Preparing for Success: 8 Tips for First-Time Entrepreneurs

Starting a journey to become an entrepreneur is both an exciting and nerve-wracking endeavor. If you’re new to the business of running a business, you’ll need as much help as you can get to dodge possible pitfalls and potentially increase your chances of getting it right the first time.
When launching a company, you’ll have to think about so many things, ranging from your finances and staffing to marketing, customer engagement, and after-sales support. Sadly, there is plenty of conflicting advice online that tends to make things more difficult than easy.
So, for those of you who are willing to walk the extra mile to attain the success you dream of, here are eight tips for getting ready for your business the right way, especially if it’s your first time:

  • Turn Your Passion Into Business

Starting and running a business is a grind and can leave you exhausted and unable to continue on the path you’ve taken. You can avoid this by creating a company around something you’re passionate about.
Turning your passion into a business can help motivate you to continue walking the path you’re in. Avoid industries that you have very little knowledge of. Keep in mind that a steep learning curve may cause a lot of expensive delays or even hamper your chance of succeeding.

  • Know Whether Your Idea Has a Significant Market Opportunity

Once you’ve picked a concept based on your passion, the next step is to research its market opportunity carefully. Only pick products or services that truly have a big audience. That’s because most investors will choose to invest only if they know that the company has a significant potential for growth.

  • Balance Passion and Knowledge

After picking a hobby you want to turn into a source of income and determining that it has potential for the market, it is time for you to work to balance the two. Remember to maintain the excitement by sticking to what you love, but never forget to assess how much it can attract customers.
Keep in mind that building the foundation of your business venture purely on gumption can leave you vulnerable to business decision-making mistakes. On the other hand, just knowing how to do it isn’t enough to fuel your company for success, either – you must be hungry for it.
Therefore, a balance between passion and knowledge is crucial not only to keep your business afloat but also to help it grow.

  • Arm Yourself with Correct and Sufficient Knowledge

“Knowledge is power.” This may be a cliché, but it still encapsulates the most basic truth in business.
When transforming your passion into a business, you’ll need the help of people who have been in the same position as you are and overcame obstacles that came their way. These people can serve as mentors who can offer pointers and sound advice to help you understand your chosen industry.

To do so, you should consider looking closely into people who are considered as market leaders and ask for tips regarding the different aspects of the business. This can range from recruitment and fundraising to product development and brand marketing.

If you can’t find an industry-specific expert, professionals like lawyers and accountants can also give you valuable input in certain aspects of the business. Reading articles in newsletters and reputable online websites could also work.
You can choose to sign up for career enhancement courses for entrepreneurs as well to supplement your knowledge of your chosen industry with a deeper understanding of how to run a business.

  • Know Your Competitors

If you want to succeed, you have to keep your ears and eyes open for information that you can capitulate on. This means you must know and understand your competitors – what makes them great and what can be improved. These can help you gain an edge and introduce an innovative offering in the market that surpasses those that are already available.
As you do your research, be sure to dig deep into the competitors’ products and services and stay updated on any enhancements or new developments that may arise. A good way to start doing this is to set up a Google alert that would notify you of new information about certain companies online.

  • Raise As Much Starting Capital As You Can

Gathering sufficient startup financing is one of the most difficult aspects of the business.
Contrary to what most people think, it’s more challenging and time-consuming to raise enough funds to launch a company. However, sufficient capital is absolutely necessary for a company to have a shot at success.
Don’t give in to your excitement at launching a new product if you have no money for advertising. If you do, you’ll only end up wasting your time, effort, and money with the production, only to end up with tons of unsold products.
Always have a budget for all aspects of product development and marketing. And to do so, you have to be open to sharing ownership of the company.

  • Stay on Top of Your Finances

Speaking of capital, another way you can avoid failing in business is to stay on top of your cash flow. Be sure to constantly monitor every aspect of your finances to avoid pitfalls in your journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Remember to check all the expenses, income, and balance sheets for any discrepancies. Doing so regularly will allow you to adjust funding when necessary. Keep a low overhead, stay frugal, and don’t spend on things that aren’t necessary.
When you live on a shoestring budget, you’ll get a better chance of seeing the fruits of your sacrifices as significant revenues begin to flow in.

  • Recruit the Right People

Lastly, another crucial aspect of starting a business is recruitment. Many entrepreneurs make the huge mistake of hiring the wrong people, which can lead to the company’s downfall.
To avoid this, make sure that you thoroughly check their experience and background. Relevance should be your top priority, which means they should have the right skills, knowledge, and personality that could very well fit into your company culture.
Also, startup employees must be hardworking. This is because it is likely that they will have more than one role since you’re only beginning to build the company up.

To determine whether an applicant has all these and more to offer, perform reference checks to see if what they say about themselves is true. Also, consider writing an offer letter that indicates the possibility of the contract being terminated at will at any time.
If you want to play it safe, you can choose to seek help from professional recruiters with experience in hiring for your specific sector.

Getting It Right the First Time

Getting anything right the first time is almost impossible without proper preparation and planning, especially in business. If you want to become a good entrepreneur, follow the tips listed in this article, and take your time in thinking about every decision you make.

About Author: Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.

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