The life of an entrepreneur can be tough to navigate at times. There is no amount of university education that can adequately prepare you to run your own business. For many owners, the majority of your learning will happen on the job. However, there are a number of tips that can shorten the learning curve for new business owners before they even open the doors to their new business.
Commit to a Business Plan
Writing a business plan before attempting to start a business is a time-worn piece of advice that many new entrepreneurs choose to ignore. However, taking a moment to commit your plans and forecasts to paper can help crystallize your vision for you and guide your efforts once the work begins. Your business plan should focus on two main points of interest: Will your business provide a specific need for customers? And does a major market opportunity exist for you to fill this need?
Be Careful Hiring Family and Friends
Many new business owners think nothing is better than surrounding themselves with family and friends when starting their new business. This can sometimes be a huge mistake. First of all, you will need the best talent you can find to fuel a new business venture and your loved ones may not exactly fit the bill. Secondly, if things do not work out as planned, it can cause irreparable damage to your personal relationship with the friend or family member. Refrain from friendly hires and recruit the best talent possible to your new business.
You Will Need to Find Money
Business loans are difficult to get at the beginning of a business venture. Most lenders like LendingClub.com will expect to see more than a year of successful business history before they approve a loan application. You will likely need to find another source of funds to get you started in your first year in business on your own. Many business owners use their savings to begin operations. Others turn to loans from friends and family. Whichever method you choose, it is important that you prepare yourself for the possibility of lean times during your first year or so in business.
Avoid the Discount Trap
New companies often feel compelled to offer deep discounts for their products and services to attract customers. While this desire to attract new customers makes sense, it is a set up for future failure to attract these customers at a rate for services and products that you will be unable to sustain. You should approach the situation from the mindset of increasing the value you provide to customers in lieu of simply slashing the prices you charge them.
Have No Fear of Failure
The fear of failure is often the greatest barrier to success in any endeavor. This principle is especially true for entrepreneurs. The path for a new business owner can become a little stressful due to the unpredictability involved. However, do not let this stress lead to the type of fear or panic that will prevent you from fulfilling your dreams.
The Bottom Line
While the success of a new business venture can never be guaranteed, there are ways to tilt the odds of a favorable outcome in your favor. The five tips above are a great place to begin for aspiring entrepreneurs preparing to start their first business.