5 Lessons I’ve Learned in 5 Years of Running my Business
By Nellie Akalp
Unlike many business owners, I don’t fear the mistakes I make. Instead, I take them as valuable lessons to help me get it right next time. I’m constantly looking for lessons in everything I do so I can continue to be useful and relevant to my company’s customers. And speaking of my company, CorpNet, we recently celebrated our 5th birthday, a milestone that I am quite proud of.
Here are five of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in running CorpNet for the past five years.
1. Just Because You’re Small Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Compete
If you’ve ever looked at big corporations – or even bigger small businesses – and thought, I can’t compete with them. I’m just a one-woman show! you’re certainly not alone. But I’m here to tell you that you absolutely can compete against the big boys. I’ve written before about how you can make your business look bigger than it is. I’ll just add one more piece of advice: have confidence. It tells people you know what you’re doing and instills trust. And that’s the key to getting people to buy from you.
2. You Can Never Brand Yourself Too Much
I put a lot of energy into getting my name out into the small business community. I’m constantly booked with news opportunities or writing guest posts for well-known blogs. All of this isn’t to stroke my ego; it’s to establish myself as a small business expert and introduce people to my company.
I’ve learned that it’s an ongoing effort. I’m lucky in that I have a fabulous staff who I can trust with the day-to-day operations of my business so that I can focus on building our brand. If you’re a solopreneur, you might not have that luxury, but it’s still important to focus on branding yourself consistently.
3. Work/Life Balance is Possible if You Try for It
I don’t buy people saying work/life balance is a myth. It’s all about priorities. If your family isn’t #1, you can’t blame anyone but yourself if you feel you’re at the office more than with them. My husband (and co-founder) Phil and I put family first, and we’ve managed to successfully run CorpNet and keep our brood of children happy.
4. Relationships Are Everything
Every customer that calls our offices is a potential relationship. I tell my staff this. We’re not dealing with sales or numbers. We’re dealing with people. People who have worries about incorporating a business or questions about which business structure is right for them. It’s our job to build trust with each potential customer by providing useful advice, not push for a sale.
We reinforce those relationships through the content we deliver on our blog, as well as through our social media channels.
5. The Right Team is Crucial
Again, I consider myself blessed to have an amazing staff. Many of them have been with us since the beginning, and I think of them all as family. I scrutinize every potential addition to our team, because I want to make sure the candidate will fit our corporate culture (which trust me, is pretty fun and lighthearted) and want to help us succeed.
As I look ahead at the next 5, 10, even 50 years of running CorpNet, I look forward to applying these lessons learned, as well as being open to new lessons that will help us continue to grow while helping entrepreneurs start a business.
To that end, we’re currently offering free incorporation and LLC packages to new customers. For a limited time, we’re offering free name search, incorporation articles, state filing, and our unlimited 5 star customer service. I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to make your dreams of starting a business come true.
At CorpNet, a legal document filing service, Nellie Akalp helps entrepreneurs start a business, incorporate, form an LLC, or set up sole proprietorships (DBAs) for a new or existing business. She has formed more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the U.S., building a strong passion to assist small business owners in starting, running, and protecting their small businesses the right way. Connect with Nellie on Google+.