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  • Writer's pictureEnterprise Orchard

Regrets and advice from small business owners

Starting a business can be daunting, as a founder there will be many challenges you will face and although those challenges will help you learn and grow it’s always great to get a head start and know what to expect. Getting advice from experienced small business owners can massively help you grow so it’s important to listen to their journeys, wisdom and mistakes to save yourself time, headache and money.

Before we get into some invaluable advice from our founders, if you’re looking for a community and like-minded people for more help in your journey, then you have come to the right place. Join The Engine Room today, it’s our peer learning programme where you can talk to business owners and discuss concerns, achievements, and everyday business challenges, a link for more information can be found at the end of this post.

Now let’s get into the advice, we talked to two of our founders to really find out what they would do differently if they started their business again today...and this is what they said.

What would you do differently?

Establish the kind of founder you are and be reflective - continue to check yourself and ensure you are making the right decisions to reach your end goal

Be clear on your vision and what you are/not prepared to compromise on - don’t be afraid to turn down opportunities if it doesn't make sense for your vision

Focus on understanding success is not a straight path - everyone has setbacks, it’s normal!

Get a founder agreement - you never know what can happen, even if you trust your partner completely, a business can still get messy so it’s important to have one just incase

Ask difficult questions to your co-founders - even if it may be uncomfortable it’s important to know you’re both on the same page

Create an in-depth business plan

Don't take on too much or multitask to help reduce burnout and half-finished jobs

Have a set sales plan

Stress importance of transparency with employees - create an environment where there's always honesty

Be honest and don’t hold back

Don’t waste time and money with expensive consultancies when you can easily do the work yourself - or investigate properly to ensure you will get your money’s worth

Build a presence and brand on social media before releasing products to help when you’re ready to sell

Be consistent and patient with social media to build an audience

Marketing tip! - Add a poll to the checkout page to find out where people are hearing about you

We also asked our founders what they would replicate to find out what went well - here's what they said

What would you replicate?

Having a clear vision for my business helped me make the right decisions

Have organic clear relationships because not everything has to be transactional

Spend time and money on branding and products to ensure you create something you are completely happy and proud of

Create premium products that you are completely happy with to help you stand out

Lastly, always trust your gut - you got this!

Reading and researching will always be important but taking the jump to start your journey is where you’ll learn the real lessons on how to navigate running a business. Remember, if you need more help and guidance, we are here to help.

Our Engine Room programme provides expert guidance through weekly Zoom sessions in small close-knit groups of 6. The sessions include expert-led masterclasses delivered every 3 weeks by our wonderful partners. This is your chance to be part of an engaged community of founders, delivering business growth and collaboration. To find out more please visit


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