Top Ten Tips for an Entrepreneur
1, Do something you care about
When you begin your entrepreneur journey there is a danger that you will be intrigued by the next big thing or a new trend you have seen others do. The first thing to know is that don’t follow the new shiny thing just for the sake of it. Being an entrepreneur can be draining and comes with rollercoasters of motivation and procrastination. If you business isn’t something that you truly care about then you will easily fall into procrastination. The most important thing you can do in your early stages is to really explore yourself and think about the things that are important to you. Yes, it is important to know the market and be ready to explore new innovations and trends, but tread carefully and do this in line with things that really resonate with you.
2, Believe in yourself
This might seem like a trick question, but do you really believe in yourself? You need to get into the mindset that you are capable of achieving all of the things you admire in others. Do you believe you can succeed? Do you believe you can make money with your business? Do you believe you are enough to accomplish your goals? The answer to all of these things is YES, but are you really there yet? Being an entrepreneur is massively about you. You will poor all of your energy and inspiration into your business, so it’s important that you have the confidence deep down to drive yourself forward. Confidence and self belief can be one of the biggest stumbling blocks people encounter in business. There will be days where you are full of ideas and ready to take on the world, and then other days where you are doubting your abilities because something didn’t sell or a campaign you worked hard on wasn’t successful. Failures are perfectly normal in business, and are in fact productive activities if you learn from them. So don’t let yourself down by giving in to self doubt. View small failures as being part of the process, learn from them and do better next time, and always believe in yourself.
3, Choose the right niche
Choosing the right niche is very important for your success. You want to choose and area where there is a market. There is no point in having an amazing ideas but in actual fact there is no active market for that thing. Research, research, research. Know your market, know your own experience, know your interests and passion, and find that small space where all of these things cross over. It is important for the long term of your business that you are invested in your niche. Much about your product or service and even marketing is about how you buy into your own business. Your audience will be able to see if you have no interest in your area and therefor won’t buy into it. If you are passionate and enthusiastic about your business then your audience will feel this and be keen to buy into it. Chances are that your niche audience are very much like you are. They want to identify with you and trust your opinion. Imagine trying to give a talk on something you know nothing about and reading off of a script versus talking about your favourite thing in the world. You need to exude that energy and get other people to love your business as much as you do.
4, Solve a burning problem
People don’t buy things, they buy solutions to their problems. A mother needs to feed her baby while she is away at work so she shops for baby bottles. She wouldn’t buy bottle just for fun, she needs to buy them to solve how to feed the baby when she isn’t there. The bottles are the solution to her problem. Perhaps some students need laptops. The student who is studying graphic design needs a powerful laptop that can support the software which are much more expensive than the other laptops. These students all need a similar product, but one student has a specific problem with the affordable options and needs another option. The student doesn’t spend the extra money just for the fun of it, they are solving their problem. The point is to understand what people’s problems are. Don’t make assumptions about what people need, really understand not just the things they buy, but why they buy these things. It doesn’t matter if its a product, service, printable ebook, anything, people buy to achieve a solution and improve their lives.
5, Start with a narrow focus
It can be very tempting in the beginning to throw all of your ideas at something and build an amazing big business that is all singing all dancing. This is a mistake. However much time you think it is going to take to build your business I guarantee that it will take far longer. You will spend a lot of time on the behind the scenes side of your business like marketing, administration, updating websites, bookkeeping etc. To do all of these things well you will need to invest in yourself in the beginning and learn new skills and best practice. You will also want to spend time testing your market and finding the best way forward and adjusting your techniques as you go. This can become very overwhelming and can cause many business to give up before they even get started. Keep things small and manageable so that you can get very good at your system first. Once you find a system that works you can automate and scale that, then expand into once of your other ideas. It’s great to have lots of ideas, but keep them to one side and launch them at appropriate times when they won’t become overwhelming for you.
6, Always be aware of competitors
This is probably one of the things that is easiest to slip. Everyone runs out and does lots of research at the start of their business, but how many continue to do this on a regular basis? New ideas happen, new trends appear, new businesses now into a market, perhaps your market. In this fast moving digital world new business pop up regularly and within a few months your whole audience could be swept out from underneath you if you become complacent and comfortable. You don’t want to be at the back of the business train by being the last one to notice a new trend and always be fighting for a place in the market. Be a leader. Be in the first wave of the market shifts and be part of the leaders who are creating new audience niches. Samsung watch what Apple are developing to make sure they are not left behind. Apple Watch Samsung for the same reasons. Nobody has room to be comfortable and complacent, nobody can assume that their audience base will be exactly the same in a year from now and that the world will remain the same.
7, Know your goals
Entrepreneurs are generally full of ideas and energy, perhaps striving forward based on motivation and inspiration. This is only half of the battle though. There is no point in storming forward with enthusiasm if you don’t know where you are going. To connect with your niche you need strategy. To create a strategy you need to know your goals. Its also very important to have different stages of goals all lined up… short term, medium term, long term. You don’t want to get caught in a hamster wheel where you just keep spinning but never get any further. Perhaps that will give you a business that provides enough income to pay your bills, but if you don’t have bigger goals then you will never move any further than this. Your short term goals will be very different than your long term goals. To move from one stage to the next you will need to create strategies. Once you have created these you need to actually follow what you have decided to grow and succeed. This isn’t to say that goals are set in stone. Obviously, if you are doing your ongoing research and know you market trends and competitors you will be adjusting your goals as you go. Goals are not there to make you be restrictive but to keep you on track and make you accountable for your decisions.
8, Take action and show up
Now, this is the part where I feel like I am a stuck record and say you need to consistently show up. Ideas are great, but if you don’t take action on them then they are basically useless. You knowing you have a great business is great, but if you aren’t letting others know the details about it then you are getting in your own way of your success. There is no point in putting in lots of effort to make an amazing business if it then just sits there unused. Most of us are shy and introverts filled with horror at self promotion online. Some people are happy to be the face of their business and be on Insta every day talking about how great they are, some people are filled with horror at that approach. Lets get this straight now, you can show up without it feeling ostentatious or salesy. Choose a platform like Pinterest, use Canva to make a serious of pins about your business and schedule them to post every day at the same time. This is showing up. This is being consistent. This is being visible to your audience and getting yourself out there in a way that lets your audience build trust in you and your business. The internet search engines don’t like inconsistency and will push you down for this so the best thing you can do for yourself is take action to make your content and schedule it to show up.
9, Just do it, even without perfection
Procrastination is one of the biggest problems we face. It is hard to take that leap and put something out into the world to be criticised. We all feel vulnerable when showing our work and all feel like its not finished and could be better. Well here is a revelation, even the highest quality academic books tend to have multiple editions as new things are learned and revisions need to be made. Nothing will ever be finished because technology moves on, interests change, markets are constantly shifting. The best way to succeed is to make prototypes and get them out into the world. You will learn far more from testing something and learning from you mistakes than by keeping it on the drawing board and hoping some new revelation will strike you to make it better. Every day you procrastinate over something because it isn’t perfect is another day that you have got in your own way and not shown up.
10, Learn from your mistakes
Mistakes are important. Failures are the best way to learn. Try, reflect, alter. Try, reflect, alter. Try, reflect, alter. This is what all of the big companies do to make advancement in their products and services. Society seems to install in us that its a bad thing to fail and that it somehow makes us less valid. It is such a shame that we are made to feel like this. Science is founded on mistakes where you create a hypothesis, conduct an experiment, note your results, and repeat. This is done until you have eliminated all of the process that are unsuccessful and identify one that works. This is exactly the type of system we all need to embrace, and be brave enough to shout about it because every failure we make is a step forward in achieving success.