Taking the decision to start your own venture is never easy. But once you overcome your initial hesitation and take the plunge, your life will take a turn for the better. Here are our 5 tips for every aspiring entrepreneur to keep in mind as they embark on this journey.
- Focus on execution
Entrepreneurs often assume that success will follow naturally if the idea on which the business is based is good enough. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Your business idea is probably not new. In fact, the most successful firms are usually not the first to launch a new product or service. Facebook was not the first social media company. Similarly, Yahoo was well-established when Google started operations.
If your idea is not the most important factor, then what is? The success of your business will depend upon your execution capabilities. Unless you are able to meet your commitments and deliver what you have promised, your company is unlikely to take off.
- Starting and running a business is difficult
How exactly can you develop the ability to execute your ideas flawlessly? Unfortunately, there is no simple formula. You will have to come up with dozens of small ideas to solve the problems that arise on a daily basis.
In the initial stages, you can handle everything yourself. You could keep close tabs on customer acquisition, finance, service issues, and even routine administrative matters. But as the company grows, this will no longer be possible. You will have to find people who are capable of handling all these areas effectively. Building an outstanding team is not easy.
Developing first-rate execution skills requires hard work and constant attention to detail. At the same time, you cannot afford to lose sight of the big picture.
- Get your finances right
Every entrepreneur knows that the business needs to become self-sustaining as early as possible. The challenge is to stay solvent till this happens.
How can you conserve cash during the early stages? Here are a few general rules that you can use:
- When you start operations, there is a temptation to overspend. Your enthusiasm level is high and upon closing your first deal, you think that business growth is assured. But it does not always work out like that. New orders may be difficult to come by. It is important that you save where you can. For example, do you really need a fancy office from day one? A simple and functional workplace could serve equally well.
- However, don’t make the mistake of skimping on business development or promotional expenses. Unless you build up a base of regular customers, you will find it difficult to survive.
- Some entrepreneurs, especially those in the creative fields, hold the view that they are not good with finances. They leave accounting and cash management to a trusted employee.
While this can be the right step to take, you should remember to spend some time every day to review your firm’s finances and cash position. This will help you to understand how your money is being spent. You will also be able to spot cash flow problems as they arise.
- Promote your business
Are you going to use social media to spread the word? Or are you going to use traditional methods like newspaper advertisements and a dedicated sales team?
Most businesses will try and attract customers by using a combination of different marketing strategies. Whatever means you adopt, you have to go that extra mile if you want to succeed.
Flipkart, the e-commerce giant that sells all types of products, is currently valued at upwards of US$10 billion. But founders Sachin and Binny Bansal started with a single product. They used to sell books online. How did they promote their business? The two IIT graduates used to stand outside Gangaram Book Stores in Bangalore and hand over Flipkart bookmarks to those who came out with books in their hands.
- Take a deep breath
At times, despite your best efforts, the venture may not succeed. The market environment may have changed, a new technology could have been introduced, or you may even realise that you are not cut out for a certain type of business.
What should you do? Take a deep breath and decide whether you want to continue. There are occasions, when cutting your losses and exiting the business may be the best way forward.