Listening and learning from real entrepreneurs is key to being successful in business today! I had the privilege of sharing my best advice about going into business in a National Small Business Week special interview, put on by the University of Nebraska Extension.
Here are my top three pieces of advice:
- Listen to the experts. The first thing I did after purchasing Pro Printing and Graphics was find the right people and resources to help me be successful. Start by joining your local Chamber of Commerce or state organizations (UNL Extension, GROW Nebraska) and networking with other entrepreneurs. There are also several different kinds of trade organizations or peer groups, that can help you as well. We are a member of a printing peer group, which includes other printers from all across the United States, that we frequently communicate with for advice and best practices.
- Hire the right people. Finding the right employees who are as passionate and dedicated as you are is key - and tough! It can be hard to find the talent you need in small communities, but if the person you hire is willing to learn, you can train them to be successful. Make sure your employees can help you succeed, but also enjoy coming to work everyday!
- Adapt to your customer. Don’t sell what you want; sell what the customer wants to buy! Sometimes we limit ourselves to our ideal business model, but need to transform into what the customer needs instead. When we bought Pro Printing & Graphics, it was strictly a printing company. Since then, we have added website and marketing services, large format and digital printing, and more!
At the end of the day, there are no right or wrong answers on how to get your business started. Over the past four years, we have found success through getting help and advice from peers, working with quality employees, and changing our business model to meet our customers' needs. Hopefully we can continue on to many more!