With the ever-changing economic climate, many people are getting into entrepreneurship, which makes sense because there’s several benefits to being a business owner. Running your own company can mean you get the best of both worlds: time and money. As your own boss, you’ll get the freedom to schedule your workdays while also achieving financial freedom. Not to mention, you get to create an impact and help others with your business — who wouldn’t want that?
Nonetheless, being an entrepreneur is no easy feat, and the journey to becoming a successful business owner isn’t always straight and smooth.
Over the years, our Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Rappleye, has learned a few key things that have helped him navigate being an entrepreneur. If you want to become a business owner someday and succeed in any business you start, here are some foundational tips and advice to set you up for success.
1. Carve Out Time to Sell
As the pilot of your business, the sales and ultimately your business’s performance are entirely up to you. That said, you’re not guaranteed a paycheck.
“On a deeper level, if you don’t carve out time for sales, you can’t eat.”
Many entrepreneurs struggle with prioritizing their time and assignments. Trevor notes the importance of blocking out time to sell like you would block out time for a client meeting.
“A lot of entrepreneurs spend time doing things like checking emails or updating their website. None of that matters if you’re not selling.”
As a general rule of thumb, Trevor recommends blocking out three hours to sell each day; no calls, no meetings, etc. All that to say, it’s equally as important to ensure you have a strong, high-quality service to sell to begin with. If you’re passionate about what you’re selling and you’re committed to catering to your clients’ needs, then selling won’t be tedious, but rather, fun.
2. Hire a Strong Team
Sometimes, first-time entrepreneurs fall into the pattern of wanting to do everything themselves. According to Trevor, this is a dangerous pattern to sink in.
“Someone can do exactly what you’re doing; you just have to delegate the task to them.”
To save time for things like selling and meeting with clients or customers, Trevor recommends hiring a staff person to do the everyday tasks and help get the business off the ground. “Delegate 80% of your work tasks to an employee so you can focus on the stuff that lands you deals,” Trevor recommended.
Another key to success is hiring people you trust and allowing them to do their job freely. “More often than not, entrepreneurs will train, train, train and never let their employees do the actual work,” Trevor said.
“If you own a horse and train it to race but never let it race, why would you train it?”
Hiring your first employee can be scary, but once you understand that mess-ups are sometimes inevitable, it’ll allow you to take some work off your plate and focus. Your team will never get better if you’re constantly watching over their shoulders. Hiring a strong team is critical because at the end of the day, you need strong employees to support you and bring in more business. Your employees should have the same mission and vision as you, and they should be committed to the success of the business.
3. Schedule Time to Learn
Regardless of your industry experience, Trevor notes the importance of making learning a lifetime priority. “Don’t just read a book or attend a conference when you ‘have time.’” he said. “The reality is, you will only have time to learn if you make time.” Similar to selling, Trevor advises entrepreneurs carve out time to learn. While learning can look different for everyone — attending conferences, reading books or listening to podcasts, for example — it’s crucial to create a schedule that includes time to learn. By setting aside time to learn, you can take a step back and review what’s working and not working within your business.
“Early on in my business, I’d schedule time on my calendar to drive to the beach and read for three hours on Wednesdays.”
4. You Have to Spend Money to Make Money
“You can’t grow without spending money.”
In many cases, money can help you expand, either via marketing, hiring more employees or attending leadership conferences, for example.
“The first time we spent $30,000 on Yelp for Franchise Filming, people thought we were crazy,” Trevor said. “But that was the first year we made over $150,000 in sales.”
Even if you don’t have a team or marketing budget, Trevor advises business owners to set aside some money for marketing.
“You can start with setting aside 10% of your income to marketing and increase that amount as your business grows.”
Becoming your own boss is a truly rewarding experience. However, a large part of business ownership is trial and error because, after all, you don’t know what you don’t know. While there are several things you’ll have to learn, applying these critical things to your business will increase your chances of success. With Trevor’s leadership, Franchise Filming was able to double its full-time team and double its video output throughout 2020, with plans to become a million-dollar video provider in 2021.
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