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Your First Five Years of Business

It’s fairly common knowledge that the first five years of a new business are the toughest. Those years can only be compared to a roller coaster ride. While it’s exciting and full of lofty goals and dreams, it’s also scary and stressful and filled with doubt. After a couple of years, you start to get into a groove and start to have a better grasp of where your focus should be.

A common mistake new business owners make, is not setting realistic expectations. We look at what we want our end result to be and are disappointed when that doesn’t happen right away. Most entrepreneurs do not have success overnight. There are many times you’ll fail. This is all part of the journey of proprietorship.

Having a grand plan is great, and critical to your success. This will keep you focused during the tough times and valleys. Equally as important, is setting smaller goals that will lead you to the end result. To take it a step further, break those smaller goals into even tinier pieces. Having daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals will lead to that picture you’ve painted for yourself 5, 10 (and beyond) years ahead.

Keeping your business and personal credit in check is going to help your business in more than one way. Not only will this allow more options to properly fund your business, but it’ll remove an enormous weight off of your shoulders. Pay your loans, bills, leases, etc., on time, all the time. Keep your bank accounts in check, doing all you can to keep your balances healthy. This all may sound like common sense, and it is, but you’d be surprised how many business owners drop the ball in this area.

As I mentioned earlier, you will hit bumps in the road. And when you do, it’s important to keep a level head. Have a five-minute pity party or temper tantrum and move on! Find something that raises your spirits and inspires you. Perhaps you like to read self-help books. Maybe you have a mentor that always lifts you up when you’re down. Whatever it is that helps clear your head and gets you re-focused… do it.

As much as people are afraid of failure, people are also afraid of success. The first time I heard this, it sounded like the most ridiculous, psycho-babble I’d ever heard. But, after really thinking about what that meant, it made some sense to me. For those of us that grew up with less, it REALLY makes sense. I have friends I’ve known a good portion of my life. Some of them (including family) have gone on to lead fruitful lives. Others haven’t. While it doesn’t change the love I have for them, or the relationship we share, it’s common to have feelings of guilt. We don’t want to leave anyone behind. Be that as it may, don’t allow this to stunt your growth. If they can’t be happy for your accomplishments, it may be time to move on. Otherwise, serve as an inspiration & share your achievements with them.

Do what works. Now, this may take some time to figure out. It’ll be a lot of trial and error. But, if you see a particular aspect of your business is working, well, don’t fix what isn’t broken. On the flip side, don’t be afraid to make changes when something isn’t working. Don’t be stubborn because you REALLY thought whatever it was would go differently. We tend to be our biggest stumbling blocks. Get out of your own head, swallow your pride and forge ahead.

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