The journey of entrepreneurship is both exciting and challenging, rewarding and frustrating. Passion keeps you grounded with your eyes on the future when the demands of your new venture threaten to overwhelm you. Without it, you lose your purpose and give up quickly. You won’t love every task you must do to bring your dream to fruition, but it’s essential to believe in your product, service, or message.
Learn from Others and from Your Mistakes
If you admire someone in the industry and know this person well, consider asking him or her to serve as your business mentor. Ask what works and what doesn’t and then tailor that advice to your own business model. You can even learn from people you don’t especially admire, such as those you consider the competition. Study their failures and what they do well.
Keep in mind that you must be able to accept constructive criticism to succeed as an entrepreneur. Getting defensive and always insisting on doing things your own way will turn away customers and anyone who considered working with you. Stay humble and teachable and you will go far.
Create a Business Plan
Most new businesses fail within the first two years due to lack of capital and unrealistic expectations. The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends creating a living document to see you through the first three to five years of operation. Having a written plan for increasing revenue will benefit you much more than spending a lot of money upfront and just hoping to turn a profit eventually. The SBA advises entrepreneurs to include the following in their business plan:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Market Analysis
- Organization & Management
- Service or Product Description
- Marketing and Sales Plan
- Funding Request (if applicable)
- Financial Projections
You can learn more about each of these categories at SBA.gov.
Build Your Brand and Your Team
Creating a brand identity from the start sets you apart from other entrepreneurs who may have a similar product or service. Design different logos and create various catch phrases to see which ones you most identify with. You may want to consider hosting focus groups to get input from the public as well.
As much as you want to limit expenses, you can’t grow a new company by yourself. Choose people for your team who have the same passion that you do but who also have the skills to justify bringing them on.
We wish you well on your new adventure.