How to be a successful entrepreneur: 10 things you need to know
Entrepreneurship can be an amazing career path, but it’s definitely not easy. In fact, many would-be entrepreneurs quit their dream of starting their own business because they feel too discouraged or overwhelmed to move forward with their idea. However, if you know how to be a successful entrepreneur, you can overcome all of these obstacles and start working on your business idea sooner rather than later. Here are 10 things every entrepreneur needs to know to reach success as an entrepreneur!
1) Take your idea seriously
If you’re serious about becoming an entrepreneur, it’s time to take your idea seriously. By now, if all has gone according to plan (ha!), you should have at least some idea of what kind of company or business you want to create. But most entrepreneurs I speak with say they were too soft on themselves when starting out—that is, they hadn’t done enough homework and failed to truly imagine what their lives would look like as an up-and-running company.
2) Know what your competitors are doing
It’s always good to stay on top of what your competitors are doing. You may notice that their tactics are working, or maybe they’re trying something new. Either way, it helps your business to have an idea of what other companies in your industry are doing. You can do it by reading their blogs, seeing what advertisements they run and knowing about their newest initiatives. If possible, try to speak with some of their customers and ask them what they like about your competitor’s product or service. This will help you learn more about how you can improve your own products and services for better customer satisfaction.
3) Do market research
You don’t have to do market research before launching your business, but it’s probably a good idea. There are many ways to conduct market research—you can take surveys, read reports and publications, even talk with people who are already in business (especially those whose businesses serve your target customers). Doing so will help you decide whether there is potential for your idea in today’s marketplace. If there is, move forward with confidence; if not, think again about whether it might be worth continuing.
4) Start thinking about money
When you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, it can be hard to get past thinking about your product and its features. There’s no getting around it—you have to think about money too. Businesses with sound financial fundamentals are more likely to succeed than those that don’t pay attention to their finances.
Take some time to start thinking about your revenue model. How will you bring in money? Will it come from selling a product or providing services? Or maybe you’ll focus on monetizing your audience through advertising or sponsorships. Whatever your revenue model, it should line up with how much money customers are willing to pay for what you’re offering.
5) Don’t forget about taxes
When you’re starting out as an entrepreneur, it can be easy to think that taxes aren’t important. After all, if your company is small and barely earning any revenue, why bother with taxes? Well, even if you don’t have much income now, you will eventually—and when that happens (or if/when your business goes under), Uncle Sam will certainly want his fair share.
As an entrepreneur, you’re responsible for paying income tax, self-employment tax (if applicable), and—in some cases—employment taxes. You’ll also have to pay taxes on any profits your business earns. There are many factors that determine your total tax burden as an entrepreneur, but it’s worth understanding that these taxes aren’t something you can avoid forever.
6) Learn from your mistakes
As any startup founder will tell you, it’s easy to think of mistakes as failure. But that’s not necessarily true. Failures and setbacks are actually essential parts of learning what works and what doesn’t. Think of your first few business endeavors as opportunities to test hypotheses and assumptions in your business model. The more you learn, the faster your success will come.
7) Get business partners, advisers and mentors
No matter how amazing your idea is, you probably won’t go far without some people in your corner. Find advisers and mentors who are good at what they do and ask them if they’ll help. This can be very beneficial when it comes time to decide between pursuing an opportunity or walking away from it.
For example, if you want to open a clothing store but have no experience running a business, you could ask another local business owner who’s had success with retail for advice and get their feedback on your startup plan. Also reach out to angel investors or venture capitalists in your area for potential funding opportunities.
8) Expand on what works but don’t give up if it doesn’t work out.
The first time someone starts a business, it’s easy to get frustrated and feel like it isn’t working. It’s not always going to go smoothly. You might have no customers one day and dozens of orders flooding in from your website another. That’s just part of being an entrepreneur. Be flexible, adaptable, and resilient; if something doesn’t work today, there’s always tomorrow.
If you’re working from home and start having problems, don’t give up. If a customer is angry with your service, take steps to make it right. Even if no one ever orders from your website again, keep trying. Give yourself permission to fail while still holding yourself accountable for doing your best.
9) Make sure it makes sense from every angle.
One of my favorite entrepreneurs and investors, Mark Cuban, once said , If you’re going to do something in life, figure out what it is that drives you. For me, it’s solving puzzles and figuring out complex problems. I don’t want to be an employee; I don’t like taking orders from people. Entrepreneurship let me operate on my own schedule and with complete autonomy.
10) Believe in yourself.
You’re going to face a lot of naysayers as an entrepreneur. The moment people realize you’re willing to take risks, they’ll want to rain on your parade, but try not let them get you down. In fact, don’t just try—expect that it will happen and ignore it instead. When you believe in yourself and your idea, there’s no way anyone can bring you down.
If you’re having trouble staying motivated and believe in yourself, it’s helpful to find other people who share your vision. Find someone else who believes in your idea, and work together. You don’t have to do everything on your own, in fact, having a team of people working with you will help create more momentum for your business as well as give you support when times get tough.