by Matt Fitzpatrick – National Recruitment Manager, Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers and business owner.

There are many reasons to think about starting your own business – being your own boss, setting your own hours, the chance to call your pyjamas “work clothes”, or even the lofty ideals of being able to do it the way it should be done.

All of these things may be attractive, but the underlying reason always comes back to focusing your energy into building your future instead of working for someone else’s.

With the decision to launch a business, comes some pretty startling realities. Some of these will be familiar whilst others you might not have thought about. They are all, however, hefty reminders that owning and running a small business is anything but easy. It’s worth it—but it’s definitely not easy and it’s important to have a plan.

Critical to your success as a new business owner is a solid, detailed business plan and making sure you have you thought through some of the really important things.

1. Your target customer isn’t “everyone.”

Not even a department store has something for everyone. While it’s great to think your product or service has widespread appeal, what you really need to focus on is finding the people who will love what you do and all the things you don’t do. Preach to the converted and they’ll share your story with more people just like them.

2. What you do isn’t special.

Sorry to burst that bubble. There are millions of other people in this world who do what you do. What you do isn’t the magic. The real magic comes from a combination of why you do it, for whom you do it, and how you do it.

Your What + Who + Why + How = Your Point-of-Difference.

3. The customer isn’t always right.

You can’t make a living without your customers, but, stick to your principles. Some people will just never be happy and are looking for a reason to complain. If you build your business around the complainers, you’ll be broke in no time.

4. Your business bank account isn’t a piggy bank.

Everything you buy once you start a business isn’t a business expense and it’s important to make sure you have a great accountant and a bookkeeper. The day I was able to look at my business and run a real profit and loss (P&L) statement was one of the happiest days of my life. The next happiest moment was knowing that I was actually profitable. You can’t fix your business finances if you don’t have accurate reporting and professional advice.

5. You can’t do everything.

You may be incredibly talented, motivated and the reason this whole business thing gets done each day but you can’t do everything. Make sure you have the support around you that will help you grow, not only as a business but as a person.

Finding people you trust to help you run your business is paramount. Since you can’t do everything, find people who are great at and love doing all those tasks you don’t enjoy or excel at. Not everyone can afford it when first starting out, but it’s a good idea to remind yourself that there are people to help lighten the load and run leaner and meaner than you’ve ever run.

6. Do you have a Mentor?

Even the most accomplished business leaders and entrepreneurs have mentors. If they know the value in having a trusted adviser to learn from, doesn’t it make sense for you to do the same? Ask someone you know is successful to mentor you. There’s every chance they will benefit from it just as much as you will.

7. You need a great team.

Find people you can partner with who are committed to building your dream and vision. Some of your greatest ideas will come from people with the gift of being on the outside of your head looking in.

8. Listening is the best business skill you’ll ever acquire.

Listen to your customers, your employees, your community and industry colleagues. This will help you to understand what your customers want, what works and what doesn’t work well in your business and how you can improve.

9. There are no overnight successes.

Success comes from an artful combination of humility, tenacity, failure, and opportunity. None of those things happen overnight—despite what some may say.

10. Don’t think like a business owner—think like a customer.

The greatest successes I’ve seen come from businesses that anticipate customer needs and meet them in delightful and unexpected ways.

I’m always happy to speak with people who are thinking of starting a new business, in particular a mortgage broking franchise. Please feel free to reach out via e-mail, connect with me through LinkedIn or by phone (0407 728 867)

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is correct at the time of publishing and is subject to change. It is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, Smartline recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Smartline recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.