Are you ready to become an entrepreneur? Want to be your own boss? Have you got what it takes to make it through the first few years in business? In order to enable you build the skills and resilience needed to wade through the initial challenges of developing your business, gathered below are the best success tips for entrepreneurs, culled from people with wealth of experience in entrepreneurship and business development.
To become a successful entrepreneur,
- Don’t be afraid to charge what you are truly worth, but do offer some discount to customers or clients who sign contracts with you. Remember the old story of the King’s steam ship, where the old Engineer who fixed the ship charged $10,000 for doing what was considered too small for the amount. He knew “where to tap” and charged adequately for it.
- Reach out to people who are likely to connect you to jobs. And if they engage you in nightmarish jobs, make sure such jobs are balanced out with rewarding (profitable!) ones.
- Not all job offers are to be taken. As an entrepreneur starting out, you need to have a niche and then diversify later. Job offers outside your niche might be distractions, no matter how juicy. Learn to say no when you need to!
- Surround yourself with supportive people and don’t be discouraged by anyone. If your idea is good and you’re determined to stick with it through the first few difficult years, your chances of success are great. The story of Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, CEO of Wecyclers is a clear testimony to this.
- Imbibe a flexible and dynamic thinking culture. Be ready at all times to change the way you work, the products you use and the services you offer, in order to meet the demands of your customers. Admit your mistakes, correct them and carry on. (For example, if you purchase a piece of equipment that does not meet your expectations, send it back, sell it or exchange it!).
- Adopt the practice of situational leadership by allowing members of your team to take leadership whenever it gets to their areas of competence. Don’t ruin your business by wanting to be the boss all the time, even in areas you know next to nothing about. Those who tried it never loved the experience.
- Build a good relationship with your bank managers and creditors. These are critical stakeholders. Pay as much attention as you can afford to, to everyone to whom you owe money or who can connect you with funding opportunities.
- Equip yourself with constant training. Remember that as a startup, you don’t have enough resources to go about hiring people. You might need to be a jack of all trade and master of all. You will be spending a lot of time doing things that have nothing to do with your area of expertise, like book keeping, marketing and ICT support. Good training will simplify this a great deal.
- Never stay in Isolation. Endeavour to be part of a network of entrepreneurs that you connect with regularly and brush off ideas. The social media has made this ridiculously simple. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and many other platforms can connect you with tons of entrepreneurs who can inspire you to go on.
- Draw a line between your work and personal life. You should have a life outside your business. Set your working hours and stick to a strict timetable. When you’re not available to clients, leave a message on your answer machine letting them know when they can expect a reply from you. Let them know how they can reach you in an emergency.
- Plan some ‘thinking time’ into every day. Remember, your business is actually the implementation of a business idea which was carefully planned out. Let the planning continue. Think out better ways of overcoming the challenges you meet in your business. If you pack your diary with back-to-back activities, your business will never grow.
- Plan time to do something your enjoy. Meeting the challenges of a new business is enervating enough. Have a way of thinking less about the frustrations you meet. At least a few times a week, have fun, recharge your batteries. Remember the All work without play cliché.
- Write a business plan so you’re clear about what you’re doing, and update as realities change. Remember, business plans are not written on concrete.
- Develop an excellent telephone manner and react quickly to any complaint or problems. Remember, if customers don’t talk with their mouths, they definitely will talk with their legs.
- Confirm orders personally and immediately, especially those you receive on email. You wouldn’t want a third party to sink your novel business even before it gains roots. Remember, you’re a competitor and so many forces don’t want you to stay in business. Don’t make it so easy for them.
- Never lose sight of the big picture. Like they say, think big but start small. Look for innovative, little explored directions in which to take your business. Follow a spring that gets to the ocean and not the other way round.
- When you find someone cleverer than you, employ them! Be humble enough to solicit advice from people who know and have experience, for example, other entrepreneurs or small business advisers. After all, people seldom ask successful entrepreneurs how many people they sought advice from. There are Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) who can provide good guidance for entrepreneurs like you. Find them, connect with them, and learn from them.
- Don’t enter a business or venture that you know nothing about. You’ll be running to catch up for the rest of your business life. If at all you want to venture into such business, ensure that you are surrounded by trustworthy people who know a lot about the business. That way, you leverage their experience.
- Have an existing loyal customer base and start locally. Remember, customers are the reason why you are in business. Anything to keep their loyalty is not too much to offer. Otherwise your competitors will smile. You don’t want that, do you?
- Be aware that returns might not come immediately, at least not as soon as was projected on paper. So, ensure that you’re covered financially until at least the end of the second year.
- Focus on a specific goal and work at it until it’s achieved.
- Execute your business in milestones. That way, you can track progress, identify pitfalls and address them or at the very worst, call it quits before too much is sunk into the ruins.
- Never worry about how to get things done when you are first developing your idea. Money and resources will come together once you have set your goals and begun to work at them.
- Make quality in every aspect of your business your primary focus and aim. If it isn’t, you will eventually go out of business. Remember, it’s all in the packaging.
- Use the internet. Use email. Build a website. Websites are pretty easy to build these days. There are tons of videos on YouTube that would walk you through web design so you don’t put a hole in your pocket. Send out email newsletters, buy online banner advertisements and register your site with all the major search engines. Remember that Bill Gates wasn’t kidding when he said “if your business is not on the internet, then your business will soon be out of business”.
- Use mobile apps. Remember what they say: there is an app for everything. You can do a whole lot with apps. The penetration and ownership of mobile devices is accelerating impressively. Take advantage of the revolution. Create a mobile app for your product or business. On fivver.com, that can be done for as low as $5.
- Use customized emails in all your business related conversations and check your emails every day. An email address that contains your business’ domain name is likely going to be more respected and attended to especially by clients and business partners than the common email formats.
- Delegate and Outsource. You might have to hire a good Personal Assistant, lawyer or marketing professional to ensure you’ll be profitable in the future. Also, certain functions that might drain your tiny resources can be competitively outsourced to reduce overheads and ensure professional touch to every activity.
- Persevere and be dogged but smart. Tycoons go the extra mile. Perseverance, sheer determination and tenacity are core characteristics of the mindset of a Tycoon. Successful entrepreneurs battle against all the odds to build their businesses and are always smart enough to appreciate when it’s time to get out. Try to have flexibility to work outside your own comfort zones in order to bring your dreams to fruition.
- Don’t scare off investors – protecting your business ideas and the intellectual property it requires is important. However, don’t cloak yourself in paranoia and non-disclosure agreements to the point where you frighten off the very people whose help you seek. Remember, a business idea not implemented is as good as no idea at all.
Some contents culled from ivillage.co.uk
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