Entrepreneurship is about being a person who can organize and manage any new enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk; while being an entrepreneur is risky, many people who choose to entrepreneurship end up finding major success and they end up creating careers that follow their passions; many of them end up blazing completely new trails through society. Being an entrepreneur may be scary, but it can also be very rewarding for those brave enough to tackle the challenge.
When I look back at the past year at MakeYourBestSelf it is kind of a blur. Things have happened quickly and gone well at times, and there have been MANY times where I just wanted to give up and throw in the towel. If you have the notion that you are just going to start a business and experience overnight success or get millions of dollars in an instant, then there is a 99.99% chance that you will end up quitting long before those things ever happen. Before you jump into becoming an entrepreneur, I recommend you read this post.
You will need a plan- and hopefully a good one
A lot of people think that it takes millions of dollars to start a business or be successful, but the truth is, success can be had only with a great plan and a lot hard work.
Some business need high amounts of capital to get started: restaurant’s, physical businesses (think distribution), or labor jobs that require lots of equipment all will require a lot of money up front to get started, but other businesses models like consulting, marketing, or internet sales can often have low start up costs.
You need to take issues like this into consideration and make a plan before you launch. How much money do you need? Are you capable of doing everything yourself or do you need contractors or workers? What kind of business space do you need? Do you want a partnership or a sole ownership?
Don’t be the person that is so motivated to go now, that you don’t look before you leap. Entrepreneurs are only successful when they take calculated risks, and starting a business without a detailed plan is a lot like taking your time and money to the casino: there is always a chance of success, but the house usually wins.
There will never be a perfect time to get started
Getting started is usually the hardest part; it takes the most effort, causes the most fear and procrastination, and it is often the culmination of a ton of planning, dreaming, and hoping.
While the first tip- you need a plan- is very true, you must realize that no plan will ever be perfect and at some point you just need to begin. Plans will lay the groundwork of a great business, but it takes concrete steps and actions to actually build a new business.
You can spend years planning for contingencies, building thousand of dollars of savings, and meeting with investors but at some point you have to turn talk into action; at the end of the day, talk is cheap and everyone has some dream they think about, but an entrepreneur is a person who actually makes it happen.
Start small and leave room to grow
Many people make the mistake of trying to start too large or grow too quickly with their first business or project. Many of us tend to gravitate towards professionalism and perfectionism, and we want our first project to be totally perfect in every single way, but this impulse actually ends up being the downfall of many start-ups.
A great business requires profit to keep going- plain and simple- and if you aim to create something so large and professional that it uses up your start-up reserves before the profit turns positive, you are going to end up broke.
The best practice is to start your company with as little as humanly possible, prepare for a lot of long hours, hard work, and sacrifices; try to create a business early on that is easy to scale and grow as growth becomes feasible; create a business that is lean and agile and then add to it as it becomes possible, don’t try to do everything at once.
It is much easier, and much safer, to create a small company with huge growth potential, than it is to create a fortune 500 company straight out of the gates. Your venture doesn’t have to start out as a Google or an Apple type company, but if you build it right in the beginning, then it can eventually become one.
Don’t panic, Kaizen
Kaizen is simply a Japanese term that means “change for the better”. Everything that happens in business comes with a chance to learn something, change something, or do something better, and 95% of the problems you encounter in business will not have been planned for. Unless you have already created several successful businesses in your field, then truth is that you won’t know or be able to plan for many things that will happen.
For example: an entrepreneur starting a marketing company will never know the difficulties of finding new clients to business afloat, they won’t anticipate the troubles dealing with lazy employees, and they won’t know what to do when they end up spending 3 days with IT to get their crashed website back-up, but each disaster is an opportunity to learn valuable insight about your field and do it better the next time.
Even if you are already an expert of your craft you will still have a lot to learn about implementation, and you will either need to be willing to learn, or be ready to outsource your problems to someone who is qualified to fix them.
When problems strike, stay calm and find a solution or find someone who can solve them for you; adopt a kaizen mindset and look for new growth and the learning opportunities that come with each setback, failure, and challenge.
Give your customers what they want
Most businesses start out with a clear intention in mind, ie. a product they want to sell or a service they want to offer customers, but most businesses end up producing totally different products over the long haul; as a company produces or sells something, the customer will almost always provide a valuable opportunity to create an even better and more desired product.
You should almost never sell something based off of its specs alone, but rather, you should almost always aim to sell something based off of the benefit it offers for the consumer. Steve Job’s learned early on that his idea of selling computers- that had to be assembled first by consumers- would never take off, because it required an extensive knowledge of programming before a buyer could even use his product.
Steve Jobs readjusted his focus and Apple computers sought to create the first computer so simple and intuitive that anyone could use it; by creating a product that offered awesome value and benefits to their main customer (pretty much everyone with enough money to buy one), they revolutionized the market forever.
Don’t sell a product or service because you think it is valuable, but rather, figure out what your customer wants or needs and then create a product or service that will provide it for them.
Many entrepreneurs have to learn these lessons the hard way, through frustration, failure, and even bankruptcy, but you can bypass some of the heartache and be better prepared for your own venture with these tips. Understand that successful business is built from vision, hard work, and most of all determination.
To the would be entrepreneurs of the world, it is a brave new world, and if you are willing to take the risk and never give up, then you can have just about anything that you desire.
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