Launching a new venture is a tricky thing, it's complicated, it's time consuming, it's energy draining and downright difficult but it's also amazing, empowering, fulfilling and oh-so-worth-it.
Here are our tips for those just getting into entrepreneurship:
Focus. Focus. Focus.
Entrepreneurs are creative people. We see or think of ideas and feel the need to leap at them, throwing caution to the wind. The downside to this is that our other projects are left in the dust to clamour along by themselves without our attention and this is how so many businesses fail. It's important to focus on one venture at a time. Create a plan for that business, allow for growth and how you'll handle it, grow the business and implement an exit plan so that once you have that business up and running, you can either move away from it or hand over the bulk of the management duties to a trusted second, allowing you to jump to the next venutre knowing the first is in safe hands to continue its expansions arc.
Know what you do. Do what you know.
Yes, starting basically any business centred around weight loss, health , money making or cars will net you a profit and a large following but is it something you enjoy? Carrie Green of the Female Entrepreneur Association made her start with a business in cellphone unlocking and while she was netting large profits from it, she knew next to nothing about it in the beginning and had no passion for it and so she left it to begin her real passion, the Female Entrepreneur Association. If you don't love what you do, you won't be in it for lnog, you won't be able to sustain the level of interest and cheerleading required to keep it going. Find something you love and make a career of it and ensure that you have the knowledgebase to back it up.
Act like a startup
In the beginning, whether you have start-up capital stashed away or you're starting from scratch with next to nothing, here is the bare fact: YOU. ARE. BROKE. You need to be frugal, you need to cut all unnecessary expenses and perhaps even some necessary ones and ensure that any money earned from the business goes back in to it. Starting out in a fancy office may 'keep up appearances' for the kind of clientele you hope to attract but the sad reality is that that unneccessary expense probably means you'll be out of business faster than you can get the photocopier installed.
No one can tell you how to run a business, sure a mentor can guide you and tell you what worked for them but equally so, you could meet another mentor who tells you they tried that exact thing and failed. What matters is how you learn and how you implement your findings. You need to train and plan, speak to those in the industry, learn the industry, create and cultivate relationships with industry partners, vendors, suppliers, customers, media, and ensure that you are constantly learning. Education is never done. You should be constantly seeking out new learning opportunities.
Lotto is not a financial plan
If your idea is beyond your singular capability, scale it down. While there are the odd angel investors around willing to pour money into an exceptional idea, don't plan for it. The likelihood is similar to winning Lotto. You can't plan on winning this weekend's Powerball so don't plan on an investor. Scale your idea down and start from a more mangeable early-stage venture. You must demonstrate your idea's worth and your worth as the ideacreator before seeking investment.
Cultivate your vision
Your vision - whether that be for your personal future or that of your business is your main goal. You have to constantly be refining and focusing on that vision because without it, the business stagnates on the bottom rung. You need to be a vehement believer in yourself and in your company's future, consistently reflecting on that vision to choose which direction to steer.
You will have roadblocks, you will have criticism, you will have failures and you will have wins, you will struggle and you will drive yourself near insane trying to stay afloat but if you have the courage to press on, you'll find the bigger, more sustainable wins past the push. Keep going, Perservere, there is success waiting just beyond the struggle.
Make a plan, but be flexible.
You need a plan. A business plan, a marketing plan, a financial plan, an expansion plan - something that encompasses it al but you also need to be flexible enough to change tact when something isn't working. If your financial plan says you should be making a minimum of $20,000 per month based on the bare minimum of 6 clients per month which at the beginning you decided was ridiculously easy and yet can't even lock in one client per 6 months, you need to change your plan. Conversely, if your business grows like wildfire and you need to recruit, your plan needs to include recruitment costs, overheads, FTE expenses and a premises among other costs. These plans map out the way forward for your business, they don't need to be so indepth that alterations are wildly laborious but they do need to allow for the majority of contingencies and some that can't be foreseen.
Don't try to be all things
Yes, it's your business, you're the brains, the creator, the financier, the everything but if you're trying to be all things to all elements of the business, you're going to burn out way too fast. Choose one aspect of the business to embrace, if you're the creative side, then that should be your focus, hire contractors or employees to tackle the oghter aspects that you're not as strong in or where you don't need to be wasting your own time like administrative or website maintenance roles that can be outsourced to a virtual assistant.
Enjoy the ride
Of course it's difficult, if it wasn't, anyone would do it. It's also incredibly rewarding though and allows you to be creative and master your own destiny in a way that so many people only wish they could do. Enjoy it, enjoy learning about your business, your industry and even yourself in this process, enjoy seeing how your actions either better or worsen your business, enjoy the benefits of your hard work. This is an opportunity so many people want but rarely pursue so really push for it, really enjoy it and really be proud of your achievements.