I wish someone had told me this before I started a business

Valuable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs starting a business.

I wish someone had told me this before I started a business

A little over a year ago, I made the bold decision to leave my well-paying job with its enticing perks to embark on a new venture assisting companies with their DOT and safety requirements. At the outset, we had just one client and hopeful prospects for a few more. Looking back, we couldn’t help but wonder, “What were we thinking?”

Yet, here we are, having successfully navigated our inaugural year, eager to impart some of the invaluable lessons we’ve gathered along the way.

Perhaps the most challenging lesson learned was that success isn’t merely about acquiring any and every client but rather about attracting the right ones. Not every company in our industry aligns with our vision. Consider this: would you rather have two clients, one of whom constantly complains, doesn’t pay promptly, and monopolizes your time, or a select few who are a joy to work with and compensate fairly for your efforts?

To ensure we’re engaging with the right clientele, we’ve adopted the practice of conducting thorough consultations—disguised as complimentary sessions—with potential clients. This allows us to gauge mutual compatibility before committing to a partnership.

Another crucial insight we’ve gleaned is the importance of scheduling time for what truly matters. Whether it’s prioritizing family moments, personal wellness, or essential tasks, integrating these commitments into our calendars ensures they receive the attention they deserve. My calendar has become indispensable, serving as a constant reminder of what requires my focus and dedication.

Furthermore, we’ve learned not to force client acquisitions. Instead of tirelessly pursuing new leads, we’ve discovered that clients tend to gravitate toward us at the right moment. Overzealous efforts to secure new business often yielded minimal returns and detracted from serving existing clients effectively.

I’ve wasted countless hours fretting over the uncertainties of potential client engagements, only to realize that such anxieties served no purpose. This unnecessary preoccupation detracted from nurturing existing relationships and likely even deterred potential clients.

Reflecting on past experiences, I recall instances where follow-ups went unanswered, leaving me questioning my approach and pricing. However, dwelling on these uncertainties proved futile, serving only to hinder progress.

In conclusion, our journey has underscored the importance of attracting the right clients, managing time effectively, and trusting in the natural flow of business development. These principles have not only propelled our growth but also fostered a more fulfilling and sustainable business model.

Is something amiss? Well, perhaps occasionally I’ve erred, but often, it simply required patience for potential customers to make a decision.

Our fourth suggestion revolves around giving abundantly without expecting immediate returns. We’ve organized free or low-cost training sessions to establish our presence and credibility in the community. Once our reputation was solidified, word-of-mouth referrals surged. People would contact us, mentioning they were referred by someone who praised our expertise in DOT matters, seeking answers to their questions. We faced a choice: bill them for our time or provide comprehensive assistance free of charge. Consistently, we opted for the latter. While some criticized our generosity, the vast majority of those we assisted returned to sign annual contracts, resulting in a revenue increase of over tenfold compared to charging for individual consultations. Furthermore, our clients became advocates, spreading our name to others seeking assistance.

Our final advice underscores the importance of offering compelling reasons for potential clients to choose your services. While our business helps with federal regulations, which clients could theoretically obtain online for free, we save them invaluable time and effort. By managing their DOT responsibilities, we grant them the freedom to focus on core aspects of their operations, essentially selling them time, a precious commodity in today’s fast-paced world. Our clients know they can rely on us for prompt, trustworthy assistance whenever they need it.

In environments where finding mentors or peers is challenging, we’ve invested in self-improvement resources. Initially, this involved attending training sessions and live events, but with the onset of COVID-19, we transitioned to virtual platforms. Despite the limitations posed by our rural location, we’ve surrounded ourselves with knowledge by engaging with books, podcasts, and social media live streams and participating in leadership communities, ensuring continuous growth, and learning.

I understand that virtual engagement isn’t quite the same as face-to-face interaction, but surprisingly, it proved effective. It provided me with the opportunity to challenge myself and elevate my skills with minimal effort.

There’s a multitude of insights we could delve into…

These are merely a handful of the pivotal elements that significantly contributed to our success.

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