Entrepreneur is a pretty cool term. It is certainly a buzz word at the moment, with many people choosing to leave behind the security of a job to start their own business.
Every entrepreneur has a different story about why he or she decided to go on that road. But if you are considering starting your own business, here are a few truths about just what it takes to build a successful business and be an entrepreneur.
1. No Time | DEDICATION
Being your own boss doesn’t mean you can do what you like all the time. Entrepreneurs, particularly in startup phase need to dedicate an extraordinary amount of hours into building their business. There is often a pretty steep learning curve and this takes time.
Don't waste your time thinking about how much money you will be making five years from now. Instead, focus on generating money and managing profits, especially if you are starting or launching a business.
2. No Money | PATIENCE
We often think of an entrepreneur as being synonymous with rich. But this isn’t always the case, and certainly not in the beginning, or even the middle and sadly for many not even at the end. Entrepreneurs are fuelled by the thought that they could hit it big, but often they don’t. It is sort of like being a gold prospector.
Every business idea requires one vital thing – money. It can take years before a new business is making a profit, but that doesn't mean it won't succeed. As anxious as you are to turn a profit, patience is really important when growing a business.
Put in good financial and business management practices from the outset so that when you are in a position to scale, you can. It might include:
- Managing your expenses tightly, don't be frivolous with the pennies you have
- See if any government grants help your business
- Keep testing and refining your product or service, event if it costs you profits until you have the right model that works and sells
- Make improvements based on customer feedback
- Clearly define your target users so you can learn how to approach them
- Surround yourself with the right people that can help your vision come to light, in turn creating a successful and profitable business
- Research and choose the best tools to help automate everything you can
- Delete to shift responsibility, freeing you up to innovate.
3. It’s a Roller coaster | KNOW-HOW
If you like to know where your next mortgage payment is coming from then being an entrepreneur may not be for you. Entrepreneurs have little stability. There is lots of chaos, uncertainty and also excitement. Cash flow is often unpredictable so if you have monthly commitments such as mortgage payments then you need to consider an alternative way to ensure that these payments are taken care of.
In the entrepreneurial disruptive world know-how is invaluable. If your young, use the wisdom of mentors to guide you to successful outcomes. If you are more mature, use your own formidable range of weapons – such as wisdom, experience, confidence and accumulated wealth.
4. Leave the Ego at the door | BE HUMBLE & LISTEN
When you have been working in a large organisation then you can often become complacent about your place in the world. When you have that stripped away and you are suddenly on your own you’ll need to be able to stand on your own rather then attach your ego to the position you hold.
As a leader, you need to make dozens of decisions a day, inspire your team, and always be -- or seem -- right. Is it ever possible to put aside your ego?
Absolutely. Being humble means realising you are just one part of a much greater whole.
Many times a startup is based around an entrepreneur and their individual and unique vision and passions. However, if the business is built around one person it can make it almost impossible to sell or step back from the business in the future as there is no value without that person. It is extremely important to be part of your team, respect their opinions, and listen to what they have to say.
In the words of the Dhali Lama "When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know; but when you listen, you may learn something new." – you'll realise how important it is for a leader to be an excellent listener, in order to truly understand the needs of your team.
5. Let Go | MOVE AWAY
Sometimes success comes from pace over perfection. If you are used to only working on something till it is perfect then you will struggle as an entrepreneur. You need to be able to fly by the seat of your pants, giving things a go even if they are only 75% ready.
You need to test and tweak ideas, and be open to accepting feedback.
Is there a perfect formula for successful Entrepreneurship?
There is no shortcut for your journey to the top: it takes determination, passion and patience, lots of preparation and learning from failures.
However, successful entrepreneurs will tell you that putting in an enormous effort always pays off. Affluent business people will tell you they worked long hours to establish a good foundation for their enterprises and they continue to wake up early to start work.
Building a successful business can be extremely rewarding, but it is not without its significant challenges. The rewards can be enormous, both personally and financially, but you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get there. Bury your ego, embrace chaos and expect to be challenged along your journey. Are you ready for adventure called Entrepreneurship?