5 Lessons For Startups

By Jeff Rose

I started my firm on a leap of faith six years ago. Knowing nothing about running a business when I began, I learned plenty of lessons along the way. I hope my been-there-done-that advice is helpful when you start your own venture.

Growing up, I had no aspiration of being a business owner. I majored in finance in college because my dad thought I should and I kind of liked numbers. After graduation, I entered the financial services industry, working in a brokerage firm, cold calling people to get clients.

What got me thinking about starting my own company was Robert Kiyosaki’s entrepreneurship book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” I realized that, even though my income potential was unlimited, I was still an employee.

Then, my brokerage firm was bought out, creating one of those moments that almost forces one to change direction, and that’s what I did. I, along with three of my co-workers, started our own financial services firm. I was finally self-employed.

But actually running a business was something that no one ever taught me in school. It was definitely very exciting but also very scary.

I’m proud to say that so far things have worked out since I made that daring move. Here are five lessons I learned through the process.

Being a startup founder means playing many different roles that you don’t concern yourself with when you’re on someone else’s payroll. You need to learn the skills involved in various tasks to make your business work.

For example, let’s say that you’re a plumber, and a great one at that, but what do you know about marketing your business, pricing your services, ordering equipment and managing employees?

When I started the business, I had to find a suitable place to rent, and choose and buy office equipment at affordable prices. I had to learn to market the business, hire staff and train them. And I had to do all of these while not compromising the service the existing clients received.

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