5 Things We Should Have Done Sooner when Starting Our Business.

The last five years at Polar Notion have been filled with tremendous learning and growth. While we’ve made some sound, thoughtful decisions along the way, the greatest learning has come through failure and frustration.

In hindsight, I definitely would have done things differently. For those getting starting and as a reminder to myself for future ventures, here are 5 suggestions I would offer that have had a massive impact on our business. Your mileage may vary but if it pushes you to be more thoughtful and intentional, it’ll be time well spent.

1. Outsource Bookkeeping.

It’s a distraction that handcuffs most entreprenuers. Knowing your numbers is important, but making sure the $3 purchase gets allocated correctly is better suited for someone else. Time is our greatest asset.

Spending time on things that don’t grow or improve the business is more costly than outsourcing fees.

2. Delegate Scheduling.

Prospect meeting are important. Setting up when the meeting will take place is cumbersome. Syncing calendars, reminders, rescheduling, and dealing with cancellations all take time away from more important pursuits. While there are great tools that simplify the process, we opted to bring someone on part time to handle this. Our style is more boutique and very relational. It’s a decision that was specific to us and I would definitely repeat.

Whether is a person, a service, or an AI, it shouldn’t be you.

3. Replace Yourself.

For founders and entreprenuers, there is a perpetual tension between working ‘in’ and working ‘on’ the business. Since development work is a core part of the service we provide, it was very hard to mentally cut-ties with having my hands in every project. In hindsight, it was one of the largest things holding us back.

Replacing yourself within each role or the organization is essential in having a business that could run without you. Anything less and you’re just self-employed.

4. Leverage Existing Tools.

It sounds preposterous that a team who builds software would need a reminder to use technology to solve problems. That irony is a consequence of too much time ‘in’ the business. Systems to focus on include invoicing, payroll, sales pipeline management, and proposal creation.

The right tools allow us to go further faster.

5. Seek Mentorship.

A lot of our missteps could have been avoided by talking them through with a more experienced professional beforehand. As I’ve begun reaching out to others who are ‘further ahead’ in life and business, I’ve received support, encouragement, and battle-tested insights. I now have a network of mentors whose experience and insight has shaped most aspect of our business. It’s also a vital part of how we grow our internal team as well.

Seeking wisdom from others can be humbling but is a sign of strength.

To summarize these 5 things, protect your time. Taking thoughtful steps to make the most each action goes a long way in building a thriving and sustainable business.

Originally posted on Medium.

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