5 Things People Forget When Starting a New Business
What to remember when you're getting your caregiving business off the ground.
Opening a small business can feel overwhelming. You've had a dream of starting a day care center or housekeeping company -- and now it's finally happening! But important details and steps can be overlooked in your excitement. And it’s the little things that matter most.
Here, Jill Broder, founder of Jill Broder’s Tutoring Center in Rockville, Maryland, and Gini Longham, owner of The Children’s Playroom in Nashville, Tennessee, share some advice they wish they could have given themselves when opening their caregiving businesses.
Network, Network, Network
A successful small business benefits from interacting with others in its field. “Be friends with other people in your industry,” suggests Broder. “Always stay in touch; don't think of them as competition -- think of them as another resource.” Fostering positive relationships can help identify issues you may have missed, and you can offer your expertise or second opinion as well. “Learn from them and they learn from you.”
Build a Strong Team
While one major benefit of owning a small business is being able to build a close-knit staff, it’s equally as important to cut loose any members of your team that aren’t pulling through.
“I overlooked an employee’s bad behavior, hoping it would get better,” says Langham. “It never does.” This is vital to a care-related field, where the client’s health, safety and overall well-being is at the core of the business. “They are you when you’re not there,” Broder says. “If they don't do a good job that's a problem.”
Lead With Your Head, Not Your Heart
Being successful in a care-related business relies almost entirely on your passion. However, that doesn’t mean you should let the business details fall to the wayside. This is why some small businesses have a hard time getting off the ground.
“They have their heart in the right place, but they don't have the business sense to do it correctly,” Broder says. Take the initiative to learn as much as possible about all aspects of starting a business. “I knew what I was going to do in college, but no one said to me, ‘Take an entrepreneurial class,’” she says. “If you’re planning to open a small business, get that knowledge.”
Think Creatively About Marketing
Promoting your business can be tricky. “It’s the hardest thing to know where to send your money,” Broder says. “But word of mouth is the best way to get business.” A small business relies on a personal touch, so never underestimate the power of positive interactions with clients. “People overlook customer service and quality,” Lingham says. “There is no substitute for quality.”
Learn more about How to Present and Promote Your Business Online.
Take Constructive Criticism
While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s extremely important to keep this in mind with a new business. Some advice Lingham wishes she had given herself when she started out? “Don’t take everything personally,” she says. “You will learn how to manage better each year through experience.”
In a care-related business, the client’s happiness and safety must come first, so take any comments that come your way and let them positively improve your business. “I once put programming in a school and sent a questionnaire, and 50 percent of the kids weren’t happy,” Broder says. “And instead of losing the school I said, ‘Tell me what’s wrong.’ You need to listen and not be defensive and make changes when changes are needed.”
While the process can have its ups and downs, starting your business will be well worth the hard work you put into growing it. And according to Lingham, don't forget to: “Set your expectations high and people will rise to them.”
Megan Stein is a copy editor and freelance writer that loves trying new things, exploring cities and having fun with friends and family.
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