Steve McHugh wasn't always a Barter King. It was only when he was laid off from his job as a car salesman that he starting trading to support his family. Steve now runs a successful trading post with his friend and business partner Antonio Palazzola. Here Steve gives his expert advice for starting a business.
- Have a passion and a plan: Some people spend so much time trying to perfect their business plan and make it fail-proof, that they either miss the opportunity altogether or lose interest because of how difficult it looks like it will be. Since not all plans can include every pitfall business brings, I propose to just START ALREADY! Instead of worrying about HOW everything is going to work and HOW all aspects will function, get started and you will find that your energy and brain will actually get things done instead of just thinking about them. You will be surprised at how things fall into place once something is started.
- Surround yourself with positive people: One of the best and worst things about starting a business will be your friends. Friends always have an opinion and much of the time it is about what NOT to do. By the time you talk to all your friends and listen to what you shouldn't do, you'll realize there isn't much you SHOULD do – at least if you listen to all of them. Positive team synergy (partner or employee) can overcome many obstacles that negativity and doubt cannot.
- Use your strengths: Be sure that you are ready and capable of being someone's boss. Do not take this lightly. It is a difficult job that most people think will be simple, but I assure you it is NOT! This can make or break your business.
- Accept that you'll need to make sacrifices: A successful entrepreneur must be willing to work hard and make sacrifices. I can't think of a successful business that does not have a great story behind the owner. Most of the time, he or she took a chance on something or made a sacrifice when most people would have folded.
- Adjust to the current market climate: Sometimes one's vision of how a business should operate won't always be the same down the line or be able to last long-term. You have to be willing to change.
- Take risks: All entrepreneurs do it. This is not to say you need to put your life savings up to go into business, but risk comes in many forms. People who work on sales commission take risks every day. Some go to work for days on end without bringing home a penny for their families. When that salesperson wakes up, he or she has to figure out the best course of action for that day to make a dollar. It is the same when you own a business.
- Make and maintain good contacts: A large contact base with good relationships can help accelerate any business quickly. Imagine if you had kept every email from every person you met over the last five years. Now imagine if you would have kept in contact with them, in some form, over the years. Now imagine you opened up a business and through the power of email, social media, or the old fashion phone, you could let 500, 1000, or more people know about your business in less than two minutes. Some business owners spend thousands of dollars (or more!) for that power upon the opening of a business. Today you can do it with a little work and follow up and it will help you with any endeavor you choose.