Being an entrepreneur is thrilling and satisfying as it puts you in the powerful role of a business creator and enables you to use your creativity to build something new. However, as an optimistic entrepreneur-to-be, you need to be aware that entrepreneurship isn’t a cakewalk.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 50 percent of startups fail within the first four years. The leading cause of this failure is the incompetence (46 percent) of budding entrepreneurs.
As you begin your journey towards establishing a successful startup, you must equip yourself to deal with the challenges that you will face. Here are eight essential principles that every aspiring entrepreneur should follow in order to achieve excellence.
Play to Your Strengths
Begin with what’s in your hand rather than spending your energy on making big changes. Evaluate your product/services and other assets and make a list of your key strengths and constraints. Know who you are and determine the key business skills you possess that will help you start off on the right foot.
Conducting SWOT analysis to evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats will help you understand your business better. Your assets are your strengths and must be used to overcome your threats.
For instance, if you possess excellent presentation skills, but have a small customer base, you can use your skill to convince clients to buy your offerings. This will help improve your bottom-line.
Set SMART Goals and Instill Discipline to Achieve Them
Be clear on what you want to accomplish. When you set goals, use the S.M.A.R.T criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) to evaluate whether or not your goals are ambitious enough.
Whether you plan to build a 10-employee company or a larger organization, much of your business success depends on setting clear goals. Using a simple method, like the S.M.A.R.T criteria, will help put your aspirations on the fast track.
Preempt Contingencies and Prepare for Them
From a sudden change in consumer preferences to the unexpected entry of multiple competitors, your new business can be subjected to a wide variety of unforeseen situations that can affect its bottom-line. Always have an alternate strategy in place to mitigate sudden obstacles and avoid making panic-stricken decisions.
Do the risk analysis and identify the financial, technical, environmental, political, and natural threats that your business may face and devise a strategy to manage them effectively. List down the possible risks to your business on a risk matrix and prepare for contingencies in advance.
Invest in Self-Development
An aspiring entrepreneur is a constant learner who is updated on the latest issues and trends related to the market, customers, competition, and industry best practices. If you depend solely on traditional sources of information/education like your business school training, you will possibly see sub-optimal results.
You need to be aware of the changing market trends and this is possible only if you continue developing your skills by using the internet, attending seminars/conferences, and signing up for online courses pertaining to your business.
Integrate current insights/information with the traditional academic sources of learning and curate data to come up with practical and effective solutions to everyday challenges related to your startup.
Be a Self-Motivator
As an upcoming entrepreneur, you should focus on your goals, practice strict discipline, overcome obstacles, create a brand identity, and inspire your team to achieve more. The secret to this lies in your ability to motivate yourself. When you are self-motivated you cease to rely on luck; you make your own path towards success.
To motivate yourself, write down your mission statement and develop an execution plan. Cultivate the habit of reviewing and refining your plan at regular intervals. Set rewards/incentives for accomplishing goals. Reading motivational books written by eminent personalities and business magnates will also help you get a glimpse of their definition of success and inspire you to follow their path.
Self-motivation is an art that can be developed through patience, dedication, and practice. As a would-be entrepreneur, you are expected to be the motivator-in-chief of your startup.
Learn to Blow Your Trumpet
One of the biggest success mantras of an aspiring entrepreneur is his/her ability to promote his/her products and services. Whether you are trying to convince your team members and stakeholders about a strategy, or are encouraging your customers to use your product/service, promoting your business is a must.
Take pride in what you do and speak confidently about your firm’s achievements. Developing the art of promoting yourself will increase your brand visibility.
An increasing number of customers are counting on business owners to understand their problems and offer appropriate solutions that meet their needs. Building a sturdy and sustainable business requires you to empathize with your clients and understand their points of view by putting yourself in their shoes.
As a promising entrepreneur, you are expected to be a part of the problem-solving process and not merely push the products/services to potential customers. Practice empathy with your team members. This will not only make you a successful entrepreneur, but also a better human being.
Never Be Afraid to Experiment
Your ability to experiment wisely and take calculated risks will give you a competitive edge and help you innovate and transform your startup into a pioneering/creative enterprise.
For instance, when you think of an ingenious idea, devise an execution strategy that will help you test it in a selected market. Understand the impact of the implemented strategy for your customers/competition/market. Initiate a pilot study by implementing the strategy in a specific geographic location/segment of customers. Based on your experience, continue sharpening your approach. Discontinue the redundant aspects and build on the ones that are helping your business grow.
Experimenting on a smaller scale will help you come up with the most effective strategies and significantly lower the cost of failures.
Successful entrepreneurs achieve goals and understand that setbacks and challenges are a part of the entrepreneurial journey. The aforementioned principles will enable you to make the right decisions and help you overcome business hurdles to build a profitable commercial empire.
Korie Cantor is a writer who writes about living and lifestyle. She possesses a great sense of style and loves to share her thoughts about fashion and its latest trends. Follow her @koriecantor.