In today’s world of technology and innovation, entrepreneurship seems to be at an all-time high.
TV Shows like Shark Tank and The Profit highlight the aspirations and potential success of entrepreneurs and draws in a viewing audiences in the millions. The thought that “entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone” is becoming less of a mantra as people are turning away from larger corporations and making huge profits by turning their passions into a businesses.
Millennials know all about passion. Seen as the most passionate of the generations; many would rather have a career they feel passionate about than one that just makes them a lot of money. Most survey’s on the millennial perception toward entrepreneurship highlight that most have their eyes set on the entrepreneurial lifestyle with over 60% having goals of starting their own business.
Why would anyone want to become an entrepreneur? There are many reasons why people venture into entrepreneurship. Many envision themselves being the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, some really are passionate and want to make a difference in the world around them while others simply want freedom and like the idea of being their own boss. If you’re a part of either group, you’re in luck! We’ve got you covered with a few helpful tips to start your business and get you that much closer to cashing that first check at the bank.
Here are 8 tips that all new entrepreneurs should know
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart
Being an entrepreneur can be a very rewarding career path if your business is providing value and people want to spend money for your services. We often see the lavish lifestyle of today’s successful entrepreneurs; the dope Instagram photos in remote locations, the fancy clothes and the popularity; and it makes many want to pursue that lifestyle. But entrepreneurship is NOT for the faint of heart. Running any business is hard work but running a successful business is even harder. The uncharted path to successful business ownership is not guaranteed. Rarely do we see the sweat, grueling work hours and sleepless nights many business owners endure to scale their business and keep the lights on. The risks, roadblocks, and psychological challenges involved are enough to deter even the most confident entrepreneur with the best product offering. So if you are starting a business thinking it’s going to be smooth sailing, THINK AGAIN! The opportunities are endless, but so are the to do lists.
Follow you passion
So you’ve decided to take that leap and start your own business. As stated in the first tip, it takes a lot of time and energy to start and run a successful business. The best way to keep yourself somewhat sane and motivated throughout the whole ordeal is to do what matters to you. Ask yourself what are you passionate about? What drives you to keep going? If you take joy in selling shoes or building gadgets, do your research and go all in. There is never a guarantee that any business venture will succeed, but if you follow your passion, there is no doubt that you will give it your all.
Know your target audience
Before spending money and time, identify who your target audience is and if they will actually buy your product or services. Conduct research to understand your audiences’ habits, needs, wants, and the problems they need valuable solutions for. Information regarding age, location, language, spending patterns, and interests are all good data points to collect for your audience. Be mindful, your target audience isn’t going to be everyone. The point is to identify your target group so that you can understand your chosen niche and then create strategies to dominate the field. This research also sets the foundation for all facets of your marketing strategy.
Create a business plan
The business plan is a very important strategic tool and blueprint that entrepreneurs use when starting a new business venture. Business plans keep everything in focus and helps entrepreneurs understand their vision and allows them to make strategic steps towards their short term and long term goals. While some entrepreneurs believe that a business plan is not needed or irrelevant, many others believe in the power of the business plan. Everyone likes to believe their idea is gold and their ticket to financial freedom but if you cannot formulate, execute, and implement a strategic plan to make your business idea work, well it’s just that…. an idea!
You need a business mentor
Mentors. They’ve been there, done that and have practically seen it all. Surprisingly, a large number of budding entrepreneurs still choose to start their career without one. Networking groups, consultants, and google search, are great resources to receive expert advice and a steady flow of information regarding business but only a mentor can provide valuable hands on experience; not shared in books, which will be instrumental to your success. Most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders talk about receiving some type of mentorship throughout their career that helped them get to where they are today.
Don’t expect fast wins
The reality is that launching an unsuccessful business idea is a risk that comes with entrepreneurship. Statistically, over half of new businesses fail within the first five years of opening. Some business don’t see any profits until well after their first year of business. How would you handle not having any incoming money from the business you have been putting so much time and energy into? This shouldn’t be in the forefront of your mind when you first start your business but it is a reality that should be faced sooner than later. This is also where step 2 is the most important. Following your passion should provide that extra motivation during trying times to keep you pushing forward.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
One challenge that many business owners face is they don’t know how to sell their business. Sharing your business with the world can be intimidating, especially when things are new. You have to get over the anxiety associated with talking to people about your business. If you can’t convince potential customers to buy your product or support your business, there is no way that you will make money. As a new business owner you will need to market and network constantly. Practicing your from the start will help you provide the most important information regarding your business to your target audiences as well as help you become more comfortable with speaking in front of others.
Effective networking starts with people around you, not above you. Issa Rae said it best “We have a tendency of trying to network up, but it’s really about networking across.” This is the difference between effective networking and surface level networking. Your peers that have creative passions and are working towards their entrepreneurial goals are the people that you should be connecting with the most. These people share your drive to succeed and will more than likely be your greatest assets as you work to scale up. This doesn’t mean if you run into the head honcho of a company in your industry in the bathroom that you shouldn’t network. By all means, give them your business card and sell sell SELL yourself and your business but in the meantime, make use of those valuable connections that you already have.