Lessons on Entrepreneurship
Any entrepreneur will tell you that starting your own business is not as easy as it may look. They will likely also tell you it can be an exciting time. In between difficult and exciting are a few things to keep on your radar so you can navigate uncertainties and come out ahead.
Love What You Do
First and foremost, you have to have a deep passion for what you do. This passion will carry you through the tough times and even when it feels like grueling work, you'll keep going. I love being a marketer. It strikes a chord in my need to help people. And on good days, it's a blast.
Have a Clear Business Plan with Goals
A business plan is like a map. Everything that is in your mind regarding your vision should be set down to paper. Outline the key elements of a good business plan so you can easily communicate the plan and how you plan to get there. Not only does this help others understand, but it helps you to organize your thoughts and leaves no stone unturned. Your must haves include an executive summary, business description, market analysis, organization makeup and management, sales strategies, funding requirements, and financial projections.
Get Your Finances In Order
It's not easy to run your own business and finances can rise to the top of your stress list quickly. Engage the services of a solid financial guru to help you sort out the details of your financial projections and funding requirements. Even if you are a sole proprietor planning to self fund, you will see better returns on your plan when you have the right financial direction.
Hire Passionate People
Hiring people based on experience isn't a bad idea. They can come in with fresh perspectives based in the lessons they've learned. But if they have no passion, they may not mentally join you on your journey. Passionate people can have no experience but know what it takes to get a job done and will do it. Why? Because they see the bigger picture and oftentimes feel invested personally.
If you have an idea (and its a good one) don't hesitate to act on it. If the market needs what you can offer, it won't be long before others will see what you've noticed. Innovation differentiates you from others and keeps people coming back for more. Focus not on what your customers need but on what they don't know they need ... yet. The craziest ideas out there can't be profitable until you act on them.
Get Out of the Home Office
I learned this lesson recently. I had been working from home for too long and it had limited my line of sight. If you have the means, rent a small office somewhere. People will know you're serious and you'll benefit from a more rigorous approach to organization.
Being an entrepreneur is a fun endeavor for those with the stomach for a lot of work but who know that they can do more for the world than a 9 to 5 can offer. If you have vision, tenacity, and passion, you may be ready to make the leap. If you've taken the leap, congratulations and keep going! You've got a lot to offer the world.