Getting started in business is tough. We know that even when you’ve been in business for years, challenges will still present themselves. We reached out to Timothy Audia, owner of Audia Woodworking in Stratham, NH for some of the tips he’s gathered over the years that would help guide new and inexperienced business owners when they first get started. Tim has been in business for 32 years and specializes in custom kitchen islands, cabinets, and stair work.
He created the business with his father, Sam, when he was just 22 years old and has seen a lot in his 32-year tenure. Here are five things that he learned early on that he wished he knew before he got started.
You have to be comfortable talking to new people –
You have to be comfortable selling yourself and your business. If you’re not, find out why. Are you shy? Or are you not well-versed in what you are selling? If you’re shy, find what helps you come out of your shell. Confidence is key so fake it till you make it. “If you need to study and practice talking about your business, do just that! This is REAL LIFE, it is not a ‘read through.’” You only get one chance to make a sale. Make it count!
Look at each new client as 10 new clients –
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools. One customer’s great experience can turn into multiple referrals. Simply being frank with people can create a loyal network of customers. Saying things like, “I am building a new business, and rely on word of mouth. Do you know anyone that could benefit from learning about my business or would be interested in my service?” can go a long way. Simple as that. Build a rapport with your clients; people refer businesses/service providers that they like and trust.
Learn basic accounting –
“If you can’t balance a checkbook, you might have trouble balancing the rigors of being self-employed.” Your business revolves around your return on investment; Microsoft Excel will be an extremely useful tool when organizing your finances. For example, there are templates available under the File tab in Excel that can assist you or your book keeper with any of your accounting needs.
Learn how to write business documents –
There are so many resources to find out how to do this. If you want to be seen as a professional service provider, your customers will often expect professional documents. Take a class on it, read a book about it. Learn Microsoft Word, and any other tools you need to use. Would you want to work with a business that sends out poorly written invoices or proposals? Probably not. Put your best foot forward with every aspect of your business.
Google is your friend –
It is the single best resource to find any information you could possibly need. The second is YouTube. “If you need to know how to do something,” Audia said, “chances are there is someone else who felt the need to videotape themselves to remember!”
So remember, times can be tough, but having the support and grit to get through them will yield a stronger business moving forward.