I am coming up on the one year anniversary of officially being out on my own. Yes…it is going to be a big day for me. Little context, in January 2007, I entered the world of start-ups joining a technology company. Great group of people, but it ended up being an evolution of previous technology companies rolling over debt from one to the next. They closed the doors the day after I closed on our house. Me and few of my co-workers decided to negotiate the purchase of that business (client list and assets), and off I was jumping into another start-up with new partners. What a learning experience.
What did I learn? Well, choose partners wisely and have a good agreement in-place. I also learned that I had the personality and the drive to venture out on my own…and do what I am passionate about, telling stories. My former partners are now running a successful business and pushing forward with their vision and I am excited for their success. So here I am, less than a month from starting Bobby Rettew, llc.
So now as I am in planning stages for year two…I am putting together my strategic plan for the next few years. I am excited about the opportunities, some cool projects on the horizon, and thinking through how I want to grow my business. This is the fun part…planning the dream and putting a plan in place to make it happen.
I am also excited about my teaching career and growing academically. It is my humble opinion that teaching at a major university has given me credibility and opened doors that normally would take years to open. I began teaching at Clemson University with the Advanced Writing Program, teaching Business Writing in the Department of English. I was able to leverage that opportunity to create a student led networking event called NetworkBash. These events have been great over the last two years. Now I am joining the Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurship to begin teaching Hybrid Entrepreneurship this coming spring. This growth academically has taught me how to manage my business, my clients, my classes, and serve my passion…to tell stories.
So how do we meet our goals, how do we push forward? How? Well, I am not perfect but this is what I am thinking.
1. Have a focus! Yes, know who you are and where you are going. What is the mission statement for your business? Seriously think about what problem(s) are you trying to solve and can you generate revenue by servicing this need? Balance your passion with how you can generate revenue. We are in business to make money…right?
2. Have a plan! Not only a simple business plan…but a short term and long term business plan that maps out goals; covers all aspects of your business. What happens if you hit a recession, what happens during a time of growth, where do you want to grow and how will you get there? This plan should be re-evaluated on a quarterly basis for goal setting, then yearly for revisions and re-focus.
3. Have a mentor! Find someone that you can talk to outside of your business. This person should be someone you can trust and provide perspective while building and growing your business.
4. Grow professionally! Have a place to step outside of the business, a place to stretch the brain and grow. This could be conferences, continuing education, workshops, etc. Plan to take time off for this growth, and plan financially for this expense. I just joined WOMMA and this is a huge investment for me and my business. Not only financially but also when it comes to time commitment. I want to leverage this knowledge for my business growth.
5. Grow your network! Continue to grow your sphere and be willing to remove people from your sphere if they are not helping you grow. Continually evaluate and re-evaluate where you spend your time networking and where you can find like-minded people.
6. Retain professional help! Have a good accountant and attorney. They will not only provide professional advice but will help you grow your business and protect your interests. I have both and THEY ROCK! TJ Way of Nason Way Accounting, LLC and Andy Arnold of W. Andrew Law Firm make my life easy!
7. Make time for family! Work hard and play hard. I take three vacations a year with a minimum of a week each. This lets me get away from business and re-energize. Also…know when to turn off business when you are home with the ones you love. I am always learning to make this distinction…it can be tough!
8. Have the desire to grow! Seek ways to become a better person and know that you have faults. Be willing to grow from each decision you make!
9. Treat your customers/clients like family! It is all about relationships. You want to be on the speed dial so that you can be their expert.
10. Love your business! Keep the passion alive so people can feel that passion when you walk in the door.
Where am I taking this business, well that is for me to know and you to find out. No big secrets…just working on my year two plan. But I do know this…my failures over the last 20 plus years have taught me so much. From starting as a broadcast journalist, through graduate school, multiple start-ups…and now my own deal. I am so fortunate to be where I am today. I just want to have some fun! Year two…here I come! Also…my CFO (my wife) has given the ultimate support needed to be successful, thanks beautiful!