Opening a business in San Francisco is rewarding for any number of reasons. You’re adding a valuable service to the community or offering them much-needed products. While you might be all business all the time, you’ve likely experienced your fair share of humorous stories that have brought a touch of levity to your workday.
At FRF Consulting, we hear about some pretty funny experiences from our clients. We thought it would be great to share some of the most common ones we hear with you. For seasoned business owners, these might seem familiar. For new business owners, you might keep these in mind and see if you have these experiences in the future!
That Time You Had a Really Small Work Space
For most startups, there’s a lot of room to grow. In some cases, this might be more metaphorically true than literally. You might be renting out a small office at the back of a warehouse, or using a shared creative space with a local rock band. Others might have carved out a slice of their apartment, blocked it off from the kitchen with a sheet and put a paper sign with the name of your fledgling business on it. Fortunately, these small spaces couldn’t, or won’t, contain your huge ideas and grand ambitions.
The Panic When All of Your Free Trials Start to Run Out
Free trials of software or programs are a startup business owner’s best friend. There’s a free application for nearly any purpose out there. But these “free” programs often come with a catch, and more often than not, that’s a time limit. After a week, month, or year, these programs start to ask for money. In some cases, you might realize the free trial has run out when you find an unexpected charge on your business card. For others, it might be when the program locks up, holding hundreds of hours of work ransom and not letting you have it back until you sign up.
It’s a pulse-quickening experience, especially if you can’t justify paying for the full version at that moment. But it’s a great lesson in determining which tools you need the most, as well as a good reminder to update your calendar when you sign up for a free trial.
The First Time You Asked a Friend to Pay Full Price
It might have left a funny taste in your mouth, and it may have caught your friend by surprise, but it’s best for both of you. For many new business owners, there’s a tendency to offer discounts and perks for friends and close family. But these perks can quickly eat into your profits, and at a certain point, you have to cut your friends off. Don’t worry, the surprise in their eyes will fade pretty quickly, and they’ll be happy to pay full-price because your work is worth it.
While this might seem nasty, it’s actually helping both of you. Your friends and family do a better job of supporting you by paying the full price of your goods and services. It ensures that you’re making enough, and opens the possibility of getting kickbacks and perks later down the road.
Your First Failure
No one who ever started a business had a problem-free start. For some, that first failure might have been right at the beginning. You might not get the approval you need from the city to open. For others, that failure might be the culmination of a few months or years of work. You might have mischarged for service or mismanaged a resource, and now it’s coming back to bite you.
But the failure itself is not important. It may sound cliche, but it really is what you learn from it that matters. Take the time to evaluate what happened and why. Think about what steps you can take to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes in the future. You’ll quickly find that your first failure leads to a string of successes.
That Moment When You Beat a Competitor
Whether you’re one of a dozen businesses in the same industry or you serve a specific niche in the San Francisco area, you will undoubtedly face competition of some kind. A little competition can help stimulate your best ideas, strategies, and services, however. With the right amount of work, perseverance, and maybe even luck (if you believe in that sort of thing), you’ll find that you’ll pull ahead of your competitors.
That victory might manifest itself in a myriad of ways. It might be a new customer telling you they prefer your work over another’s. It could be another competitor closing their doors entirely. Or it might be an unexpected visit from a rival business owner to see what you’re doing well. Take a moment to celebrate this victory, but don’t let it distract you from working just as hard.
Opening a business in San Francisco? We can help! FRF Consulting relies on years of experience and knowledge to help you make smart decisions for your new business. Call us today to schedule a consultation.