My Limited Companies - Things I Have Learned - Part 1
Having trained as a Chartered Accountant, I worked in industry for 15 years, taking the odd bit of time off to travel and escape the 9-5.
I finally left office life for good in 2012, when Nick and I bought The Coffee Camper. It was my second foray into running a small business, having previously set up (and then disbanded) The Bath Card Company, a greetings card publisher in 2007.
Running The Coffee Camper was literally life on the road, a big newly married adventure. We made incredible coffee at events across the UK for five years and built up a portfolio of clients including Glastonbury, Wilderness and The Bath Half Marathon.
Here are three lessons we learned:
- Cash flow is king in the early days. Identify gaps across the year and plan cash flow carefully. In hindsight, one of us could (and should) have earned money elsewhere in the early years to fund our transition to self-employment.
- Success is rarely quick. However good you are at doing what you do, it takes time to build a reputation, build that into your budgeted sales in the early years.
- Choose your team carefully. Managing people can be hard work, especially when they are working on your dream! Take time to get to know the people you choose to work with and to train them on your core values and key service points.
As anyone who runs a small business knows, it's awful and incredible in equal measure but never quite what you expected.
After The Coffee Camper, we built a shepherds hut catering trailer, took over a high street cafe and set up a wellbeing business, among other things! More on that and what we have learnt in another blog post!