a mistake. But I am OK with that.
And if something doesn’t work, I learn from it and move on.
5. Hire the right team members
There will come a time when your business grows and you start to hire staff. What I have learnt is that it is so important to hire the right staff.
But it will inevitable that this doesn’t always happen. You will hire staff that end up not liking the culture and work, and vice versa.
But with experience, you become better at understanding the type of team members that you need, and when you get this right, you will have a more efficient business with staff who want to be there.
I strongly believe that members of the team should want to work with you and enjoy the work. If they don’t enjoy it, no one will win.
If you have a great team, who love the work and are as passionate as you, then your business can really benefit and the team members will feel valued and love what they do.
6. Go into business for the right reasons
Being in your business for the right reason is so important. Having a true passion for your business and what you do will see you through all the tough times.
If your primary reason for having a business is for ego or money, then when it gets hard, it’ll be more tempting to give up.
But if you are passionate, you’ll never give up, even on days that you may think about it.
Be strong. Be fierce. Be passionate.
7. Accept things will go wrong, and when they do, move on quickly
Being resilient is so important.
It is also super important to accept things will go wrong. When they do, move on quickly, learn from it, and stay positive.
I am a massive believer in this.
I can’t even tell you how many times I have had bad things happen, and times where the sickness and fear in the pit of your stomach is so strong, you wonder how you will cope.
But I also don’t let bad things rule me.
I let myself have a day of being in a hole, but then I shake myself up, learn and move on.
I don’t dwell on things. I am all about being positive and moving on.
8. Have a strong team and give them autonomy, flexibility and good rewards
Having a strong team is crucial. They will make your life better and your business stronger.
I couldn’t do what I do without my team.
They are amazing. I am so grateful for all they do, and how dedicated and committed they are to what we all do.
In thanks, I ensure they have flexible working arrangements and autonomy so they feel empowered to do their job and have work-life balance.
9. Create the life you want
When you have a business, I believe it is important that you structure your life so that it works for you.
There is no sense in owning a business if your life is not one you enjoy.
Over the past 10 years, I have worked extremely hard, but I have also made sure to create a life where I could do this around my kids.
It was so important for me to be there for my two boys and my husband. Every day.
10. Make the customer number one, and fight for them
Since day one, the customer has always been number one.
I fiercely believe this. I believe this is what differentiates one business from another.
I talk to and listen to the customer every single day. Their needs. Their wants. Their issues.
Keeping customers happy keeps me awake at night and I am driven to improve all customer experiences.
And when we do have issues, I always make sure I own the mistakes and let the customer know about it.
This article was first published by The Healthy Mummy.