Things to Know Before Starting a Business

Starting and running a business is not easy! We have learn’t so much since launching Squirrel Sisters so we thought we would share our ‘top 10 things to know before starting a business’, in the hope that it will inspire and prepare you when starting yours.

 

  1. Always Trust Your Gut– If something doesn’t feel quite right then it probably isn’t. There are always a lot of big decisions to make when running your own company so take your time and if you’ve got any doubt then don’t do it. At the start of Squirrel Sisters we made a couple of decisions that we were a bit unsure about and it left us in a bit of a sticky situation so now we never doing anything unless we are both 100% happy about it.

 

  1. Passion, Persistence and Patience– we started Squirrel Sisters as a passion project, which happened to turn into a full time business. Luckily we are incredibly passionate about what we do but it’s not easy so you need passion to keep going, persistence to make it happen and patience because it doesn’t happen overnight… it takes time so stick with it!

 

  1. Work With People That Share Your Values– Being sisters you would think that we would struggle to work together; we often get asked if we argue but we genuinely don’t. We work incredibly well together because we share the same vision and have the same values, we trust each other implicitly and compliment each other perfectly because our skills our very different. We now only work with people who we feel that about, it’s so important for a long lasting partnership.

 

  1. Give Yourself A Break– When we first started Squirrel Sisters we always felt really guilty if we took an hour out for lunch or went to a gym class or met a friend for a catch up at 5pm. There is this unrealistic pressure on business owners that you must be sat at your desk for all hours but that’s not productive! What we’ve learnt is that it’s about balance and being time efficient. If you’re getting the work done then it’s ok and important to take a bit of time out. There are so many pressures in this world so a bit of time out should be acceptable and it’s important so you don’t burn out.

 

  1. Don’t Compare– it’s too easy these days with social media to compare yourselves to others and as business owners it can be dangerous; looking at other businesses and what they are doing (which if it’s on social media will only be the ‘best’ bits) can make you feel bad so we’ve learnt to let it inspire us rather than making us feel inadequate.

 

  1. Building A Team Is Hard– we thought hiring a team would be easy but it really isn’t. Trying to find great people that share the same drive and passion for what you do is tough so when you do find someone make sure you snap them up. We had our fair share of bad hires early on in our journey but now we only work with people who inspire us and share the same drive and motivation. We are also trying to build a very lean and flexible business model by working remotely, which means we are able to hire people that are all over the country rather than those that only want to work 9-5pm in London.

 

  1. Everyone Has An Opinion– When you’re new to business it can be very easy to get swayed by people’s opinions; everyone thinks they know best. We take everything with a pinch of salt these days and only ever make decisions based on our gut feelings, rather than other peoples.

 

  1. Investment– we launched Squirrel Sisters using our savings but what we’ve realised is that you need investment to grow. We’ve managed to get to where we are now without any investment (we’ve been going for nearly 4 years now) but we’re now at a stage where we need investment to get us to the next level. However, when you are looking for investment NEVER get desperate and only ever pick an investor that feels right. We have had several investment offers and nearly went ahead with one investor this year but we has a bad gut feeling about him. We ended up turning down the offer because he had a problem with Sophie being pregnant and ‘joked’ about writing into the shareholders’ agreement that we should have a clause if I ‘went off the rails’ as a mother! At Squirrel Sisters we are all about empowering and supporting woman so we just couldn’t work with someone that had such negativity and lack of trust in us. Know your worth as founders and don’t ever give any of your business away to someone that doesn’t have the same values as you.

 

  1. If It Was Easy Everyone Would Do It– Squirrel Sisters started as a blog, it was never a business idea… it just happened to turn into one and with that came stresses. There will be times when we are having the best month and everything seems to be running perfectly and other times when things aren’t so smooth. It’s important to remember that the lows are normal and if it was easy and smooth all the time then everyone would do it.

 

  1. Enjoy It- there are many positives to having your own business the main one being that you’re your own boss but it’s important to remember that you need to enjoy it. We have always said that if it ever got to a stage where we didn’t love it anymore then we would stop because like we mentioned before it’s all about passion. If the passion goes then there’s no point.