Running a business is a challenge – just ask anyone who’s tried it. Starting one is even more difficult, especially if it’s just yourself, your idea, and a grand vision to make it the best that it can possibly be – if you can survive the first year then you’ve accomplished more than most!
That’s what Brian Casel has experienced (and more) in the last since since launching Restaurant Engine, a niche-based product to help restaurant owners get their own food-based business off the ground. His reflection is revealing because it’s not about just the good that he’s experienced and instead he’s decided to share the things that didn’t work too well.
For example, he learned last year that he spent way too much money up front on his startup costs, he didn’t prioritize his time as he should have, and even hired a virtual assistant too early in the growth of the business:
As a solo founder of a bootstrapped startup, there are so many things that need to get done at any given time. I’m literally trying to do the work of a 5+ person team all by myself at times.
The only way to make this work is accept the fact that things will get done at a slower pace than companies with larger teams. And the only way to makethat work is to be ruthless about setting priorities, goals, and personal deadlines.
I didn’t do this in 2012. I just had a massive to-do list and jumped from task to task haphazardly. Sometimes tasks became “urgent” because one customer kept emailing me. Sometimes I wanted to work on something I enjoyed doing more than something else that should have been done first. After a few months go by, I review my progress and see big pieces not getting done. Then I feel unproductive and less motivated to continue on. It’s a bad cycle to get caught up in.
It’s a candid look behind the scenes and I really appreciate that about Brian’s post. We all could learn a thing or two so that our efforts this year are just as streamlined, effective, and fruitful.
Thanks Brian for sharing your honest behind-the-scenes and we’re rooting for you in terms of a big 2013! Best of luck!