Read Part 1: 25 Tips to Startup Entrepreneurs
[tweetmeme] 13. Stick to what you know. Find a business that will play to your strengths. It is easier to fire up passion to move forward as well as generate credibility in an area where you have solid understanding and knowledge.
14. Be prepared to dedicate time and energy into the business. Building a business is hard and definitely not a walk in the park. When you’re just starting a business, you will be doing all the work needed to keep it viable. Be patient, as it may take months or even years before the business can be viewed as a success.
15. Expect to work a LOT harder than if you were an employee. As an employee, you can just do your job in an 8-hour period, go home and even forget about work. As the business owner, don’t be surprised to find yourself working 16 hour-days, especially at the start. Plus, you will need to wear many hats, as you’ll be responsible for the strategic direction of the business, marketing it, administering it, finding financing for it, and many more.
16. Run your business lean. Keep your expenses and spending as lean as you can for as long as you can. Keep your fixed overhead as low as possible. It is important that you don’t spend what you don’t have! With tight resources, put your money where it can bring in the most bang for your buck, such as marketing and product development.
17. Be flexible and willing to change. Be ready to make the shift. Like a child, your business can grow, change and mature. Even if you have set how you envision your business, you may find out that some things are not working out as expected, and the only option is to make the change. Change the things that are not working, improve those that are only marginally performing, and keep those elements that really do well in your business. Adjust, but don’t quit, when things are not heading in the direction you want it to.
18. Try to avoid outside money. If you can do without it, don’t take in investors or outside money. Fund your business using your own money, and use your sales to finance your growth. If you use your own money, you’ll be forced to spend it only on things that will make sense for the business. You will also have no outside pressure dictating the strategies you need to use and pushing you to become more aggressive in the company growth. Sweat equity is the best equity.
19. Don’t be afraid to get help. Find people who can give you advice and support. You don’t have to do everything alone, and the sooner you realize that, the better. Focus on what you can bring the best to the table, and farm out (whether you hire employees or outsource to professionals) the other tasks. Seek advice when you need it. Look to your networks, find mentors in your community, or go to your local small business centers.
20. Learn from the experiences of others. Be inspired by stories of successful entrepreneurs. Connect with other business owners – including those who are running the same type of business as yours. Find people who are smarter and more creative than you are online and offline. Better yet, find people who really understand the business and have had hands on experience that resulted in successful outcomes.
21. Keep your focus. Be clear what your business stands for, and stick to it. Don’t get distracted by trying to moonlight for personal profit or even starting another business. Like a baby, that new business needs all your support and attention, so don’t open yourself up to situations that divide your focus, attention and resources.
22. Keep customers happy. Happy customers are your best marketing tools. Aim to please your customers, and they will willingly spread the word about your business.
23. Review your business. Set benchmarks and targets – and review how well (or not) the business is doing. It is important that you take time to regularly review, revisit and revise your business strategy. Look at changes in the overall economic situation, analyze your industry and determine how and where your business stands.
24. Find meaning in what you do. When making the decision to start a business, you are going to invest the most valuable of all resource – your time. You need to believe in what you do in the business, and what contribution your business can really give to the community.
25. Adopt a strong moral compass. Stay true to your convictions and draw your own lines. Do not overdo it where you lose your own values and your way of life.
If you have any tips that have worked for you in starting your business, please feel free to share them below.
Read Part 1: 25 Tips to Startup Entrepreneurs