10 Entrepreneurs Share The Most Important Early Business Decisions They Made

The first few years of a company can be the most critical for its overall growth trajectory. This early stage will set the tone for the business and determine how potential pitfalls will be handled.

As a business owner, you’ll have to make a multitude of important decisions during this time, from determining your product’s viability to setting company values. Below, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council Detail the most important business decisions they made during the first few years of their own businesses and why they feel they were so important in getting them where they are today.

1. To Ensure Confidence In A Core Product

The most important decision we made in the early days was to make sure our core product was absolutely perfect and could create a visible change in less than a week. We wanted to make something people would feel absolutely sure about, which is hard in skincare. It’s that commitment to perfection that delayed our launch but ultimately gave us our edge. – Danielle Gronich, CLEARSTEM Skincare

2. To Put Video Content First

The most important decision I made in the first few years of my company was to make sure I explained as much as I could in video format. I realized early on that people do not want to read anymore; they much prefer to just watch a video first and then they will scroll down to read if they want to learn more. In doing this, I made huge leaps in SEO as Google began to pick up on how much time people were spending on my website just watching videos. Google also owns YouTube, so there were brownie points there as well. To this day, Google is still my No. 1 referral source and awesome SEO is still the lifeblood of my businesses. – Sheila Nazarian, Nazarian Plastic Surgery

3. To Determine An Ideal Customer

We defined who our ideal customer was and niched down. Without defining who our customer was, everyone was our customer. In my previous business, everyone and anyone was a prospect for the marketing services my company provided. We would continually lose bids from agencies that were more specialized. By focusing on who we wanted to serve, we could create marketing campaigns that were highly specialized and scale them across the nation. It is allowed for significant organic growth as people know others in their specific field. Because of this, we could easily grow through referrals before we started running paid marketing to grow our business. Everyone should determine early on who they want to serve and why. Then you can build everything around that ideal client avatar. – Bryan Citrin, Chiropractic Advertising

4. To Set Aside For Employee Compensation

We decided to set aside 15% of the company for employees’ compensation. Since then, everyone (investors, employees, board members, etc.) get the same common shares, no matter what title they have or how long they’ve been working with the company. Having everyone in the same boat helps to keep everyone rowing in the same direction and it’s a valuable investment in the relationships we build within the company. New employees feel valued from the start and are engaged in our company’s development and success no matter the department. We’ve had a total of zero strife among shareholders over our eight years. – Brian Pallas, Opportunity Network

5. To Stay Focused

The most important decision I made during my first few years was to stay focused on my core services. Lots of people were advising me to start offering more services to get more business, but I said no because it would not have kept me focused. Since I stayed focused on my core services, I have created a brand for my company in the mobile and web development space. When I look back, I feel proud about my decision. – Piyush Jain, Simpalm

6. To Invest In Relationships

Looking back, the most important decision I made during the first few years of my company was to invest in relationships—to go the extra step to get to know the families that we were working with and to demonstrate my personal curiosity and appreciation, whether that meant hopping on a plane or sending a personalized gift to mark a milestone moment. I am still in touch with families I supported over a decade ago and am now fortunate enough to have the opportunity to guide the friends they’ve referred to us. – Lindsay Tanne, LogicPrep

7. To Reinvest Revenue

In the first two years after starting, I did not pay myself any salary and also reinvested all revenue in growing the company, both in terms of team size and customer acquisition. To be frank, I was in the lucky spot of having the financial legroom to do that, thanks to a previous modest liquidity event. Growing, working on an idea while constantly investing in its growth and only seeing one’s own account shrinking can be daunting at times. Still, it was a momentous decision of twofold consequence. On a personal level, it forced me to learn to bootstrap and carefully scrutinize each choice from the perspective of business profitability. On a business level, it accelerated growth by a factor and laid the foundation for sustainability. – Vlad Gozman, involve.me

8. To Select And Deliver On Core Values

It was essential to select and start delivering on a set of core values ​​in the very early stages of the development of the firm. Values ​​are an authentic expression of what your firm is all about and what it stands for beyond just making money. They have a far more practical impact on the success of a business than we often realize. Stakeholders are making value-based decisions when interacting with businesses. Companies that are not mindful of this are more and more likely to find it difficult to borrow from creditors, attract investors, sell to customers and hire top talent. In professional services, this impact is even more accentuated due to the intangible nature of these interactions. – Bogdan Gecic, Gicic Law

9. To Stay True To Myself

I gave myself permission to not take everybody’s advice. I was new to growing a business, but I had strong convictions about how to treat my clients and what kind of experience I wanted to create. I’m glad I stayed true to myself and my values, even if other ways were easier or more convenient. – Trivinia Barber, PriorityVA

10. To Prioritize Culture

The saying is that culture eats strategy for breakfast, and our focus on building the right culture at Fortress paid off and continues to pay off. When you’re a company of one in the beginning, your culture is less internal and more external. What do you stand by? How do you operate with your clients? Do you do what you say you’re going to do? Building a foundation around core values ​​and culture first prepared me for our first hire in year three at Fortress and the hundreds of employees and strategic partners I’ve hired over the years. When I left corporate America, I had a clear view on what I didn’t want our culture to be, so it felt easy and natural to build something better: a culture where others are treated how I would want to be treated, like family . – Joel Mathew, Fortress Consulting

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