Whether you need motivation to transform your idea into a functioning business or you just need a little boost when you’re down, it’s always good to seek wisdom from bright and successful minds who have experienced it all before.
Recently, I heard one successful entrepreneur say “If you don’t want to work ON YOUR startup for at least 10 years, don’t startup at all”. This was meaningful to me because, as a business owner myself with more than 25 years experience in entrepreneurship I can easily relate with that sentiment.
Very few startups hit the jackpot within the first 2 years. Some of the biggest household names in the world took years to get off the ground. If you want to hit your big audacious goals, commitment, tenacity and managing a heavy workload is inevitable. You have to be prepared for… hard work, hard work and then some more hard work!
I recommend you not fall into the trap of treating your business like a hobby. We do hobbies for fun and whilst you should absolutely love what you do, you have to put in a substantial amount of effort if you want to kick those goals.
So here are some of my tips in helping you achieve success...
Work hard. You have to work harder than anyone else. Being on top of your game and staying alert to the next opportunity is extremely important.
Be passionate about what you do. Growing up, my family taught me to choose a career path that I was passionate about. For me helping other business owners achieve both life and career goals is what I love to do. Passion is the key to achieving success as an entrepreneur.
Start small, think big. Whenever you're trying something new, start out small - you can always scale up.
When you where little, what was the first thing you learnt to do, walk or run? You should learn how to walk properly to avoid tripping over. The time will come when running makes sense and you will have laid the foundations to enable success.
Minimise your decisions. Focus on the big ones. You’ll handle small decisions along the way.
Watch out for burnout. You have worked hard but aren't seeing the results. Many times this can be a trigger for startup burnout. Be mindful of this. Take a step away and have a break and recharge your batteries. Finding your happy place can give you a fresh perspective. Do some research. Do a SWOT analysis of your business. After all, you can’t get anywhere without taking action. Try to accomplish one thing per day and bear in you mind that there are so many external factors in play that can affect your business and sometimes things just take time to develop.
Find ways to improve your business processes. Look at everything with a critical eye, and always see the potential for improvement. You could follow these 3 simple steps:
- Map processes
- Analyse processes, and
- Implement to allow improvement.
Watch your competitors. Don’t copy competitors, do it your way, but always keep one eye on them. If they launch a new product, you're the first one who should know about it.
Learn from your mistakes. They are all part of growing. I have always used mistakes as a way of identifying gaps in our business and improving them. Changing your critical thinking to enable better decision making may also help you avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Talk to strangers. Make it fun for yourself. Meeting new people can bring you the most unexpected things in life. You never know who you might meet - a new business associate? An investor? An employee? A new client?... the list is endless. Get out there and mingle!
Make yourself available to your team. As a leader, employees will look to you for counsel. Make yourself accessible for questions, concerns and conversation. Build one on one relationships at all levels within the organisation and empower your leadership team to do the same.
Have the right support structure around you. Accountants, Lawyers, Mentors, they are all people that should be your greatest advocates. Ensure you get the right people advising you and your business to enable you to concentrate on what you do best.
Automate what you can. It’s really important to improve your business efficiency. How many times did you hear the quote "time is money". Automating whatever can be done to reduce human effort can save man hours for more valuable work.
Run the numbers. You have to know where you stand at any point in time. Having accurate figures at the click of a button is essential for allowing you to make big decisions.
Live your brand. Incorporate your brand values into your daily life. Take a look at who you are and how you want to represent your brand - and live it every day - to make yourself your #1 asset.