If you’re a first timer when it comes to owning a business, then you understand just how overwhelming the task can seem. The risk is high, but being an entrepreneur—creating something new that adds value and provides jobs—can be extremely rewarding.
When you’re first starting out, it can be difficult to know where to turn for advice. So here are 15 tips you can use to become a successful entrepreneur:
Pursue Your Passion & Knowledge
It’s important that you truly care about whatever business you pursue. Otherwise, the grind of entrepreneurship will wear you down. Your new business should be something that you find motivating and interesting so that you’re always eager to keep learning. Just make sure it’s a passion where you already have a good depth of knowledge.
Consider The Market Opportunity
Take the potential customer market into account when choosing which product or service your business will provide. This is especially important if you’ll require investors to get your business going. Make sure there’s a significant market and potential demand for what you will offer.
Start The Fundraising Early
It typically takes longer to raise capital for your startup than you think. So, start gaining investor attention as early as you can and make sure you have plenty of financing to cover any product development and marketing expenses.
Even if you’ve been especially successful in raising funds for your startup, it’s important to monitor your finances from day one. Keep overhead and basic expenses low. Be intentional about every dollar you spend until you have at least built up a consistent revenue stream.
Know Your Competition
Be aware of your competitors and industry trends. A great way to stay up to date is to create a Google alert that will notify you when any relevant information that meets those parameters is posted online.
Be Open To Outside Advice
Entrepreneurship can lend itself to loneliness. It’s often isolating when you’re the one responsible for all the decisions. Tapping into an organization of entrepreneurs or a community of business leaders can be a powerful tool to help you succeed. Seek out mentors that can help you decide best practices for hiring, product development, or business management.
Perfect Your Pitch
You should be able to concisely communicate to others what it is that your business does and why that matters. The clearer you can communicate, the more likely you are to get both customers and investors. Challenge yourself to be able to communicate your business’ value in under one minute.
Slow To Hire, Quick To Fire
Perhaps the greatest asset to your business, other than your product or service, is the people you hire to work there. The right people can skyrocket your ROI while the wrong people will cost you both money and time. Be deliberate about who you hire. Make sure they can do the job and compliment the kind of company culture you want to create.
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to focus on building up social capital for your business. Networking is an incredibly important way to make connections in your community. It can be a great avenue to meet new customers, discover potential investors, or even find the best employees. Look for organizations that host industry events or meet ups for local business leaders.
Prioritize The Customer
It goes without saying that your business wouldn’t exist without a paying customer. Commit to providing excellent customer service and you will immediately differentiate yourself from most of the competition. Don’t be afraid to invest in technology or better employees to achieve a high level of customer service. Great customer service creates customer loyalty—and that is a recipe for long-term success.
Hire An Attorney
This one may seem strange, but it’s necessary. Having an experienced start-up attorney in your corner can help you better navigate contracts, business agreements with investors, create compelling offers for potential hires, and limit your legal liabilities in the business. These are issues you certainly want an expert to handle.
Polish Up Your Public Speaking
Whether you’re leading your team or presenting for a room of investors, it’s important that you are comfortable speaking in front of large groups. Some of the most notable business leaders have crafted their talent for public speaking and found this skill to be invaluable. Consider hiring a business consultant or taking classes to improve if this isn’t a natural ability for you.
Execute The Launch
You should certainly feel confident in your product or service when you launch it, but don’t let the fear of imperfection hold you back. Regardless of how much time you’ve spent on research or product development, there will always be something you change after your first launch. You’ll probably get valuable customer feedback that will truly help you perfect your product or service.
Just Get Started
If you’re waiting for the “right time” to start your business, you’ll probably never end up doing it. The reality is that there is rarely a convenient time to go for it…so the best advice is to just get started! Even if that means working at it part time until you can leave your current job.
Invest In Marketing
Unfortunately, lots of startups put so much energy into the product or service that they forget to allocate any money to market what they’ve created! Make sure you take the actions to let people know that your business exists. Hire out website design, learn about SEO and social media platforms, and create engaging content for your customers.
If you’re still looking for more resources about entrepreneurship or simply want to connect with other ambitious entrepreneurs like yourself, consider joining EO Birmingham.
EO Birmingham was created by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. You can find more helpful resources to grow both personally and professionally.