Lessons From the Front Line of Entrepreneurship

Aug 7, 2020 | First Person


By Molley Ricketts, founder and president of Incipio Workplace Solutions

I can’t believe it’s been five years since I launched my business. The experience has been similar to riding a roller coaster. You know your stomach is going to fall to your feet at that first hill and there’s a strong possibility you’ll want to throw up. Then the corkscrew comes and your head is smacked around a bit. The ride is frightening and exhilarating—and it’s been the best five years of my life.

I’m still growing every day so I can’t say I know everything. But here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

Know Your Finances

It goes without saying, starting a business is a risk. Know how much debt you’re willing to take on and how much you need to have saved to get you through some early challenges. Then, after a couple of years of proving your success, you’ll find you should consult the experts so you’re prepared when banks come to you offering money.

Offer Something Unique

Customers need to understand why they are choosing you. It’s easier to compete if you offer something that makes you stand out from the crowd. Make sure you can explain why your approach is better.

Have a Plan and Check It

Start with a plan and have people you trust look at it and poke holes. You don’t have to plug all the holes but different perspectives will help you see some gaps. And don’t put that plan away in a drawer. I started with a three-year plan and I often go back and check my progress. In my head, I feel like I have missed a few milestones. But I usually discover the business is much further along than I thought. 

Don’t Make Emotional Decisions

Business decisions always were intensely personal to me because I put so much of myself into my work. You shouldn’t go into business to make friends. Decisions must be made that won’t  make everyone happy. If you’re a “people pleaser,” that can be difficult. But I’ve learned if you approach people with vulnerability and truth as your guide, things will work out.

Surround Yourself With Good People

It’s important to know your weaknesses and then surround yourself with people who have strengths in those areas. Find people who aren’t afraid to guide you without judging you. Try to discover what their passions are in life. Then empower them to do what they’re great at.

Develop a Support System

The stress I had five years ago is completely different from the stress I have today. I can cope because I’ve surrounded myself with a support system made up of people who believe in me. Building success has been a wonderful reward. However, the journey wouldn’t have been possible without support from friends, family and some great clients along the way.


About the Author…

Molley Ricketts, a member of NAWBO-Kentucky, founded and sold her first human resources consulting firm in 2010. She began her business as a contract recruiter, and over the course of several years worked with ACCENT, Luckett & Farley Architects and Engineers and GE Intelligent Platforms/Yoh. Molley enjoys helping businesses hire better people and build better teams using superior technology and social strategies the web has brought the recruiting business. Learn more here.

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