By Nancy Guenther
Are your plans too small? Are your expectations too high? (Am I confused?) If you are in the early phases of owning a business, you might fall prey to one or both of these errors in planning. Having reasonable expectations, while planning wisely for success, will keep you in a proper frame of mind and assist you as your business grows.
If your business is going to really succeed, you had better safeguard your hard work! It may seem silly at this phase, but how about buying up the domain names which might tempt a copy cat? Last summer, when I changed my domain name (now THAT was scary!) to Roses and Teacups, I purchased over 30 domain names. Yes, that is correct. I own rosesandteacups.com, roses-and-teacups.biz, teacupsandroses.info, teacups-and-roses.net and on and on and on!
Well, I am surely glad that I made these purchases, because now I am getting DAILY inquiries from other stores and soon-to-be-stores who want to sell my products!
Other big things to consider as a small business: Who will you need to hire, and where will you find them when more staff is required? Don't wait until you are overwhelmed to create a staff list. Also, how is the bandwidth on your web host account? Will you have plenty?
Lower your expectations.
Are you wondering why you haven't received any salary yet? Have you been in business for more than 3 years? It is fairly standard that in the first 2 to 3 years of a business, the money goes one way-out! You will get back what you put in, but be sure that your time frame is reasonable. You may need funds to carry you for several years, and if you are a retail store with inventory, this is all the more true. I get the giggles when people ask me for donations and discounts: I am a very successful international gift store, but I haven't earned one penny yet!
Other expectations which may need to be lowered: Getting customers to your online store takes lots and lots of work, and work takes time! I cannot emphasize this enough! Search engine optimization, well-placed advertising, branding techniques such as designing your labels, business cards, and packaging, online networking, marketing strategies, finding sources for products and materials and all the other necessary aspects of owning an online business will not fit
into one or two hours per day. Or, if you only have one or two hours per day, expect your timeline of success to stretch by years.
Of course there will be exceptions. Perhaps you are having wild success after 3 months of one hour a day work on a shoe-string budget. Wonderful! But I am not writing for you. (smile) This word to the wise is for those who may be confused and discouraged about their business growth rate and for those who may need a bit of good old inspiration and cheerleading to make big plans as they grow.
Plan for success; be prepared to wait awhile; enjoy the ride!
Roses and Teacups ~ A Garden of Gifts for Giving Hearts