Not many things are quite as satisfying as dreaming, developing, running and succeeding at a new business. Because it’s yours. All of it. However, that pronoun can be just as unpredictable as it is exciting. There are plenty of unknowns going into entrepreneurship that make solving for X (success) somewhat uncertain.
But don’t let a handful of question marks keep you from running your own, successful business. Here’s a few tips to help you navigate the high-speed world of entrepreneurship.
You don’t visit a brand new location without first consulting a map and making a plan, so why would a new business be any different? Establish your goals and clearly detail a strategy to accomplish them. Do this early and before any big decisions are made.
A solid business plan should cover the entire lifespan of your business. It gives you tangible goals to achieve and dates to achieve them by. Detail the funding, time and resources you’ll need to get started, as well as what you’ll need to keep the business afloat. Also plan contingencies to anticipate any issues should they (and they will) arise.
Ultimately, the plan you design is the heart and soul of your new business. It’s the foundation of your endeavors and the roots to secure them in place. Don’t make the mistake of skipping this vital step; the time and effort you put into your business plan will be well-rewarded in the long run.
You started your business to sell a product or service; something you were confident enough to invest in. So it goes without saying that you need to know every detail about it. Not only should you know what it is and what it does, but you need to know why anyone would want to buy it.
No matter how knowledgeable you think you are about what you’re selling, you’ll get curveballs that catch you off guard. How well you react to these situations can either build or lose buyer confidence. The ability to adapt your sales approach to a number of situations will serve you and your business well.
In addition to knowing what you’re selling, you need to love it. You’re putting a huge amount of work, stress, time and money into your business, so you’d better love it. If you don’t, you’ll eventually come to hate it.
And people notice.
Emotion is at the core of selling a product and it’s contagious. If you’re brimming with love and excitement, your customers will be driven to find out why (read: make a purchase). Bland and disinterested? They’ll be going elsewhere to do business.
You took a risk starting your business, didn’t you? Well, you’ve only gotten started. Success won’t fall in your lap just because you took that first step. There are still plenty of steps ahead of you, and not all of them are sure and steady.
But that’s the excitement of starting and running your own business: you’re in new, uncharted territory. Sure, you may be tapping into a market that’s already been established, but no one before has done what you personally are doing now. And that means you need to take risks. As in, need to.
Your business will never leave concept phase if you’re always playing it safe. The downside is that some of those risks won’t pan out. The upside? A lot of them do. Success doesn’t come easy, and certainly not without risk…but it does come, and makes all those risks worth it.
Technology is a brutally fast beast. Hesitation can irretrievably cost you valuable tools and resources, so our advice is don’t hesitate. The most successful businesses are early adopters: always on the frontlines of new tech, eagerly awaiting the next big thing. On the opposite end are the late bloomers. They’re cautious, almost to a fault, and only jump on what’s “In” as it’s going out.
You really don’t want to be a late bloomer. Trust us.
Instead, keep an eye on the tech industry. Everything from social media and shopping platforms, to automation tools and hardware should be on your radar. Explore new opportunities and research interesting tech. The more flexible your business, the more success you’ll see.
You’ve no doubt been inspired, to some degree, by the success and achievements of other business owners. It’s exciting. The ability to take something you love and turn it into a profitable endeavor is incredibly gratifying. It’s also really, really, really (a few more buckets of really) hard.
We’re not saying this to dissuade you from starting a business; quite the contrary. It’s absolutely worth it. Just recognize that building a successful business is going to require a lot of dedication, flexibility and resilience.
Failure is hard to embrace. It’s the direct result of not being successful, and let’s be honest…it’s not awesome. Worse still? You’ll probably face a lot of failure in the early stages of business development. Luckily, failure also offers you an excellent opportunity to evaluate your business. A wise man once said, “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” (Was that from Batman? Yup. Alfred gets it.)
Always study and analyze each failure extensively. What didn’t work? Why didn’t it work? Are there certain aspects that were successful? Failing offers you a repertoire of valuable information that’s essential to building a truly successful business. Not only does it build expertise on how to avoid failure in the future, but also bolsters the successes you currently enjoy.
Here’s a sound bit of advice: Don’t work your horses too hard. Unless your business is equine in nature, that horse is you. Starting a successful business requires you to go the extra 10 miles, consistently. Maintaining a successful business requires that you also recognize the need to rest, periodically.
Both can be accomplished by carefully planning and budgeting your time. What you do and for how long is at your discretion, but don’t cut “Me Time” from your schedule. You can’t always avoid burning the candle at both ends. Do it too often, however, and you’ll end up burning out altogether.
There’s no formula for success. All those biz guides and how-tos may offer incredible insight, but at the heart of every single one is someone else’s success. Running a successful business is tough. Even when you pick up speed, it’s a bumpy ride. Don’t complicate things by trying to compare your experiences with the success and failures of others.
At the end of the day, no one has ever been in your exact situation; this is your business. Recognize the value in others’ advice but don’t ignore what your gut is telling you.