In just a few more weeks, I’ll be closing the business and then I’m onto my next phase of life. So, I thought I’d share my Top 10 Business Tips from 20 Years in Business.
Lesson 1: As Nike Says….
You can ‘sort of’ run a business. Or you can do as Nike says and “Just Do It!” The saddest thing in life is looking back with regrets because of fear, though.
The lesson to ‘just do it,’ has served me MANY times through these 20 years! Business means always challenging yourself. If you’re not a bit uncomfortable (or downright SCARED!), you’re not growing.
Lesson 2: Making Do With What You Have
When I started, MEG Fitness, in 1996, I didn’t have any money to invest in the company, so I had to do it all myself (which is called Bootstrapping). I was lucky, though, because at least I was able to quit my job to start my business.
But here’s the thing: If I had waited until the ‘perfect’ time, I would have lost a LOT of years! So, I made due with what I had. And by the time we moved, I was bringing in a consistent $50,000/year.
Don’t wait until the time is perfect. If you do, you may never start your business! If I had waited until I moved to start my business, I would have spent another 14 years working in a job I dreaded. And, as I said before, Life is WAY too short to not enjoy what we do.
Lesson 3: Have it YOUR Way
I’ve had conversations with probably thousands of professionals who think they HAVE to create a business that looks a particular way. Even when they really don’t WANT it to look like that! But I’m here to tell you that it’s MORE important that you build what excites you, rather than what you think it SHOULD look like. That’s where the real rewards will come from.
Like Subway says, You really CAN have it your way!
Lesson 4: Embrace the Fear
People are more capable than they believe they are! But if we let fear hold us back, we’ll never see that side of us.
Don’t let fear hold you back. When the back door is closed, we ALL have it within us to take action that we never believed we were capable of.
Lesson 5: Embrace A Team, Early
My business is where it is because of my team. There’s no doubt about it.
As the leader of your venture, you tend to have blinders on, which makes a team essential. Never avoid adding people to your business because you don’t know what they’ll do, or because you believe you can do ‘it’ better. Trust me; you’ll save money, make more money and just generally enjoy growing your business WITH that help, rather than struggle without it. When asked if there was anything I would have done differently in my business, I always say I would have hired help sooner.
Lesson 6: Coaches – The Challengers to Greatness
If you have never worked with a business coach, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to make it a necessary part of growing your business. We all need someone to push us out of our comfort zone in order to take that next step up.
My first business coach was back in 2003. Until then, I wasn’t even aware of business coaches, to be honest!
It’s important to point out that by working with a coach, you will accomplish MORE, FASTER than you will on your own. And that alone is worth the price of investing in yourself through that coach!
Lesson 7: Overwhelm is a Choice
Ok, when you read that, you probably experience a sense of indignation. In fact, you might be thinking, “Oh, she has NO IDEA what I go through!”
Oh yes I do… been there, done that.
As you might believe right now for yourself, I once thought I didn’t have a choice.
Then everything changed.
I’ve previously written the full story of when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I won’t go into it again.
It’s funny, but with so many people complaining about how overwhelmed they are, I sort of feel guilty that I’m not in that situation anymore, myself!
But like I said at the beginning; it’s a choice. I chose to NOT live in a state of overwhelm. And the lesson is to shift your mindset and belief, and do what you MUST to move out of that state, yourself. You have to BELIEVE it’s possible before it ever happens.
Lesson 8: Never Give Up
I’ve always said that we have more control when we work for ourselves than when we work for someone else. Let me tell you why:
If business is slow and it’s YOUR business, you can literally get out there and ‘pound the pavement,’ as they say (or EXPLODE the internet, grin!). But if you work for a company and business is slow, you are pretty much at their mercy.
There will always be ups and downs when you own a business. Granted, the downs may not be as dramatic as they are in the early years of business. That doesn’t make them any less dramatic and nerve racking.
No matter where you are in building the business of your dreams, NEVER give up! Do what you must to move it forward. Get clear what sacrifices you’re willing to make towards that end. As you’ve heard me say before, it’s better to try and fail than NOT try and look back at life with regrets.
Lesson 9: The Close is as Important as the Open
Back in September, the topic of discussion with my team was the close-down progression. That was the first inkling that it wasn’t as simple as ….. just closing down! After years and years of focusing on how to GROW (the list, the business, etc.), now we were looking at CLOSING!
There were the things you don’t at first think about: How will you manage closing down your website? Products? Mailing list? And it’s not just HOW, but then the question comes up as to WHEN to close things down! When closing a business you also need to consider how you’ll manage the finances.
When you start a business, take some time to think through how you want to close it. Trust me; it will come upon you sooner than you think!
Lesson 10: Give Thanks, Often
Let’s face it: None us builds a thriving business in a bubble. To really thrive, it takes a lot of people. Not only your team, a supportive family and friends, but also clients who want what you offer, and who become true fans. I am extremely grateful for everyone who has come into my life, especially the clients I’ve worked with.
And that’s the final lesson I’ve learned. Always be grateful. Never take your clients, or customer service, for granted. It could all go away in a heartbeat.
Marjorie Geiser, MBA, RD, BCC
MEG Enterprises, Inc.
I am working with 2 clients for 2017, and am fully booked. However, I will be taking applications for 2 clients in 2018 in October. If you would like to be informed when the application process is open, join my Wait List.