Nobody can teach you how to be an entrepreneur. Becoming a successful entrepreneur is only something that can be achieved through hard work and learning from your mistakes.
However, advice from other successful entrepreneurs can definitely help you along the way. Here are seven business lessons to share from 10 years of entrepreneurial journey.
1. Cash (Flow) Is King
It may surprise you that in 82 percent of cases where small businesses failed, poor cash flow management skills or a lack of understanding of how to properly manage cash flow contributed to the failure. In many cases, businesses started out without enough cash in the first place.
The reality is that without proper funding, you won’t be able to get your business off the ground. There is a lot that is involved with starting a successful business.
Don’t launch your business before you have adequate funding. Besides taking into account things such as marketing and advertising, you also have consider emergency expenses and unexpected losses. Your initial funding should be able to carry you over until you start making profit.
Besides having enough initial funding, it is crucial that you start generating a positive cash flow as soon as possible. Poor budgeting mistakes, not pricing your product correctly, not scaling your business enough, and other mistakes lead to entrepreneurs losing money and going out of business.
2. Stay in Touch With Your Audience
It’s easy to get lost in your head when you’re an entrepreneur. You can get caught up with new product or service ideas, new features, new business plans, new marketing promotions, etc. while slowly losing touch with your customer base and what they really want.
Make sure that you stay in touch with what your customer base wants and strive to provide them with it. You can do market research, conduct focus groups, ask for feedback, send out surveys and polls, read consumer blogs and blog reviews, monitor your social media accounts, and read online forums (including Quora and Reddit) to stay in touch with your audience.
3. Learn to Be Decisive and Active
Being successful as an entrepreneur requires you to have the ability to make decisions – sometimes quick decisions. You can’t dilly-dally and procrastinate when it comes to making business decisions. This includes having the ability to say no. Sometimes you will have to say no – to potential clients, to potential business partners, to new business ideas, and even to potential customers.
Similarly, a business can’t be run on neutral mode. You can’t be passive when it comes to running your business. You need to be constantly active and working on growing and expanding your business. Constantly try out new ideas and improve yourself little by little.
A business that isn’t growing or being improved is a stagnant business.
4. Have an Eye for Detail
Being an entrepreneur is challenging. People mostly talk about benefits and status entrepreneurs enjoy. But these rewards are only acquired when you do well and succeed. For that, you have to work hard.
Since you run the show alone and delegate most responsibilities, you can’t afford to overlook things. Be wary of small things that happen around you. This starts by keeping an eye on important business activities including planning and strategizing, technical infrastructure, sales and marketing, and customer service etc.
Review ROI at every single step. Product development and other costs should be justified. Customer feedback should be acted upon rather than collecting and merely keeping it for records.
5. Have the Right Mindset
Having the right entrepreneurial mindset is crucial. Being an entrepreneur is stressful. You have to have the right work ethics and motivation to work hard, even if you do not see success right away. Realize that it takes a lot of hard work until things finally start to move forward.
Don’t be afraid of failure. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, such as Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and Henry Ford experienced failure before they achieved success.
Look at failure as merely a learning experience for how to act in the future.
At the same time, being too overly optimistic will hurt your chances of success. If you expect too much in terms of how fast you will grow, how many sales you will make and how little money will be required to grow, you will soon start to struggle.
Be realistic with your expectations about what you can achieve and how long it will take to achieve it.
6. Value Your Time
As an entrepreneur who does not get paid per hour, you need to value your time and use it wisely. Minimize distractions that take up time. Small tasks such as checking your email and social media accounts can be delegated and outsourced for a small fee.
Many people become entrepreneurs because they have a dream of having more freedom and more time to spend with their family or doing things that they love. However, it is important to realize that all that comes later; in the beginning, you will need to put in the work and time.
At the same time, know your limits. Remember what we said about having the ability to say no? Sometimes you have to say no to yourself. You have to give yourself some breathing room and time off from your business so that you do not get burnt out.
7. Choose Your People Wisely
The success of your business doesn’t only depend on you alone. It also depends on the people you hire, the people you partner with, the people you spend time with, and the people you take advice from.
Screen your employees carefully. Look for a good work ethic in their past and for someone who shares your values and goals. Hold on to your star employees and do not be afraid to fire employees who are negatively affecting your business.
Only partner with someone who is trustworthy and has the same drive to succeed as you. It is crucial that you share similar business ideas so that you don’t end up arguing. Be careful when partnering with family members and close friends; it may seem like a good idea at first but can lead to complications in the future.
Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who know the value of putting in the hard work. If your friends don’t have any drive for success or motivation to become better, find new friends.
It’s also crucial that you have a mentor to help you out with your entrepreneurial journey. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to accept some constructive criticism, but make sure you are getting advice from someone who has been through their own entrepreneurial journey and has the experience under their belt.
Wrapping It Up
Anyone can become an entrepreneur. Whether someone should become an entrepreneur depends on if they are comfortable with not having a set paycheck given to them each week.
If you do decide to take the step, take the above lessons into account for your own entrepreneurial journey.
I am Roberto, co-founder of Mofluid/Snewscms. “It is absolutely amazing to see how technology continues to evolve, from email to browsers, search engines, mobile, AI and now blockchain.” I am fortunate to witness it all. Really excited to see what’s next.
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I am Roberto, co-founder of Mofluid/Snewscms. It is absolutely amazing to see how technology continues to evolve, from email to browsers, search engines, mobile, AI and now blockchain. I am fortunate to witness it all. Really excited to see what’s next.