The world doesn’t owe you a living, but if you run your business well, you can make a very good living from it. Here are 10 basic business lessons new entrepreneurs need to learn – quickly.
Test your market before you launch your product or service
Your nearest and dearest may think your product is wonderful, but they were probably the people who treated your baby scribbles with the same sort of reverence as people usually keep for the Mona Lisa. Make sure you get honest and unbiased feedback from people who know your area (ideally your potential customers) before you go too far with your idea.
Admin may be boring but it matters
At the start of your business, you may be chief cook and bottle washer, doing everything yourself and as business needs demand, but if you want your business and your sanity to be sustainable, you need to get systems and processes in place and be ready to delegate where appropriate.
Mixing business and friendship can be tricky
Of course there are instances of friends going into business together and making it work very well, but it can also be dangerous territory. If you’re going to do it, make sure you both agree on the ground rules first, particularly as it relates to money and you may want to look for an impartial mediator to help you handle any disagreements amicably.
Income takes time to build
We’ve all seen the adverts on the internet – “I went from nothing to a million dollars a month in just six months and you can too.” Well you can and you might, but it’s best to assume it will take at least a year before your business starts to make you a viable income.
Dragons say “I’m out” more often than “I’m in”.
Successful venture capitalists tend to be very astute people and it may take longer than you think to convince them to invest in you. As for high street lenders and small-business finance – the headlines speak for themselves.
You need to budget for outside help
You’re never going to get a cold, have a family emergency or just need a break? Allow budget for at least a minimal amount of outside help and think about whether you need key man insurance.
Ignore the hype and focus on the facts
You can pretty much guarantee that as soon as word gets around that you have a new business, you’ll start to get sales calls from people who have exactly the help you need to make it work and at a very reasonable price. Some of these people will actually be worth their fee (and then some), many will not. Ignore the marketing material and look at the cold, hard facts of their track record.
It’s overly cynical to say “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, but it is fair to say that having a support network in place can make a big difference to your business. This is (at least) doubly true if you want to work internationally.
The real world still matters
If anyone tries to convince you that everything is online these days and that therefore digital marketing is the only sort that matters – ignore them. Yes, digital marketing generally matters a lot, but real-world marketing can actually deliver huge value and can drive your digital marketing forward.
Done is better than perfect
Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath, close your eyes and jump. As the old catchphrase goes “just do it”. If you analyse everything to the minutest detail, there’s a distinct chance you’ll never actually do anything.