25 Tips by Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs
Posted by Betsy Brottlund on May 18, 2009 in Business Start Up Advice [ 2 Comments ]
Yes, we are in an economic recession, but that doesn’t mean that starting your own business today is impossible or even especially difficult. The recent boom in online start-up companies is an example of how entrepreneurs all over the world are using new technology to launch their businesses with little money to start. So if you are thinking about venturing out into the world of entrepreneurship, here are tips from people who have experience running their own business.
1. Write your business plan down
When you’re starting a new business, potential clients or investors could present themselves at any given moment, so it’s important that you be prepared to talk about your business idea in a compelling and concise manner. Write down your plan on paper. It will help you work out any inconsistencies or flaws in your business model.
2. Surround yourself with supportive people
Regardless of how great you think your business idea is, not everyone will be ecstatic about it. As an aspiring entrepreneur, it’s important that you have a good support network. Every business owner will face tough times, and it’s essential that you don’t let yourself get discouraged by anyone.
3. Don’t work for less than you can afford to
When you’re starting a new business, it’s important to build a strong customer and client base. One good way of doing this is to offer discounts to those who sign on for your services. However, don’t go overboard by charging them less than you can afford to.
4. Stay open-minded
Being an entrepreneur means always adapting to new circumstances. Be flexible in your thinking. Markets and demand for products and services change all the time. The successful business owner must likewise be able to change the way he works and runs his company.
As you attend business meetings and industry conferences, you will meet other professionals who might not need your services specifically but who might be able to help by referring potential customers to you. Always be on the lookout for potential partners.
6. Learn from mistakes
Every new business owner makes mistakes. It is part of the learning process as you set out to start your own company. The key is to know how to admit mistakes and learn from them.
7. Get trained
As an entrepreneur you will be responsible for handling a variety of different jobs at once, some which might fall outside your area of expertise. You don’t need to master each skill, but try to at least have some working knowledge of them. You can google anything and find the answer. Or, you can sign up for a day class or seminar to learn as you go. Knowledge in these areas will come in handy as you work to build your business.
8. Avoid isolation
Aside from a network of clients, customers and partners, it’s good to keep a community of fellow business owners and entrepreneurs around you. Such a network allows you to bounce ideas, vent and share your success.
9. Schedule some down time
When starting a new business, work will take up most of your time. Schedule in some leisure time to relax and recharge your batteries. It can be easy to get carried away with work. Too much of it will leave you burnt-out.
10. Confirm orders
Confirm business orders personally and as fast as possible, especially those requested by email. Like phone manners, email manners are important to building your image.
Knowing how to delegate work is one of the most important qualities of successful business owners. You can’t do everything yourself. Look for good payroll companies, lawyers, online marketing professionals, and web designers.
12. Maintain good relationships with your banks and lenders
Staying on good terms with your banks and creditors is key when you’re launching a new business enterprise. Having your finances in order means you can focus on the many other tasks involved in making a new business profitable.
13. Keep your eyes on the big picture
Always be on the lookout of new innovations and directions in which to take your business. Remember that the ability to spot opportunities and create opportunities is one of the most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur.
14. Keep work and personal life separate
Being your own boss requires discipline. You have to set your own hours and stick to self-imposed deadlines and timetables. It also means knowing how to keep your personal life and business life separate. If you work from home, set up a separate working area.
15. Hire smart people
Good entrepreneurs know how to recognize talent. If you find someone who seems to have energy and a good head on their shoulders, bring them on board. The better your team is, the more chances your enterprise has of succeeding.
16. Learn phone manners
Always return business calls promptly and be available to answer client complaints or problems. Having good phone manners is essential to building a professional reputation.
17. Seek advice from people who know what they’re talking about
The best people to request business advice form are those who have proven themselves as capable entrepreneurs and business owners. Sign up for a peer-to-peer networking group with other entrepreneurs to discuss potential ideas or problems. Our new Vantage program allows for just that.
18. Have an existing customer base
If possible, build an existing and loyal customer base before launching your business. This involves marketing your idea, telling people and getting the word around so that you can see whether there is in fact a demand for your new product or service.
19. Keep your goals specific
Always have a specific business goal to work towards. This will help you stay focused and moving towards specific targets.
20. Know your industry
Never go into a business that you know nothing about. If you have an idea that relates to an industry that you are unfamiliar with, do your research first before embarking on the new venture.
21. Don’t worry too much about funds
When you are first developing a business idea, don’t focus too much attention on how to get funds or resources. These will come later. The most important thing is coming up with a good idea and a good business plan. Once this is done, finding funding will be easier.
22. Be financially prepared
Most new business go through their initial investments very quickly. Before you launch your business, make sure you have sufficient initial funds to cover you for the next year or two.
23. Make quality your primary concern
Businesses stay in business by providing quality services and products. Quantity is not as important as knowing how to treat customers well and making their experience pleasant and memorable. Quality is what keeps customers coming back.
24. Take advantage of the internet
Take advantage of online business communities like LinkedIn and BusinessWeek Exchange to connect with others for your business needs. The internet is free and incredibly useful for spreading the word about your business to potential clients all over the world.
25. Be prepared for failure
Failure is not a bad thing, provided you take it not as a permanent defeat, but as a learning experience. Most start-ups fail. This shouldn’t discourage you. Good entrepreneurs know how to get back up and start again.