Once Upon a Time, or; When I Started My First Business

Last month I had the opportunity again to visit Edmonton, Canada, where we lived for five years in the nineties. It is always a pleasure coming back. I feel so fortunate to know so many Canadians that I truly can call my friends. Whenever we meet, it’s like we saw each other last week.

Of course, coming back also brings back lots of memories. And this time in particular, I was thinking of my experience as a business owner in Canada. That was the first time for me starting a business. And looking back, I now am quite impressed over my own courage.

I started out with taking a course in Canadian Business Law, while being pregnant with our third child. With my background as an auditor in Sweden, I didn’t want to start a business without any basic knowledge of the Canadian system. When our daughter was three months old, I decided it to be a good time to start my business. (What was I thinking?)

Now everything happened at once. I founded my company and got all the basics in place, with business cards and so on (this was before the internet era, so I didn’t have to worry about websites and social media). I also started to outline a business plan for my company, with both long term and short-term goals.

From day one I had a very clear idea what I wanted to do. As being a mom of three young children, and a family who liked spending much time out doors, I had found it really hard to find good quality children’s clothing – and especially rain wear. I got in touch with a Swedish producer I knew since my career as an auditor, and got the license to market these in Canada. I then started to sell it in to high-end children clothing stores.

The following year my husband and me made a decision to return to Sweden. This meant I had to fold my business, before it really took off. I still believe though, it could – no, it would have been a success.

So, what is my learning from this – especially now in hindsight?

FOCUS – I had one type of product, one supplier and an identified range of retail stores – which meant I knew where my focus needed to be. With this focus, every decision was easy. Was it in line with my business plan? If yes, it was a go ahead. If not, I dropped it.

SUPPORT and SOUNDING BOARD – I had unconditional support and a fantastic sounding board in my husband. He knew when to ask the right questions that made me think, clarify – and sometimes revise my strategies. I also had someone to point out what progress I had made when I didn’t see that myself, and to celebrate my achievements.

PERSEVERANCE – Perseverance is the key to success. But unfortunately, this time around I didn’t give my business enough time to grow and perform before moving on, as I would have liked to.

Yes, I was young and not very experienced – but I got most of it right. Young, and not so foolish, one might say. What about you?

* Do you have the right focus?
* Do you have someone who believes in you and who supports you?
* Do you have someone who can be your sounding board
* Are you stubborn enough to stick in there so you will reach our goals?

When you start up a business there a numerous places that offer support. (Different in each country – so I won’t get into details here). A dedicated business coach – where you are in charge over the structure – is of immense help. Well invested money in your business. When you hire a coach, I would suggest to find a coach with experience of running a business.

Entrepreneurs who have external support when starting their business, are less likely to loose momentum when the initial enthusiasm is starting to wear off, which happens to many new businesses. If you would experience this anyhow – when you lack clarity and can’t find the way forward – much can be gained by getting someone else’s perspective.

I have coached many entrepreneurs and business owners. Almost every time they have come to me because their business is not developing as they would like it to, and they can not figure out what needs to do be done differently. They are passionate and extremely good at their main business area, but not as good in running a business. A typical business coaching agreement would run over six-nine months. During this time you will have the time and space to identify the focus for the business, try out new ideas and develop new habits. And, as an extra bonus – you as an entrepreneur regain your joy and passion for your business!

What’s keeping you? Get in touch today for a free, no-obligation discussion about what coaching can do for you and your business!