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 30 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
So piece of advice
number two is to get yourself a mentor and network, network,
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
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.