By Jon Michail | Think & Grow Rich Magazine
An entrepreneurial approach to stacking the odds in your favour.
The following article is Part 2 in the series. Part 1 is available here.
The following is a case study conducted with a client who learnt his lessons the hard way. Here’s what BCI BRANDS director Arthur Esteban had to say.
What mistakes did you make when first starting up the business?
I would say the biggest mistake I made personally was to choose the wrong person to go into business with. If you have to go into business with someone else make sure from the start that you are choosing the right person as it cost us plenty of time and money.
This is not the only mistake we made but probably the one mistake that set us back a little. Another mistake we made was finances. Our business has been pretty much self-funded and I think we would be further ahead if we did that differently and used others’ money and not solely our own.
I truly believe we would be further along if we could have found someone to back us!
Why did you make these mistakes?
We decided to get a partner in the business to share the workload and have someone in the business that had different skills to us. We started the concept of what we were doing but decided to get a partner in to take some of the workload off us. That wasn’t happening and we were still doing all of the work, so it was a big mistake. As far as the finances went we didn’t know any different. This was a new industry for us so we never knew you could go out and find investors to help fund your business if you had a compelling enough story to share with them.
What did you learn from these mistakes?
We learnt a lot from these two mistakes. Firstly, we learnt to back ourselves more.
Give yourself a lot more credit as you will get through it without a partner if you have the passion to do it. In time, you will find the right people to fill the gaps that you cannot do through lack of time or expertise. Also build on your business to make it solid so people will want to invest in you and your vision.
Do you feel you were ready to start the business?
I had just sold another business for seven figures and I had to occupy my time a little better. I was ready to start the business because I was bored at home doing nothing. Also having built another business from scratch I was hungry to do it again. I suppose it’s the thrill of the challenge that keeps me doing it!
What would you do differently?
I would keep the control to myself in the business for as long as I can. I understand to grow bigger I might have to let go of some of the ownership but I know how to grow businesses so I would like to do it myself at least for a while.
In business it can get lonely. how did your support team (i.e. business advisors, coach etc.) help you on this journey?
Yes in business it does get lonely and most of the time all your friends are not self-employed so you can’t bounce ideas off them. This is why it’s very important to have the right coaches around you.
We have a business coach, an image coach, a personal trainer and our accountant who is also our financial advisor. It’s very important to have a structure like this to help you out in every area possible.
- Business coach – our business coach keeps us accountable and makes sure we know where we are spending money and how much money we are making down to the last cent.
- Image coach – our image coach has helped me in business for a long time now. Jon has been there and seen us grow throughout the years. He has helped us with all of our personal and business branding and sending out the image for our brand and business so we can get the best out of what we have.
- Personal trainer – it’s very important to stay fit and healthy through all the stressful times and good times. Being healthy keeps your mind clear and helps you make the right decisions.
- Accountant – my accountant would be the most important role in the equation.
With every financial decision I need to make he is told and it’s discussed. My accountant helped me sell my business and achieve what I achieved so I trust him with my financial side of the business, which is important. He is very straightforward and will tell you how it is. It’s important to have an accountant who can do this.
What advice would you give to people looking to start an SME?
The advice I would give to people who are wanting to start an SME is go with your passion! It’s easier to work somewhere where you love to go every day. Also, research what can go right and wrong with whatever you do. It’s always great to know the best and the worst so there are no surprises later on. Also try and do it by yourself (or with your partner). Having control of your destiny is a great feeling as well.
There is nothing better than not having to answer to anyone and being able to do whatever you want when you want.
Also if you choose the team right at the start and build your foundation properly, you will prosper a lot faster and have a sustainable business.
Jon Michail is CEO of Image Group International (IGI), Australasia’s No 1 image coach. IGI supports people and their organisations to monetise their personal and corporate brands.
© 2014 Think & Grow Rich Inc. | This article first appeared in Think & Grow Rich Magazine in February 2014.