Growing up in the southside of Fort Wayne, Indiana, all the local stores were what we called “mom’s and pop’s stores.” I would walk to the local candy store to buy a snack or the local soul food restaurant for lunch. Every day I would walk into these establishments not realizing that they were all entrepreneur owned. They were modeling for me what I would one day become and I never realized it.
I remember the local soul food restaurant Link’s Wonderland would close for a month every July and I would miss eating their food during that time. That’s a perk of entrepreneurship – You can close during times that are important to you. I remember when the local grocery store Phil’s Market closed down for good. They were the only grocery store in walking distance to the hood. Everyone was so sad when they had to close down. Sometimes things happen in business and a decision has to be made to either stay in business, or close for good.
The truth about entrepreneurship is that there are pros and cons and unknowns. Everyone seems to highlights the pros, but I believe it is important to understand the cons and unknowns so that you can anticipate and plan for them. Here are my top 3 truths that I have learned since becoming a first-generation entrepreneur.
1. Invest in your business.
No one else will want to invest in your business or even believe in your business if you do not show that you do. We all know cash can be a challenge for entrepreneurs, so what does investment really look like? All monetary investments into your business should be well thought out and researched so that you are making the best of every buck you are spending. The truth is that investing does not always look like money. It can be education too. Reading and learning about finance and marketing helps open your eyes to things you may not have known to be conscious of. I have learned a wealth of marketing knowledge by just being a nerd 4 hours every week.
2. Prepare for the scale.
If you are doing business right, you will inevitably grow. One major mistake entrepreneurs make is not soliciting or employing help early on. We usually wait until we can no longer manage it on our own. This is a deadly game of Russian Roulette. Why you ask? Because this behavior can be the death of your business or you can make it through, but you are in a state of panic and fear the whole time. The truth is you need to bring people in early on, even if it is for one day a week. Educate them on the operations of your business so when it is time to scale, the transition will be much smoother for both of you.
3. Look for help.
As a person new to business, I had no idea there was such a thing as incubator programs and accelerator programs for entrepreneurs. These are programs funded privately or by a city or state that focus on entrepreneurship growth. The truth of the matter is that small businesses make the world go round. We impact the economy tremendously and it is understood we need support. If we are not successful the economy is not successful. These incubator programs help provide you with the resources you need to be successful and the knowledge to grow. Search for local incubator or accelerator programs in your area for entrepreneurs. I did just that and found out about the City of Atlanta WEI program. I have spent the past 15 months in the program and have grown my business four-fold since starting. It has been an awesome experience.
I want to encourage you to seek out the truths about entrepreneurship but to look at these truths as an enlightening, self-educational opportunity. We need you! We need your expertise! But most of all we need you to be successful so that you can touch all the lives you were meant to touch.
This article was written by Victoria Randle MSN, NP-C, Owner and Founder of The Secret Cocktail® a healthcare school consulting firm. The firm provides consulting services that focuses on creation of curriculum and policies/ procedures for entry level educational programs such as CNA and Phlebotomy on a national level. The Secret Cocktail® is a member of the 2020 City of Atlanta WEI cohort.