If I had to pick one thing in the whole wide world that I love, it would have to be Entrepreneurship – without a doubt. The feeling of freedom from the 9 to 5 slog is priceless. I like to think of myself as free spirited and a free soul; this is because of the Entrepreneurial journey I am taking. Here is a list of 20 top tips for Entrepreneurs from Entrepreneur.com but in an Infographic Your Escape From 9 to 5 style.
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1. Focus, Focus, Focus
Focus on doing one task at a time. It is better to do one task perfectly with dedication and attention to detail rather than doing 10 mediocre tasks. Avoid getting side tracked and distracted. New projects and opportunities will keep coming; there is no need to jump at every opportunity that comes your way. Prioritize tasks and evaluate every project to stay at the top of your game.
2. Do What you Know
Don’t start a venture because it’s trendy, sexy or your friends have started one. Start a venture that you enjoy. You don’t want to feel shackled to another job. Your passion will take you through in tough times. It is easier to succeed in something you enjoy.
3. Find People Who Know What You Don’t
Essentially, find advisors and experts who have been there and done it. Surround yourself with people whom you can learn from. Align with people with common interests and business objectives; learn and grow with them. This helps you get the guidance you need at start-up and also provide you with opportunities, ventures and long term relationships.
4. Have a 30 Second Elevator Pitch
Potential investors, customers and mentors don’t always have time and you need to have your elevator pitch ready to go. Be short, sharp and precise. Explain your products, services and your unique proposition. First impressions count so make it work for you.
5. Act Like a Start-up
Leave new office space, new car and new credit cards for established businesses. Focus on controlling expenses and better managing cash flow. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.
6. Learn Under Pressure
A business plan or education can only go so far and can never predict the future. There is no perfect plan or opportunity. Be prepared to make mistakes and learn. Experience is the best teacher you can ever have.
7. No One Will Give You Money
“There, I said it. No one will invest in you” – Scott Gerber.
Find how you can start and keep your business with the funds you have. Find a starting point instead of an end point. If you have a grand plan make it simple, cut down activities that drain start-up funding. Focus on proving your idea and concept; once you have proven yourself, getting funding for your venture becomes a simpler task.
8. Take Care of Your Health
Entrepreneurship is not a 9 to 5 job. Don’t exhaust yourself. You want to be productive and creative when required. Find time for yourself and your family. Eat on time and understand, sleep is not an expense to be cut down. Do not burn yourself out at the start-up stage; this is a marathon not a sprint.
9. Don’t Fall Victim to Your Own B.S.
Stay close to the truth line; don’t sell yourself too far. You don’t want to fall short of expectations. Actions speak louder than words.
10. Know When to Call it a Day
The recipe for success is complex but not the recipe for failure. There could be many things that can go wrong, some in your control and some not. Don’t be a fool and drown with the ship due to your ego, you are not the captain of Titanic. A business venture can go down but not a true entrepreneur. Don’t lose everything, save what you have and know when to call it quits. Don’t blame others or get disheartened, value the lessons and experiences. Be prepared to start over again and give it everything.
11. Offer Something in Demand Not Just Something You Have
When you have a business idea, you need to check if there is demand and a market for your idea. Don’t jump in because your idea is awesome. Do your research and if possible choose a market in demand that is proven. It is better to have a small piece of a big cake than have no cake at all. For example, instead of starting out with a sports drink, a start-up business could start with a cola or bottled water as these have already proven to have a market and are day-to-day commodities. The business can always expand further after getting an initial market share.
12. Create Cash Flow ASAP
Have you heard the saying cash flow is like oxygen? When you run out of cash flow the business is in big trouble. Find ways to get cash flow for your business from day one. How do you do that? You can ask for a partial payment for your product or service upfront, with the remainder due at completion. You can also consider charging a monthly fee upfront for on time delivery and extra services like on call support. Of course, this depends on the nature of the business and the product or service you are offering.
13. Find New Ways to Keep Costs Low
Your cash flow is useless, unless it is positive cash flow. You need more money coming in than going out. Keep your expenses as low as possible. Never pay retail prices; for example, you can buy used office furniture instead of buying brand new. You can also negotiate with your suppliers and come up with cost saving payment arrangements. You could pay upfront or agree on a payment plan that gives you discounts. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
14. When Planning, Overestimate Expenses and Underestimate Revenues
Start-up businesses always seem to overestimate income and underestimate expenses as much as by 30%; this could make or break a start-up. Hence a start-up should always overestimate the expenses and underestimate income. This just gives you a little bit of breathing space and keeps you prepared for the unexpected. You can always adjust the numbers after a few months of operation.
15. Focus on Sales and Marketing
It goes without saying; if there is no sale then there is no income. Most start-ups focus more on building their brand identity and less on generating leads. Getting leads and converting the leads into sales will give you cash flow and income. Focus on repeat customers; build a system and then scale it up.
16. Find ways to Explode Your Profits
There are 5 business drivers that drive profit:
(1) Increase Leads
(2) Increase Customers
(3) Increase Number of Sales
(4) Increase Average Price Point of Sale
(5) Increase Profit Margin
Keeping your costs low and increasing any one of the above will give you profit. Increasing all of the above will give you exponential growth.
17. Test and Track Everything
Keep track of all expenses and test what is working. If you can’t analyse something, then you can’t make an informed decision whether to continue with a particular ad campaign or strategy. Cut down what doesn’t work, continually test and improve efficiency.
18. More Education Equals More Cash
Learning comes before earning. Even if you are planning on hiring experts to manage certain components of your business, you still have to manage them. There are many parts to a business like marketing, sales, customer service etc and you need to educate yourself on all the topics at least on the basics. Learn to leverage your time and money to be successful.
19. Don’t Discount, Add Value
When you discount, you are cutting down your profit. Think about providing an additional offering to add value to maintain the price point. By adding value you can increase your goodwill and customer loyalty.
20. Get a Mentor
A mentor can help guide you and provide objective feedback. An extra set of expert eyes can save the day and provide some much needed outside perspective. Being answerable to someone other than yourself and also reporting to someone who has been there and done it is the best education you can ever have. As they say experience is priceless for everything else there is master card or visa whatever you fancy 🙂
The sea can be tough at start; either you hit calmer waters or learn how to better navigate your ship. Either way the journey is fun and exciting so don’t hold back. Good luck with your entrepreneurial venture.
- 10 Tips for the First-Time Business Owner – Entrepreneur.com
- 10 Tips for a Strong Start – Entrepreneur.com