No Entrepreneurial Experience, No Problem – 5 Tips for First-Time Business Owners

By Kelli Amrein, Owner of Celebree School of Elkridge

Becoming a first-time business owner can be intimidating as you enter the unknown. It requires hard work, patience, and dedication to succeed. Not to mention the industry trends and innovations that are essential for you to stay in-the-know on.

The best way to take on the new challenge is to prepare yourself – do your homework. Before I became a first-time business owner, I had worked in the early childcare education industry for almost two decades. My father had an opportunity to become a business owner but ended up not pursuing it. But when a similar opportunity presented itself to me, and with the brand I had various roles with for 11 years, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

I took a huge leap of faith and now, I am the owner of Celebree School in Elkridge, MD. I learned a lot as I went through the process of signing a franchise agreement to opening my school, and I feel others who may be embarking on their first entrepreneurial journey can have equal success with the right advice and the right mindset.

Stand Firm in Your Passion & Familiarity for the Industry

To make up for your lack of experience as a business owner, seek out entrepreneurial opportunities that excite you, you have a passion for, and experience in. Steer clear of businesses and industries you don’t have knowledge or familiarity in as it will only make for a steeper hill to climb.

When you are passionate about what you are doing, you are more committed to creating success – in whatever capacity that might look like. An increased confidence in a concept and industry you enjoy will take you far.

Embrace Vulnerability & Commit to Learning

In starting a business, a lot of decisions need to be made and you may want to do it all your way. But ultimately, it’s the time to put your pride aside. Yes, it could be uncomfortable at first, especially if you feel certain about a decision you want to make. But the short and long-term success you will have in your ability to be vulnerable and ask for help, will be far greater than if you only relied on yourself.

Being vulnerable in a leadership position is not easy, but it garners an unmatched level of respect and trust. Put this piece into practice by talking with other entrepreneurs and remain open to listening to their feedback. Simultaneously, commit to your own learning whether that is through online resources or taking classes, etc. Being a first-time business owner is an ongoing learning process – follow through.

Finances are Essential: Understand and Manage It Immediately

There are many factors that go into running a business, but finances are an area that always needs to be a priority.

Before making any big decisions, make sure you have a strong understanding of your finances and what the long-term commitment looks like. First and foremost, ensure you have more than enough capital to get the business started. As things progress, continue to stay on top of all your expenses, manage the budget, and set strict financial goals.

If you do not feel confident in this area or going at it alone, look to an advisor, mentor, or hire the necessary help.

Empathize with Your Customer to Understand How to Best Serve Them

The success of a new business lies largely in your customer base – this is where it all starts. You need to understand your target audience and market. Make it a priority to put yourself in their shoes as this will give you the right point of view to best serve your customers.

Get to know their wants and needs, collect their feedback, and most importantly, implement it. Hearing from your customers first-hand will give you the inside look at crucial insights such as how your product or service is performing, and if the price point is in aligned with their budget. Empathizing with your customer and understanding who they are will unlock a wealth of applicable knowledge for your business.

Calm Your Nerves with the Right Mindset

This new endeavor will have learning curves and you are bound to make mistakes along the way. Don’t let these cloud your judgement or weaken your mindset. Look at these challenges as opportunities that will better you in the long-run.

Remain agile and keep your goals front of mind – this will help you make up for mistakes instead of letting them overcome you. And to help calm your nerves, surround yourself with a supportive network of people to act as your biggest cheerleaders.

As you start taking the first steps into entrepreneurship, put these tips into practice. Stay confident in your abilities and practice due diligence every step of the way.

Kelli Amrein is the Franchise Owner of Celebree School of Elkridge, MD, a leader in early childhood education that provides infant and toddler care, preschool, before and aftercare, and summer camp programs. For more information about Celebree School and its franchising opportunities, visit

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