You have decided to start a lawn-mowing business and, like all entrepreneurs, you are excited about getting out there and cutting grass to earn money. There is certainly nothing wrong with being enthusiastic, but you should do some research first to learn just what is necessary for this new venture to succeed. Perhaps the first thing you should do is set three elements firmly in your mind.
You are going to devote a lot of time to this business. A good portion of that time will be taken up by activity other than actually mowing a lawn, trimming bushes, or cleaning up sticks and leaves. You have to understand that you will be running a business that requires some bookkeeping, advertising, marketing, contact potential customers etc.
Apart from the physical work you will be doing, you must also be willing to stay with your plan for the long term. Every new business has good periods and bad times, ups and downs. Put your mind at ease when some of the difficult times roll around. You’re not the only one. Keeping a new company running is quite possible. Doing this without a few bumps along the way is impossible. So be persistent and never give up.
You should put a plan in place, even if it is a brief outline of what you want to do with your business. Set short-term goals and goals for the longer periods. Start with 30-day goals, six-month goals, and one year goals. You can set your sights on two years and five years as you progress. Gather as much information as you can from others who have started new companies, and, by all means, learn from their mistakes.
Your first “state of mind” should be: Work on your business, not in it! Of course, you’ll be performing the actual work from the start. But you should also take time to work on the business. That’s where the marketing, bookkeeping etc. enter the picture. When you set income goals, use the ½ method. When you estimate expenses, use the 2x method.
Listen to the Pros
For example, if you believe you can bring in $1,000 in a certain period, plan on bringing in $500. If you think you’ll need $1,000 for equipment and supplies, plan on spending $2,000. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world use this method to protect their business from serious financial problems. As you plan, write down a few categories, such as marketing, management, invoices, pricing, and equipment.
Use a separate page in your notebook for each of these. Write down three or four ideas or general thoughts about each category. For example, under the equipment heading write items such as push mower, riding mower, rake, clippers etc. In the marketing area, write such items as social media, email, direct mail, newspaper, etc. Once you have these categories in place, you can be specific about each step.
Part of your management category should be reserved for answering an important question: Why do you want to run your own business and be self-employed? There are tax advantages to owning and operating your own business. This is a huge subject that should be researched with the help of a tax professional (accountant).
You should begin, now, to think about who that might be. A general rule will be: Much of what you own and use for the business can be “written off” when you prepare your tax returns.
Control Your Time
Time management is one of the most important habits you must develop when running your own business. Most new businesses fail within the first five years, some due to lack of effort, some due to lack of customers (poor marketing), others due to poor time management. When you work for someone else, you generally get paid for the time you’re on the clock.
When you are the company, you must use your time efficiently. Don’t waste your time. It may be quite tempting to wander around, check the mail, have some coffee with other business people etc. Wandering around is not productive.
Checking the mail should take as little time as you need to take care of business. Having coffee with other business people should be a very productive time, a period during which you are always marketing and learning.