Surviving 10 Years in Business

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by Schae Lewis, Certified Professional Organizer®

Around 2008, my best friend, Bahar Partow, and I started conceptualizing what would eventually become Mission 2 Organize. After 2 years, we officially launched our business in 2010. Over the past ten years, we have learned quite a few lessons.

Having a business of your own is hard work but we think it is absolutely worth it at the end of the day. We want to share a few of the things we have learned along the way so other entrepreneurs can know what to expect when building a business and maybe even avoid some of the challenges we faced.

Bust Your Ass

The number one thing I think you need to have in order to grow and maintain a successful business is strong work ethic. You must be willing to bust your butt, day and night, sacrificing sleep, personal relationships and your free time.

Building a business is hard work so don’t be afraid of it. At the beginning, you will likely have to do much of the work by yourself. You are the accountant, bookkeeper, customer service agent, marketing director, production manager and the salesperson! It can be overwhelming during the initial phases. Go into it, knowing that you will have to work harder than you ever have before. I can tell you, it’s all worth it.

Stay Consistent

No matter what your goal, consistency is key. Want to lose weight, get a new job or find the partner of your dreams? Decide how you’re going to get there and stick with the program. Chances are, you will find success.

One example from Mission 2 Organize that demonstrates this philosophy perfectly is the success of our YouTube channel, M2O-TV. Before we even serviced our first client, we consciously decided that video would be an integral part of our business. Despite the fact that YouTube was younger than 4 years old at the time, we knew that video was the future.

So what did we do? We started making videos, one per month every month, and we’ve kept it up for a decade. That tenacity has gotten us over one million video views and an award as one of the best organizing channels in the world. Without us dedicating ourselves and being consistent with our videos, we never would have reached the level of success that we did.

Networking/Partnering

Networking and partnering with other business owners is an important part of growing any business. Even if you have never been to a networking event (or are scared to go to one), realize that is nearly impossible to grow any type of thriving business without sharing it with people face-to-face. Fortunately for me (and M2O), I love attending networking events!

One of the beautiful things about networking events is that oftentimes there is a speaker or discussion that helps to educate you on a variety of useful topics including marketing, sales and customer service. I have learned so much from my time spent at networking events and I have also had the opportunity to share some of my own expertise there as well.

While you are at these events, you will likely meet other business owners that you like as a person/mentor, share clients with or maybe even both! Teaming up with these folks is bound to make both of your businesses more powerful. You can add your links to each other’s websites, refer clients to one another, speak together at seminars, team up as accountability partners and so much more! The power of networking is undeniable and something that any business owner should embrace.

Hire Help

You may not have the resources to hire anyone in the first few months or years as a business owner; we didn’t! After 4 years of doing everything ourselves, the first step we took was to hire a virtual assistant. This person helped us do administrative tasks like sending thank you cards, confirming appointments, posting on social media and updating our CRM. Two years later, we hired our first official employee who did all of these things plus worked as an organizer in our clients’ homes and offices.

What a relief it was to finally have some help! Even though hiring someone may seem like an easy fix, it is not so easy. You’ll want to get a payroll system in place, there are taxes to pay and you need to train your new team members. That means having policies and procedures so they understand how to do their job correctly. Boy, is that a huge undertaking!

When thinking about hiring anyone, take some time, first, to put systems in place. Consider each of the tasks you complete on a daily basis that don’t necessarily have to be done by you. Write down, step-by-step in specific detail, how you complete all of those tasks. Then when you bring in someone new, they will know exactly how you want things handled. This is the key to avoiding overwhelm and confusion. Once you hand over these responsibilities, you can focus on all of the crucial things that only you can do.

If You Have a Business Partner…

Having a business partner is a double-edged sword. There are times when you are glad to have someone else to carry the load and then there are other times when you wish you could just make all of the decisions yourself.

Presumably whomever you are considering starting a business with is trustworthy but before entering into a partnership, be sure to sign an agreement anyway. This agreement not only explains how the business will be dissolved, but it also details how the shares are divided, who is liable for any debt, partner distributions and more. It is wise to have these guidelines in place well before your business is up and operating…just in case.

Just like any partnership, compromise is a big part of working with another person. Bahar and I learned very quickly to “pick your battles”. Some decisions are worth fighting for because you believe in them so strongly and others are not. Choose your battles wisely because if everything is a battle, the business will suffer. Remember that you decided to go into business together for a reason.

Starting a new business is an exciting adventure. Growing it over the long term is even more enthralling. As long as you are willing to work hard, stick with the program, make valuable connections, hire help when you need it and protect your partnership, your venture is sure to grow.

Comment below and let us know what you have done in your business to stand the test of time. Keep reading our M2O Blog to find out how to organize your files, office supplies, computer and more!

This article was written by Mission 2 Organize

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