“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” - Unknown
I can’t believe Pure Barre Belmar was just an idea in 2016. In 2016, opening a fitness studio felt like a daydream, a fantasy. Fast forward to June 2019, and we are celebrating our 2 year anniversary. It has been two of the most joyous years of my life and two of the hardest. Thinking about opening your own business? Here are the top things I’ve learned over the past two years:
- Your business is only as good as your employees. Hire people with good character and learn to delegate and trust. They say, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a team. This is so true in running a business. You can only do so much by yourself. Leverage the talents of other people.
- Ask for advice from others who have been successful in their business. Claude Levi-Strauss said “the wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions.” Don’t let your ego get in the way of admitting to yourself that you don’t know it all. It always behooves you to ask others who have done it before what worked and what didn’t work. You don’t have to listen to every piece of advice, but if you start hearing the same thing again and again and notice patterns, it’s likely to be the truth. “It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others.” - zen proverb
- Treat your customers like family and do everything with love. Take the time to truly get to know your customers. Once you do, serving them won’t feel like a job. It will come from a place of love and genuine caring. “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” - Teddy Roosevelt
- Kiss the 9-5 mindset goodbye. A business is a child that never sleeps. Even when you aren’t there, you are thinking about it all the time. Expectations are everything. If you start a business knowing you’ll likely work harder for yourself than you ever have for anyone else, then you’ll be prepared for the occasional (or even regular) late night and weekend grind. But, trust me, the rewards and freedoms that come with working for yourself far outweigh the regular hours.
- If your spouse isn’t on board, don’t do it until they are. The studio has made our marriage stronger but it’s because Ryan was on board with the decision to start this business. He helps, he supports, he cheers us on. If he didn’t, this would be an extremely difficult journey.
- Remember what it’s like to be a customer. Visit other businesses and pay attention to what feels good and what feels bad. I am constantly learning from other businesses what to do and what not to do. For example, what feels like pushy sales versus what feels like offering a solution for a problem. It’s a thin line. Experiencing and evaluating business operations from the customer viewpoint is critical if you want to thrive. Everything comes back to the golden rule--treat your customers how you would want to be treated.
- Cash is king. You need to have a lot more cash on hand than you may think. Everything in a startup costs more than planned. Plan for rainy days. People often underestimate how long it will take to start turning a profit in a new business.
- Get cozy with critical feedback and even be grateful for it. Critical feedback is significantly better than no feedback. Stay open to it, you can always learn and improve. And, instead of being defensive, try (even if just for a moment) to be grateful to the person for taking the time to provide feedback from which you can learn and improve. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” - Bill Gates
- Form synergistic relationships with other businesses in your community. The support I’ve received from other local business owners is one of the biggest surprises in my journey! It is always fun and rewarding to find ways to create win / win partnerships with other businesses. Yes, paid advertising is necessary. But, always look for and explore ways to support and be supported by other businesses in your community. They aren’t your competition. A rising tide lifts all boats, and you truly are stronger together.
- Your relationship with your landlord is one of your most important. If you own a brick and mortar, choose your landlord wisely. They can make or break your business. So grateful for Belmar Colorado who has worked with me as a partner from Day 1!
Thinking about opening a fitness studio or a business of any kind? I would love to connect! Hop on over to my connect page and shoot me a message.
Pure Barre Belmar Team Photo by Kendal Claire Photography.