As someone who wants to start their own business, it seems like a straightforward thing to do: you create a product or a service and then you seek out customers or clients. However, according to the Small Business Administration, within one year a little more than half of small businesses fail.
While this is a concerning statistic, the truth is that you can build a business as an entrepreneur if you have the right foundation and principles in mind. Here are 10 things you need to know as you move forward as an entrepreneur in your new business.
1-You Need an Accountant and a Lawyer
Many new entrepreneurs seek to save money wherever they can, but there are two times when you shouldn’t skimp on cost: when retaining a small business lawyer and when hiring an accountant.
An accountant can help you structure your business so that your taxes are taken care of and help you maintain a good financial status, and a good lawyer can protect you and your business legally when you enter into contracts with vendors and employees. Both of these people are important to your business growth, so take your time and consult qualified, respected people for these positions.
2-You Need a Clear Plan
It is not enough to know that you want to go into business for yourself. You need to have some idea of where you see yourself in a year, two years, five years and beyond. When you have a clear idea of where you are going, you are unlikely to get distracted and caught up with side projects and other things that take your eyes off of what you hope to accomplish as an entrepreneur.
3-You Need a Target Market
You may want to sell your services or products to everyone, but that is a mistake many beginning entrepreneurs make. For optimal success, it is best to start your business by focusing on a very small target market.
By learning as much as you can about this target market, you can craft your marketing messages so that your business is presented as one that can provide them with what they need or want. You can always expand into another market in the future, but sticking with one target market can help you build a loyal customer base.
4-You Need a Mentor
A mentor is someone who has been in a business for a while and can help you avoid pitfalls and mistakes that you might make as an entrepreneur. A mentor can offer suggestions for banks to use, printing shops to work with and other things you’ll need to know. Best of all, they can offer solid advice learned from their own years of experience.
5-You Need to Interact with Other Entrepreneurs
Just as you need a strong mentor who can guide you, it is important that you can talk to others in a similar position. With other entrepreneurs, you can discuss ideas, mistakes, feelings and hopes as you all try to succeed. Because they know what you’re going through, they can give you the support you need to keep going, even when things are difficult. You can offer them support as well.
6-You Need to Be Honest with Yourself
Why would someone choose your services or products over another company’s? This is a very important question to answer. You may not want to admit to any weaknesses, but you need to have a clear idea of what your advantages are and what your disadvantages are. That way, you can put emphasis on what you do well and take steps to work on your weaknesses so they are not exploited by your competition.
It is also important to be honest with yourself so that you can recognize when things are simply not working. Perhaps you’ll have a product that your customers aren’t interested in, or you start losing clients because you won’t offer a particular service. When you are honest with yourself about what is happening, you are better able to make the changes you need to make so that your business can remain on solid ground.
7-You Need a Website
In this day and age, even if your business is an affiliate business or you don’t get many clients or customers through the internet, a website is critical.
Having a website where people can learn a little bit about you and see samples of your products or services is now expected, and if you don’t have a well-designed site, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Consider that you may need a professional web designer to design your site so that it works properly and looks as professional as you want your business to appear to possible customers and clients.
8-You Need Joint Ventures
Very few people, if any, are able to grow their business without teaming up with any other entrepreneurs. It’s a good idea to seek out entrepreneurs whose businesses work well with yours to discover what joint projects you can work on. At the very least you can refer customers to each other.
For instance, if you are a graphic designer and pair up with a writer, you can write a website design tutorial package to customers that you split the profits on. You can refer those who need articles to that writer, and they can send you people who need graphic design.
9-You Need to Find a Balance Between Your Business and Your Personal Life
Some people find a strange sort of romance in being the kind of entrepreneur that throws themselves into their work without ever taking a break. However, on a prolonged basis, this will cause you to be burned out.
You need to take the time to seriously consider how much time you’ll spend on your business. Remember, your business is important to you, but you need to spend time with those who care about you while you are still able.
You don’t even need to go out with people with you are taking a break from work. Allowing yourself to take a break and step back from your business for an evening or a weekend can help recharge your spirit so that you can work anew with a fresh perspective.
You might have become an entrepreneur because you didn’t want a strict schedule, but it might be worth it to loosely schedule your time so that you can make social plans and family time without worrying that you’re putting your business at risk.
10-You Need to Learn to Relax
Running a business and being the boss can be stressful, particularly if you have employees that depend on you for their livelihood. To deal with the stress in a healthy way, you need to take steps to discover what helps you to relax and to do relaxing activities regularly throughout your day and workweek.
For example, you might learn deep breathing techniques or start taking yoga or boxing classes. Whatever helps you to remain calm and soothes your nerves is a great idea for you to do on a regular basis. Because you are so busy it can be easy to ignore these activities, but they can really help you to deal with the stress of owning a business.
Use the information laid out in this article to help you think about what you need to do in order to become a successful entrepreneur and to take the right actions. Be sure to talk to others and periodically reassess how you’re doing, so that your business can continue to be a success over time.