Business advice

6 things I wish I knew sooner (business edition)

I’ve been in business for over a decade. Here are 6 things I wish I’d learnt sooner:

1. Long before ‘scaling’ comes ‘build’ and ‘growth’. You need to build products, sell ’em, get feedback, improve. Then you need to build your audience, grow your sales, increase your impact. People use the word ‘scaling’ and then feel bad because they’re ‘working’ (rather than being on the beach). But you’re probably not scaling right now. You’re more likely still growing, or even still building! And you probably should be working. Get back to work.

2. Every time you start again, you really are starting again. If you change the customer you serve, change your strategy, change your brand, you’re back to square one. Sure there will be some people who come with you, but everything changes – your focus, your messaging, how you deliver, where you show up. Don’t change on a whim. Be clear and change big and bold or see through the original plan.

3. Business doesn’t make you wealthy. Investments make you wealthy. As soon as you start making money, be careful you don’t spend it all on offices, marketing, hiring, despite the usual advice. You need to save something for your own security and peace of mind. You can’t grow if it’s all owed out or you’re worried about your rent / mortgage! Investments like index linked funds and properties will more likely make you wealthy longer term. Think about putting a bit aside for you each month, as soon as you can. Slow and steady really does win the race.

4. You need to treat yourself along the way. It’s a long ass journey and it never ends. The stories you see online are rare cases of success or have taken decades. Don’t be put off or made to feel behind, because you haven’t hit six figures, or £10k months, yet – maybe you don’t even want to. And treat yourself along the way. A holiday for a solid year’s graft. A new outfit for a meal out to celebrate a sale. You’ve got to enjoy the benefit of the crazy hours and time you put in along the way. It reminds you it’s worth it.

5. Building a community is one of the most important things you’ll do. People feel bad for posting on social media, like it’s not proper work making a graphic on Canva, but it really is! Having a community who want to learn from you, support you, come along for the ride is so important, and it’s so much more than money. When you need them, they’ll be there for you. A community can give you purpose too. Think less about yourself and how a post will perform, and think more about who’ll read it and how it will help them.

6. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does need to hit the promise you made. People make so many wild promises to make the sale, then deliver what the heck they want. Nope! Really ask yourself: What promise am I making my customer, make it clear in your offer, then deliver the hell out of it. If you can go above and beyond to make it a really special experience, even better!