We’ve turned 5…here’s 5 things I’ve learnt over the last 5 years

Hamish Mexted Odds & Ends

It’s a little self-gratifying, but happy birthday to us. We turned 5 a couple of weeks back, so I thought I’d share a few things along the way.

BUT, before I get into it, a quick thank you to all of you who have supported us. Be it supporting us as a customer, by referring us to people you know, or even by reading these articles. Thank you – it’s clichéd, but we definitely couldn’t have done it without your support.

Budgeting is important. I hated it initially, but now I get why

To begin with I hated budgeting. On day one I had no sales, so saw no point in coming up with a budget. The logic went along the lines of “what’s the point in planning for something I’ve got no idea on”.
Then once I had sales, it became a question of “why should I budget, when my business expenses are what they are/can’t be controlled – my insurance bill won’t change just by having a budget, so what’s the point”.
My perspective is now completely different. I now have a budget not to control spending, or to force me to get more sales in the door. The budget is there to give a sanity check on how we’re tracking compared to expectations.
If we’re meeting expectations, then I want to know –it’s too easy to lose sight of what’s going well (it is for me anyway). If things aren’t heading as expected, I don’t necessarily want to change anything (there can be good reasons for things being off track), but I at least want something to prompt me to check in on whether I’m on track.

It can seem painful to delegate, but is definitely worth it

To begin with (and it still is at times today…) I thought delegating was pointless when other people don’t do things as well as I thought I did them (boy, I was wrong there, but that’s something for another day). Why would I spend 15 minutes showing someone else how to do things if I could do it in 5 minutes myself?

The main benefit from delegating is that:

Even if I spend 15 minutes now teaching someone else, and then spend 5 minutes redoing the job myself, it’s no real waste – they’re better at doing the job the second time around (plus be better at their job, and have developed a new skill)

They’ll be good at doing it the second time around, saving me 5 minutes the next time I have to do the job

A plan is important, even though I don’t follow the plan

As with budgeting, initially I did no planning. Again, the logic was along the lines of “what’s the point in planning for something which is completely unknown”.

I was in a gift shop the other day, where they had one of those coffee mugs with the naff quotes printed on it. The quote was along the lines of them always having a plan, but never following the plan because business never ends up as you plan.

The value of the plan lies in the framework it gives for making decisions. Faced with what can (at times) feel like an overwhelming range of choices, I’m able to fall back on the plan and direction we want to head in, to help limit the choices.

In case you were wondering, I didn’t buy the mug.

What motivated me on day 1 is very different to what motivates me now

On day one, I was motivated by finding customers. That was the tricky part – I had no customers and turned over $2,925 in my first three months.
Once the sales came, I was motivated by getting quicker while still maintaining service (which we don’t always get right to this day, but is something we work on constantly). Then came systems, process, and where we are today.

Today I’m motivated by building a team of people who each bring a different skill set and perspective, yet fit with our culture and where we want to head.

Privilege

What I didn’t necessarily realise on day one was the privileged position we sit in with our customers. Often we’re the first to know when things are going right, and get to celebrate with our customers. On the other hand, we find out when things are going wrong (for people both in their businesses and at home), and get to assist them through some challenging ‘stuff’.