“The glass is not half-empty. It is really four-fifths full. I’m grateful when I have one drop in the glass because I know exactly what to do with it”
Catching onto the antics of entrepreneurship is not an easy task. There are very few businessmen who are self-made billionaires. So if you want to start your own business but don’t know where to begin—don’t worry. You are not the only one driving into a roadblock.
Entrepreneurs are risk-takers. And if you choose to join them, you will submerge yourself in a highly competitive industry where the only way to seemingly survive is to continuously cough out avant-garde ideas.
Oh, and guts. It takes a lot of guts.
Although success does grow with experience, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you shouldn’t consider before heading into your own business. And if you can spare yourself the trouble of repeating mistakes already made by others, then why shouldn’t you?
So if you’ve ever wondered how to entrepreneur, here are some tips:
WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE YOUR OWN BOSS?
Growing up and entering the working world, I found myself being thrown mercilessly into a crowd hungry for success. The more I gave myself permission to explore, the more I realized that my ideal “job” never existed. Other times, I was battered with the idea of creating the work I loved, constructed around my own life goals.
When you decide to set up your own business, it should not spawn only from something you are passionate about. A business is not a hobby, as much as you’d like to treat it as one. Instead, think about your budding business like planting a tree. You cannot plant a seed in any type of soil and expect it to grow—the environment needs to be fertile, and the climate needs to be accommodating.
There needs to be an opportunity to succeed. Just like the market opportunity you seek within the industry.
In all cases, starting your own business involves a heavy investment of time, money and energy. This should also include some foresight of success as the business takes off—ideally through well thought out SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive) goals on how to reach it.
The bottom line is, if you have no reason to set up your own business, do not do it for the sake of it.
ARE YOU IN IT TO EARN OR LEARN?
I am always convinced that the greatest lesson you learn is that of when you fail.
But don’t expect a life lesson out of every mistake you make. Sometimes, we come out of a failing business without ever having the slightest clue as to why. Other times, we soak up all our understanding of our mistakes as if we are convinced our next venture will be a billion-dollar hit.
In either case, it always becomes clearer on what you should or should not do. Focusing on creating better and more meaningful products for your consumers is as or if not more important, than just continuously trying to innovate. This does not sound spectacular, but as an entrepreneur, you would soon realize that ‘spectacular’ isn’t always what you aim for. It is true that creative, cohesive and realistic ideas are key, but one of the biggest questions that you should ask yourself when considering starting your own company is: am I in this to earn or learn?
In an post written Mark Suster, a two-time successful entrepreneur, he said, “if you’re thinking about joining as the director of marketing, product management manager, senior architect, international business development lead, etc. at a startup that has already raised $5 million the chances of you making your retirement money on that company is extremely small. That’s Ok. Not every job you have is supposed to be your big break. It’s Ok for that to be your job to learn. […] However, if you really want to earn you need to be in the top 3–4 in the company. Best to be a founder. Very few people can do this. It’s a rare skill. Be realistic about your skills, background and ideas.”
You don’t have to be an entrepreneur at the get go. If you’re 20 and you have time to spare, get out and work for companies. Discover what you really like to do and where you best thrive in. This is the learning process. You might not earn every dime you’ve ever dreamt of, but at least you are starting somewhere with some savings in your pocket. Then, when you have a clearer line up of what you want to bring to the table, make your investment and start your own company. This will be your earning process.
WHO AND WHERE’S YOUR CROWD?
One of the first steps in having a successful business is to know which direction you’re taking it into. Be certain about your goals and where you envision your company to be in 10 years.
In part with starting any business, you will need to find your target audience. It is a mass or niche market? What do these people want out of your product? Does your product appeal to your consumers? Will it satisfy them? The moment you recognize what the market is missing, you derive a competitive advantage by understanding the needs of your consumers. This is an important step if you want your products or services to be desired.
So, who are you looking for?
According to Tamara Monosoff, author of Your Million Dollar Dream, it is imperative to recognize one’s target audience before investing anything.
“Before you spend money, find out if people will actually buy your products or services. This may be the most important thing you do. You can do this by validating your market. In other words, who, exactly, will buy your products or services other than your family or friends? (And don’t say. “Everyone […] will want my product.” Trust me–they won’t). What is the size of your target market? Who are your customers? Is your product or service relevant to their everyday life? Why do they need it?”
It is impossible to sell something to someone who has absolutely no interest or need in your product. So make sure that what you are investing in is something people are willing to entertain.
It is never easy when it comes to starting your own business. On top of tangible assets that are needed to make it work, entrepreneurship comes with tenacity, determination, trial and error, and a lot, a lot of faith to succeed. You might not always get what you want becoming an entrepreneur. But even if you have one drop left in your glass, you must know exactly what to do with it, to make the best out of it.