It’s now officially two years since starting my company PROSALESGUY TRAINING. We now have sales training clients in Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria. Being a pure start-up, all business activity is placed on the shoulders of my me and my wife. Here’s what we learned in 2013.
Financing, Cash on Hand and Delayed Gratification
After being in operation for 13 months, 2013 saw us draw small salaries. Our combined income is at about 25% of what it was before launching the company. This reinforces what I posted last year, after the first year of operation. You had best have no less than 1 year’s income in cash savings when thinking of starting your company. That is outside the capital required to launch the business. We will be taking our first vacation in a few years shortly. To be successful with a start-up, you need to be fully prepared to practice of concept of delayed gratification.
Be prepared to work harder for a much smaller income within your company. Looking forward to playing golf and concentrate on lifestyle activities? It will be at the sacrifice of your company. This is the reality of a start-up. I put in a solid 50 plus hour week, usually over 6 days. My wife would say 7 days. She works part-time for our company and holds another part-time job for 20 hours per week.
Working With The Right Clients
This requires that you have the ability to actually refuse business that you don’t feel good about. You may be offered business outside your core goals. Anemic cash flow will be a problem from the start. The right supply of cash on hand will allow you to think objectively and not be forced into making knee-jerk decisions to pay bills. If I don’t think I can actually help our clients, I won’t take the business. If my client is not engaged, I won’t take the business. They hear that from the start. Your first few clients can make you into a success, giving you confidence and cash flow. The wrong ones can make you wonder what in the world you were thinking about when creating your start-up.
Faith and Courage
Thinking of a start-up? Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster. There will be days of frustration and anxiety as you look for the right clients. Your trip to the community mailbox every day will be a new experience as you wait for much needed funds. Every time a cheque arrives, you will look at it and smile. That’s my company. Not my employer’s. Our company – our blood, sweat and tears. Pace yourself. Self-employment is a marathon, not a sprint. Hold some of the positivity of the great moments for the days when you need to tap into your reserves. If you don’t have the support of your family, specifically your significant other, I would not even consider self-employment. Your decision involves many people, not just you.
Create the same discipline that was required when you worked for someone else. No one will be watching you. There will be no employment review with the hopes of a salary increase or career advancement. You are the employer and employee. You are responsible for all business activity from procurement of clients to dealing with the government taxation people.
Is it really worth it?
Yes, more than I could ever have imagined. This has been the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s also the most fulfilling. As I write this, 2013 revenues are 50% higher than 2012 with a carry forward of 35% into 2014. I’m half way through my book The GPS – The Guide to Professional Sales, which will be released in Spring. Writing this book has been a lifelong dream that is going to become a reality. This has been one of the best decisions of my life.
Should you take the Plunge?
Here are a few questions to guide you.
Has starting your own company been a lifelong passion that you keep revisiting?
Are you prepared financially for the hardships that will occur?
Do you have support from your family and significant other?
Are you willing to work extremely hard for a small income in the first two years?
Are you fiercely independent, yet willing to seek help and advice from sources you trust?
Would the pain of not starting your company be far worse than the challenge of doing so?
Only you can answer these questions.
I know 2014 will be a great year for our company. Are you thinking of starting your own business? If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help. Just leave your comments below.
Dave Warawa PROSALESGUY