This is a quick follow-up to an earlier post concerning entrepreneurship and a few things to look out for in the early days. A third part will be coming soon as my thoughts are continuously evolving.
It’s OK to negotiate with your customers
- This one can be scary, especially when you are just getting started, trying to establish your brand, and grow a business. In fact, I was quite hesitant to negotiate when I landed my first couple of customers/opportunities…Unfortunately, this reluctance led me down a few paths where the opportunities didn’t make sense in the grand scheme of things as the risk/reward ratio was out of whack.
- Pro-Tip: Negotiating is OK and totally expected. I am fine negotiating on rate, price, or something else, but will be asking for something in return in order to offset my concession. As an example, I am generally amenable to negotiating my rate, but will request quicker payment terms than usual.
Its OK to fire customers
- Not every business is good business. Being able to quickly determine when to move on from a customer is very important to the overall viability of your business and protecting your bottom-line. I actually fired my first customer after about eight months…It was something really tough to do and seemed counterintuitive at the time, but truly should’ve been done much earlier
Cash flow and the float are real y’all
- Cash Flow and payment terms are a little more important than you thought they were whilst working for a larger organization. Going back to the negotiating piece, I have learned that payment terms are something you can negotiate with and will somes do some discounting on price or margin, so long as I get paid quicker
A founding team is important, but sometimes it’s a nice to have
- Sometimes you just have to get started with the mission, founding team in place or not. I spent so much time in the early days, looking for a technical co-founder, that some of my efforts stalled. I have since brought on a partner and grew my team, but candidly this search was very distracting and it’s really hard to find the right people, in the right stage of life, that have the same focus as you do. Bottom line, if you have the will and the skill, sometimes you just need to start moving and the puzzle pieces will present themselves.
Bootstrap as long as you can
- Similar to searching for a co-founding team, I spent a lot of effort creating pitch decks with the plan of attracting investors so I could quickly scale my company. Turns out this was a major distraction and was not needed. While fast growth is attractive, most entrepreneurs that I know who have taken a funding round, spend an exorbitant amount of time looking for their next round and their success is predicated upon successful funding. Additionally, taking a bite of the forbidden fruit completely changes the landscape and dynamics of your start-up.
There are a myriad of do’s and don’ts in regards to starting a business. My goal is to share some of the experiences I have had a long the way, predominantly what not to do, in hopes you can shortcut success.
Beau Billington is the founder of the Free Agent, a consulting company immersed in the strategic-layer of the Gig Economy
About Beau Billignton- The Free Agent utilizes a vetted bench of battle-tested experts that work directly with companies in hyper-growth. Simply put, we provide the right strategic experts at precisely the right time in order to accelerate results. If you are interested in learning more, or joining our vetted and curated team, please do not hesitate to reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org. We live and breathe the gig economy and are always interested in a dialogue.