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4 Things You Should Know Before You Start Your Own Company

They say that hindsight is always 20-20. Here, some entrepreneurs talk about some things they wish they knew before they started their own company

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BY Cristina Morales - 13 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Being an entrepreneur means that you’re bound to stumble, make mistakes, and learn from them. Though there is no teacher as effective as experience, many lessons can be learned without having to go through the painful process of failure.

With the wisdom of hindsight, these entrepreneurs share a few things they learned along the way:

1. How to make and manage money

This may seem like a no-brainer for some, but many entrepreneurs start companies without knowing how to properly manage their resources. Singaporean Kamil Faizi, for example, had no idea how to raise funds when he started his company Challenge Coins 4 U, a Singaporean company that sells custom promotional products. “I wish I knew how to get funding,” he says. “It has not been easy to raise money, but we have done so by saving up money sale by sale.”

Leticia Mooney, founder and CEO of Brutal Pixie, an Australian content strategy company, also wishes that she knew more about finance earlier on. “This is the number one thing I’ve learned the hard way, largely because I came from a non-financial area,” she says. “I’m still learning, and I think that if all entrepreneurs paid real attention in the very earliest days to the hows, whys, and wheres of money, more of them would be successful.”

2. How to lead and work as a team 

When Jason Acidre, CEO and co-founder of Manila-based digital marketing agency Xight Interactive, started his own company six years ago, he already knew plenty about the ins and outs of running a business. But the downside of knowing all these things was he chose to do too many things by himself—he didn’t know how to delegate effectively.

“When you’re at the helm of an organization, you must know how to make use of your time effectively,” he says. “In order to really grow and scale a business, it’s imperative to put your mind and energy on areas that will have a bigger impact to everyone—your clients or customers, your team, and yourself. This means trusting your team to do the things that time won’t allow you to—and making sure that each of your team members can do those tasks effectively.”

3. How you don’t have to stick to tradition

Liam McCance worked in the advertising industry for 12 years, and what he knew of work involved clocking in at specific times, long working days, and calculated holiday leaves. “I found this regimented routine stifled creativity and didn’t give teammates much room to grow,” he says. This is why for his company, Singapore-based food and wine subscription service Subscribe to Food, he wanted to shift to a more flexible work ethic.

“We have an office space, but offer flexibility for people to work from home, with an unlimited leave policy and subsidized premium food and wine,” he says. “This appealing package has attracted a talented employee pool, who are willing to work hard and experiment with new ideas. With new businesses, you don’t have to stick with old ways. Embrace a working culture that reflects the actual ethos of your company, not just traditional habits.”

4. How to set your intention—why are you doing this?

When UK entrepreneur Pragya Agarwal started Hedge and Hog Prints, she did it with a pretty straightforward approach. She didn’t give much thought to her USP, the gap in the market she was setting out to fill, or even who her target market was. “I made linocut art prints, and thought that people who love art and printmaking like me would love my work,” she writes in her blog.

But as her business grew and expanded, she was compelled to re-evaluate her business and be more intentional with its direction. She says, “I would recommend, from personal experience, to think about the age, financial status, gender, interests, and most importantly, what would motivate them to buy your particular product, that would be a great start.”