In preparation for Georgia’s small business week, Kabbage asked small business owners to give their insights on starting and succeeding in the small business world. Small business owners from around all over responded, bringing a diverse range of experience and answers. In order to be a tool for Georgia, as well as nationwide, entrepreneurs, Kabbage has included their responses below. Kabbage also highlights Brittany Lane of Dream Beard, a local small business in Acworth, Ga.
If you were starting your business over today, what is one thing you would have done differently?
“If we were starting our business over today, we would brand it so it wasn’t so specific towards beards. We were also one of the very first companies of our kind, and we didn’t anticipate so much competition, so we would get things in place to prepare for others mimicking our business model.” – Georgia local small business owner Brittany Lane, Dream Beard
“I would have started sooner. Fear held me back from opening much sooner than I could’ve.” – Mandi Dowsey, Waxuality
“[I] would have been a lot more careful in what companies I chose to market my business. In the online space, there really are many shady marketers who pretend to be something they’re not. If I was starting over, I would take my time and vet any marketing companies carefully before working with them.” – Alex Reichmann, iTestCash
“Put more resources and focus into SEO as an online company. The longer you ignore this, the harder the climb to the top.” – Vu Tong, Cocoweb
“I would have hired an accountant from day one – that is the absolute worst thing for me to do. I love sales, marketing, growing the business, developing new recipes, hosting events, and teaching classes, but I am not an accountant. Once I hired one, it looks months to organize my books, but now they’re beautifully organized and accurate.” – Julie Pech, The Chocolate Therapist
“At AppInstitute we’ve been fortunate enough to have incredible backers, who have invested millions in the business. In the early years we limited the amount of funding we took from them, in the belief it was to our benefit limiting our equity dilution. However in hindsight, all we did was slow our growth. Given our time again, I would take more VC money earlier and accelerate our growth quicker.” – Ian Naylor, AppInstitute
“I would have hired a marketing person earlier to work on the website, social media, and SEO stuff. I feel that I could have had even more business come my way if my website was professionally done when I first started five years ago.” – Gerardo Mena, AAA Fast Construction
“I would have created a sales and marketing funnel to turn prospects into paying customers.” – Yawntreshia Coleman, Coleman & Company
“If we were to start over, we would have focused more on our social media presence. We’ve been in business for over five years and are only now just starting to focus on it.” – Aziza Hana, 10BucksARoom
“I would have set more realistic expectations about what it was possible to accomplish in the earliest stages of the business. If you are bootstrapping your business and also trying to keep up with other commitments and personal responsibilities, you have to accept that things are going to move slowly. If you understand this, you’ll be more likely to be patient and not get frustrated when things take time to develop. Otherwise small business owners can become very discouraged and lose sight of what energized them about the business in the first place.” – Seth Sinclair, Modern da Vinci
“I would have focused on ROI right off the bat. ROI is so important in business, especially when you’re just starting out. You want to make sure the money you’re spending is doing something for you.” – Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation
“Honestly, I would have found a mentor sooner. I did an insane amount of networking when I first started my business. I met many, many people from various business segments and backgrounds. I would have aligned myself with a seasoned professional early on. I did not find my mentor until almost two years after starting my business. I didn’t even entertain a mentor until I was having coffee with an ‘old school’ marketing guru one day. She gave me several pointers. We met again and again…then realized it was a mentoring situation. She is my accountability partner and sounding board. I don’t know what I would do without her some days.” – Tanya Kelly, RocSite
“I would have sought business consulting sooner.” – Bill Sebald, Greenlane Search Marketing
“If I were starting my business over today, I would’ve research and got more familiar with the industry I was getting into. Even though the research will never tell you how things will turn out, at least there are some things that can be screened and thought through before making any premature decisions.” – Debora Balardini, PUNTO Space, Nettles Artists Collective, Group .BR
“I would have spent at least 20 hours every week selling in addition to the work required to run the business.” – Russ Frazier, Visigility
“I would have researched the accounting/tax portion and made sure I started documenting all expenses in their proper categories at the start. Being a new business and trying to manage all aspects meant that the expenses did not get tracked until a few months later, and it’s difficult to go backwards and track whether the expenses were recorded correctly. Now I set aside a little time each day to record each day’s sales and expenses.” – Lynne Irving, Detroit Gourmet Nut Company
Kabbage is a small business loans provider that quickly connects small business with capital. Our technology platform reviews data generated by dozens of business operations to instantly understand a small business’s performance and deliver fast, flexible funding entirely online.