Recently I’ve been thinking about how much effort and energy it takes to get a business started.  Before starting any business, my experience has been that I underestimated how long it would take to have stable and steady operations.  While a business concept seems easy, it usually has far more behind-the-scenes work required than was originally expected.

When you’re starting a business, you’re doing everything for the first time and you are doing it ALL because you don’t have the income to justify paying someone.  Once you do something the first time, repeating it is easier and your business builds momentum.  Setting up a website, setting up legal and accounting structures, setting up phone systems and office space, branding, marketing, streamlining production and delivery of your product or service, and of course serving customers.

As the To Do list grows and your earnings are still down the road, it may be appealing to consider another path that promises “simple, quick and easy” results.  What I’ve learned in a few years of business start-up experience is that simple, quick, and easy results is not the norm.

Building a real business that will sustain long term value and bring value to other people (which is the only way you’ll make money) requires relationships with people and roots in community.  Whether this is online community or real-life local community, your reputation and history with customers matters.  A lot.

In the desire to grow your business faster and see results, don’t take shortcuts with your customers and think it won’t catch up with you.  Do the right thing, look out for the customer even when it’s not in your (immediate) best interests, and be honest and open. This will lay the groundwork for your business success.  As you gain a reputation of trustworthiness, you will see your business continue to grow.