10 Things I Learned in My First Year in Business

On August 4, 2016 I bought my first domain for a customer. The first time I am working on a project outside my own. That day marks the birth of my web design business – FutureX Media.

Yesterday, we account for our one year in business, and we are happy to have landed a huge six figures revenues over the course of 365 days.

Within the year, we have worked with about thirty customers and registered over 24 domain name and built and rebuild websites. 

For all these 12 months here are the top ten things I learned.

#1. Know Something before you start
Sincerely, not until now that I appreciate the things I have learn before I started. So questions like what are domains? Why hosting? Where to host have steady answers in my brain.
Most importantly, even before I choose this path I have been devoting my time into learning how to sell, market products, convince people about it and the rest of the marketing tactics.
It then makes it easier for me to get started, train my team and send in sales. All the readings finally tell on the way I motivate my team.
I also clearly understand that I recent book I read by Ramit Sheti was one of the thing that inspires me to take action and it was a single line that says:
“you can make money doing anything”

#2. An Eye for Opportunities
One of the mantra we chew for months is to see men as men and tree as tree.
But forget it, we meet some customer with buying behavior similar to the symptoms of Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis - we could neither conclude whether they are tree or men.
Well, we have least of choice to control the aura. Nonetheless, I think we are more susceptible to seeing to opportunities others may find hard to see.

#3. Offer to Help
I know I never knew August 2016 will be the birth of what I finally named FutureX Media. I only offered to help. And then I saw the boundless opportunities and how much more people will need my help and ready to pay me for doing so.
The pastor at His Presence Apostolic Church International Ministry called my younger brother to come help him create a professional email, so I eavesdrop when my brother said he doesn’t have such technical knowledge and I decided to step in and help, not financial string attached.
I know of a web hosting services that provides that at a reasonable price of few dollars for the first year offer.
I articulated my points, and he buys in. He then introduced me to a church member who also want something of such for her orphanage home. That’s where the business kick-started.

#4. The World is not that harsh
If anything, this is one of my core message. I mostly echo this when I look forward to motivate my team to go marketing. The world is not that harsh, go ahead and make the sales call.
Many people will probably say NO, but you will soon get use to it and realize how important those NO are for you to move forward.
We received a heck of NO. And we hope for more in the new year. The frank NO doesn’t make the world a hell for business to strive and thrive, it only teach us to create better values.
#5. You need a team
There is a common saying, if you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.
There are limits to what you can attain alone. You surely need a team, no matter how weakly coordinated you find them to be. Sincerely, you can not market alone, code yourself, speak with all customers, monitor the trend, research products changes, determine design combinations and patterns. You will probably die soon than we thought.
Jokes apart. Your team is perhaps going to be your most important asset as start-up.

#6. Marketing is everything
If you cannot sell yourself. If you cannot connect with people, read thoughts and understand fear, don’t think of starting a business.
Don’t buy into the lies of remarkable products sell itself. Maybe they are right, but it just don’t work here. Remarkable products that nobody knows about is as good as dead.
Unless you seriously market yourself and your products, nobody gives a damn. Thank God I learned this early to welcome good marketers as Bamigbade Joshua on board.
During the business year he landed how about 10 customers, then I pay him his commission accordingly.

#7. It’s not about you
I am guilt too. I thought it’s all about me at first. I initially the business exists to feed my ego or clothes me with latest Versace and Gucci.
That was one of my dumbest thought because I learned the truth that the business is far from being about me, it exists to sell problems. For FutureX Media, it is solutions to digital problems and marketing.
It is more about the customers, the team and maybe a little bit about you.

#8. Appreciate your team always
Your team are made of humans that will develop fatigue, annoys you or even do something that will knock you out. But there are darling you need to have a great business life.
They are my strength and sometimes my weakness. We had moments that matters together - Harsh discussion, cold negotiations, hunger times, commission troubles, who gets what, when and how?
The best thing is you can do - always appreciate their efforts. Thank them for buying your dreams. Have your little ways of appreciating them. Offer help in trouble times.

#9. Relationship before leadership
This is by far most important. If there is no team, no business. If there is no great leadership, no team.
Leadership starts with relationship. Having robust and value laden relationships have greatly helped me in building the world best digital marketing and web development team in human history.
You doubt that? Try us out…
#10. Constantly learn along way
Keep learning what matters, brutally cut the abstract off. Go more practical and learn more in areas that dealt with your customers needs, demands and possible wants.
The curve of learning is always rising up to the right. Don’t expect your customers to demand the same products you served them two months ago. They just love to see new innovative touches. Those don’t come without further studying and digging deeper on your products.

#11. Customers first
How many times have you heard that cliches? Maybe a few thousand times. I think they are right, your customers are of great importance to the survivor of your business especially as a startup in the early days.
If you are not ready to mourn the death of your business, just chair the customers first. They are the breath that keeps your business alive.
#12. Gain later
I will be mostly disappointed, if you are like me expecting huge profits and returns from your first year in business.
Business is one of the game the wins come later. We rolled in a fair sum but the larger of it goes back into solidifying the business.
More importantly, first year means something like the bonanza or customer tasting year to me. So I expected just enough to foot the bills, give commissions, and keep the business going and that is what you should probably envisage too.
Anyways, your business case might just be different from ours. We are into web development and digital marketing for small and medium scales business, and this may join the reason for the low marginal profit.

Bonus: #13. Don’t place anybody on salary
I think that statement is clear and straightforward.
The reason you may ask is that you are probably going to face a lot of downtime months which paying salaries may become extremely hard and if any of the workers decided to leave at these moments, it may cause the end of business.
I have learned these before I ever call anyone on my board, so it has often been a first conversation about commission percent and formula rather than how much I am willing or he is ready to pay/take per month.
Commission means you get paid only when you could probably land a deal or work on a project. No project, no pay. No sales, no pay. Little stress from both sides.
Conclusion 
The above are my topmost lessons from my experience in the 365 days cycle of business. I look forward to learning more lessons in my second year.
Thanks to all those that believed in FutureX Media and considered working with us. We are deeply grateful.
We promise to always deliver the best that we could produces. Constantly learning and improving to meet your demands.

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