Some Experienced-Based
Start-Up Advice
by Wendy Priesnitz

Q: What were the hardest things you had to overcome when you started your own small business? And what advice would you give someone just starting out?

A: It's difficult to remember back over 40 years to the time when my husband and I launched our home-based publishing company. But I do recall being rather fearless! And, in retrospect, that led us to be somewhat reckless. Fortunately, luck was on our side and our lack of knowledge about our industry - and about business in general - didn't cause us to lose too much time or money.

We didn't have a business plan - probably because we'd never done any reading about starting a small business, nor taken any business training. We didn't even take much time to think through our marketing strategy (if, in fact, you could have called it a strategy). That lack of planning meant that we were flying blind for awhile. If wed taken the time to write a business plan, our business would have avoided the many misadventures and wrong turns that wasted our time and energy in those early days.

So piece of advice number one is to write a business plan.

For many years, even though the business was developing well, I had trouble feeling confident around people who were more successful than I was in business. It took awhile for me to realize that I was actually a smart person with good business sense. This may have been due to the fact that I didn't have any women business owners as role models, and didn't take the time to create my own personal support network.

So piece of advice number two is to get yourself a mentor and network, network, network.

Another difficulty I've had to overcome is common to many small business owners. And that involves the urge to do it all myself. After all, it seems like a lot of hassle to delegate or hire or subcontract and nobody can do it better than me anyway, right? Wrong. I've found working with others to be a lot of fun. And its much more productive - and profitable - to focus on doing what I do well and leave the rest to others.

So piece of advice number three is to delegate. And be open to strategic alliances, which are short term partnerships that benefit all parties involved.


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