Top tips for a new entrepreneur
You've decided to start a company, be your own boss and live the life of your dreams. In other words, no more of that boring 9-5 routine, the time has come for you to enter the promising world of entrepreneurship, where anything is possible and where the real excitement lies. True? In a lot of ways – yes. However, there are a few important things you need to know before setting out on your own. As fulfilling and undeniably interesting starting your own business can be, it is also incredibly hard work, and unless you have love for what you’re doing and the willingness to put in the necessary hours, you might actually find yourself worse off than in your standard corporate job. Nonetheless, there is advice around to guide you on your way and make the journey easier, as long as you’re open to learning every day and constantly improving in the many areas of managing a start-up. Here we have what we think are the most important things a starting-out entrepreneur should keep in mind, although there are many other issues, of course. You will pick up on these later on, but for now, here are the very basics:
It is sometimes difficult to explain to a person who’s never run their own business before just how physically and mentally draining it can be. Whichever sector you choose to enter – from establishing a bakery to more complex IT services and anything in between – you will have to spend a lot of time developing your idea, building it, testing it, redesigning it, marketing it etc. Of course, the question that arises naturally is – ‘why would I choose to do something I don’t enjoy’? But trust us when we say that being an entrepreneur will test you to your limits, in every way imaginable. You will often have to work very long hours, spend time away from your family, deal with not making any profits sometimes for even the first few years…and all of that will de-motivate you at times and make you ask yourself whether it was worth it starting out on your own in the first place. But if you have enough passion to get you through all of that, results will come eventually.
2. Get customer feedback constantly
Even though you might think that your product is the best thing since sliced bread (a lot of entrepreneurs typically do, which is a mistake), the reality is you’re going to be making a lot of mistakes on your entrepreneurial journey until you get the ‘magic formula’ right. You can only reduce the number of these mistakes by getting feedback from customers which will give you clear guidance as to what you should be doing differently with your product/service. The more you test your product and give to actual consumers to try out, the more feedback you will get. In turn, the more information you will have to use to reiterate your strategy and make your product even better. You can read more about how even large companies such as Google use customer feedback to their advantage.
3. Choose the right co-founders
Any organization really only consists of its people, if you think about it. Consequently, all the results the organization achieves – such as profits, in a business scenario – depend on those people and how they work together. This is a crucial point to bear in mind when starting a company, since you will have to spend a lot of time with your fellow workers and you need to make sure the chemistry is right. In addition, it is very advisable to have different profiles of people on board, with different skill sets, as there’s going to be a lot of different kinds of work to carry out and you wouldn't be able to manage it alone. Many venture capitalists often decide whether they’re going to fund a project not on the basis of the product idea (which might easily change in the future), but on the basis of the team that’s developing the idea.You can learn more on this topic from successful entrepreneur Jack Dorsey here.
It might seem like an obvious point to make, but a business without customers is destined to fail. Still you’d be surprised by the number of entrepreneurs who spend hours upon hours upon hours improving their product’s features and never actually get to the stage of bringing it to the market! Or if they do, they are already lagging behind someone who had already brought the product to customers. Being the first to market is not necessarily always the best strategy to pursue, but entrepreneurs often suffer from the fear that their product/service is still ‘not quite good enough’, which is just an excuse for being fearful of failure. Just get out and do it! Give your customers something to try out, get your brand name out there, and get as much feedback as you possibly can (as we talked earlier). Let the market guide you – but you need the market to get to know you first. There are dozens of ways an upcoming business can market itself without spending tons of cash, such as social media or various email marketing solutions, and you might find these to be a very effective means of extending your brand’s reach and expanding your consumer audience.
So, there you go. It is a list not that long, but should provide you with the basic insights into what it takes to start your own business and be successful at it. You should nevertheless explore more online yourself and get all the information you need before venturing deeply into entrepreneurial waters. Maybe the best piece of advice is one we haven’t mentioned above, which is – once you've done all the reading, just go out and do some practical work. There is a huge number of entrepreneurs who knew all the theory, but were too afraid to actually pursue their idea in practice. Therefore, take our ideas on board and never forget entrepreneurship will always have its risks, but the rewards are why it’s all worth fighting for. Best of luck!