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Top 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started a Business

Pay Attention.

When you start a business there is so much to do and so many decisions to make.  When I think back to my experience of starting Orangefish.ca in particular I wish I had paid more attention to these things.

  1. Choosing A Business Name

 In 2006 it was “cool” to have a name that was unique and left people asking “What’s with the name?” BUT just because it is cool does not mean it is a good idea.  If you want to know the meaning of Orangefish click here.

What is a good idea? Keeping it simple and meaningful to what you are actually doing.  If you are selling socks – have the name sock in your business name, if everything you sell is pink have that in your business name.

It is more difficult than every to capture someone’s attention so make it super simple for them to remember who you are!

  1. Money Matters

Be frugal about everything and yes, I mean everything. Anytime you are putting money into your business make sure you truly assess if it is worth the spend.

The first business cards and post cards that I purchased for Orangefish were so unique. They were very tactile and when you touched them – it felt like you were touching suede.  I thought I just had to have them BUT they were super pricey.  I paid $5000 for business cards and postcards BUT that money could have been better spent elsewhere.  Yes, people commented on them, but did it really bring in any business – NO.  And, after about 6-8 weeks I wish I could have redesigned them but had purchased in bulk so had them for longer than I wanted.

Always think of your ROI (Return on Investment) when you are spending money.

  1. Focus On Your Ideal Customer.

You cannot be everything to everyone… it is too difficult to tell your brand story without confusing people.

Instead get to know that one person that is really your ideal customer.  Go beyond gender and age and discover other key pieces of information about them that will help you know where you should be or how your marketing should be positioned.

What they like to do in their spare time? Where they shop? What they read? What they like to do for fun?  What their job is?  The more characteristics you can identify about your ideal customer the easy it will be to tell your brand story to reach the right person.

You will also have customers that don’t fit into this “box” but aim for the people in the box.  It is better to be super niche and then expand then to try and be all things for all people.

  1. Ignore the Cold Callers.

Once you start a business everyone under the sun and the moon are going to try to sell you something.

It is ok to ignore these requests unless they fit with your current goals.  Even though people trying to sell you something will pitch that this will help you – it can actually just distract you from what you are really trying to achieve.  When someone is cold calling you – it is about them and their sales. It is never really about you and your business. Just hit delete or block sender for those emails that don’t really matter and are not going to move the dial for you.

Keep your energy and attention focused on what is really going to help you move your business forward.

    1. Spend Your Time Wisely

It is so easy to get caught up in hanging out with other business owners.  They are going through the same thing that you are and can 100% help you BUT you also need to spend time on other areas of your business.

Here are the top two priorities when you are just getting started.

      • Map out Monday to Friday and figure out what needs to be done when. This includes everything from administrative tasks, marketing, sales, spending time where your customers are, research and personal development etc. This list can be long but really stay focused on the items that are going to move the dial for you and get revenue into your business faster.  The faster you can create a system that works for you the more productive you will be.
      • Document your business processes. They do not have to be perfect, and you can refine them as you learn but having something to build on that is consistent will make it easier.  You can start with identifying critical flows like customer service call scripts, have checklists for fulfillment or document standard emails that you can cut and paste. This will save you time in the long run and help avoid any confusion. Once you have a process in place it is easy to replicate and as you bring staff on it will be easy to train them.



          1. What is one thing you have spent money on in the last 3 months that produced a good ROI?
          2. What is one thing you have spent money on in the last 3 months that did not have a good ROI?
          3. What is one new thing you need to learn about your ideal customer and incorporate into your marketing communications?
          4. Take 30 minutes today and delete all cold call messages in your inbox.  Add them to a block sender list if they will never apply to your business.
          5. What is one thing you need to stop doing that will save you time?
          6. What is one thing you should be doing more of in order to grow your business?
          7. What is one process you should document that will help save you time and effort in the future?


If there is any way I can help you please contact me anytime.

Until next time,

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