When I was in college, I had a friend/colleague/mentor who was well known for his high level of confidence that many people read as arrogance. He had a few go-to words and sayings that he used frequently, which I assumed he used to encourage us to think outside of our vocabulary comfort zones. Many of these words and sayings I carry with me to this day, and if mentioned in the right circles, those within earshot will nod knowingly.
One of his favorite sayings was “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” (He would actually throw in another “P” that I’m leaving out due to this being a family blog.) This saying can be applied to many different areas of life but it is essential for entrepreneurs. Truth be told, it’s not hard to start a business. The difficulty comes when you are serious about this thing and decide that you want to make it grow and succeed.
Proper planning will indeed prevent your business from performing poorly. You often hear of instances where companies didn’t sell enough product and therefore failed. However, there are also instances where companies grow too fast. They fail as well, and those are arguably more devastating.
As tempting as it may be, resist the urge to rely solely on the advice of friends and loved ones. While they may have your best interest at heart, they may not be up to date with the latest tax laws, marketing techniques or the best way to set up your business (sole proprietor, LLC or corporation). It is imperative that you consult a professional and adhere their advice. Of course it’s important to do your own research, but don’t try to graduate magna cum laude from the school of Google. Talk to an accountant, a lawyer, a branding specialist, a sales professional, etc. If you’ve started a business, concentrate on your area of expertise and allow professionals to help you in areas where you are not as well versed.
SupportBlackOwned.com is a great resource for finding and building collaborative business relationships. The site has been updated recently making it even easier to find reputable Black-Owned Businesses. Search the site for professionals that can assist you and do a little research of your own. You can also use the new mobile app if you’re on the go and while traveling.
As for my friend/colleague/mentor, I haven’t spoken to Chris in almost 20 years and that’s egregious. But his words of wisdom have stayed with me and for that I am grateful.