Starting your own business can be a daunting task. You can think up a wonderful new idea for a service people need, read all the articles on how to execute it, and even hire a third party to handle all of that legal paperwork. There has to be much more to it than that though. So, I approached the owner of OneVoice to share with you his experience with starting this company. OneVoice has been around since 2000, survived many economic dips, and is going strong today. So what’s the secret to the success?
I asked Stephen to share with us the top 5 things he learned about starting his own business.
Stephen Dize – President & CEO of OneVoice Communications, Inc.
Everything Takes Longer and Costs More
When I started OneVoice back in 2000, the original business plan that I developed turned out to be spot on (for the most part). However, the piece of the puzzle that was hard to determine was the speed in which things would happen. Everything took longer than I had expected – and still does to this day. When things take longer to accomplish, it tends to mean more money. In the early stages, this almost did our company in. I didn’t pay myself for the first three years (which I would never recommend) – If you can’t pay yourself out of the gate then it’s not a company.
Always factor in 2 to 3 times the amount of time you estimate something will take.
Everyone has Advice (Good or Bad) to Offer
EVERYONE is interested in what you are doing when you give your 20 second elevator pitch. People want to meet, taking up valuable time, which turns out to be for nothing that is advantageous to your business. In the end, not many people have started a company from scratch and most of the advice I received was from folks who were working for other companies. Rolling up your sleeves and starting a company from your kitchen table can be one of the most satisfying and stressful decisions you make; but it is a lot different than working in an office for a company that is already established.
Know your business goals! You will be able to better weed out the bad ideas from the good ones.
No Way to Avoid Stress
Having the responsibility of my family and the families here at OneVoice can be pretty overwhelming at times. There are a lot families and children depending on my employees’ income to survive, and that can keep you up at night. In the end, the joy and the satisfaction outweigh the stress. There is nothing better than to see the company grow with the people that are here and being able to celebrate milestones with all of them. I am lucky to have such great people.
You need to be able to take care of yourself and have a vehicle to deal with stress (like exercise or some other outlet)
Having a Supportive Family is Critical
When I first started OneVoice, I quit my job and moved my family into my parent’s house while our house was being built. My wife was 5 months pregnant with our second child and I told her I was going to empty our savings. Our honesty and communication allowed us to make adjustments to support my dream. There have been some rough times along the way, but I never saw any doubt in my family’s actions.
You must have a family that understands the model and is all in from day one.
Organization, Organization, Organization!
Did I say Organization? If you aren’t organized (or have someone to assist you that is organized) you will fail. period. Schedules, finances, record keeping, emails, business plans, meetings, contracts, discussions, partners, and employees – it’s all too much to “figure it out as you go”!
You have to be diligent in your organization – know that it’s okay to ask for help!