9 Things Every Aspiring Entrepreneur Needs to Know
Building a successful business requires more than just having a great idea. You have to follow through. You need to invest in yourself. You need to actually build a thriving business that will stand the test of time, but also the threat of competition. Achieving those goals requires that you get off on the right foot, of course. In this post, I would like to discuss some of the most important things that every entrepreneur needs to know, whether you want to build a thriving drop-shipping business, or create the next ecommerce juggernaut. What could be so important that every single aspiring entrepreneur needs to know it? Actually, the number of vital points might just surprise you.
Humility and a Sense of Humor Are Essential
How many of you think of successful business people as being set over mere mortals? Achieving success should come with bragging rights. There should be some level of prestige, yes. However, you cannot let that erode your humility or your sense of humor. It’s vital that any entrepreneur remain humble, and even more important that you remain able to laugh, not just at life in general, but at yourself. If you take yourself too seriously, that ego could get in the way, and you know what they say about pride.
Realize That It’s Not About You
One of the things that surprises many would-be business owners is the fact that their business is not actually about them. Sure, you get to feel good about what you have built, but the purpose of building that business cannot be your own aggrandizement. That is nothing but narcissism, and businesses built on narcissism never last. Instead, your business needs to be about other people – your customers, usually.
Your sole reason for being in business is not to make money, but to serve others. Whatever product or service you offer is geared toward making someone else’s life better, simpler, easier, or more enjoyable. That’s true whether you invent a new type of coffee system or sell geek-themed t-shirts. Remember this and you’ll be in a better position to enjoy success.
Sometimes You Have to Quit
Sure, the world is filled with inspirational quotes that encourage you not to throw in the towel. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win” is a prime example, but there are plenty of others. There’s this notion out there that if you just have enough grit, enough gumption, enough stick-to-it-ness, that you’ll eventually overcome all hurdles and achieve success. There’s sense in that – good sense. There’s some truth, too.
However, sometimes quitting is necessary. Hell, sometimes quitting is the smartest thing that you can do. Realize this. Not every startup succeeds. Not every startup deserves to succeed, for that matter. Your dream business could fall into this camp. Maybe your idea wasn’t well realized. Maybe you fell in with the wrong partners and have lost control of your business. Maybe you just can’t find traction, and you’ve been slaving away over a failing business for a couple of years at this point and have yet to even pay yourself. In these situations, and many others, quitting is the right answer.
No one wants to be labeled as a quitter, but sometimes bad ideas and bad situations just need to be allowed to die. And, if you don’t quit, you’ll have no way to pursue your next great idea. Get comfortable with the idea that quitting might be necessary at some point.
Understand That Becoming an Entrepreneur Will Have a Major Impact on Your Personal Life
A lot of aspiring business owners start down this path only to realize that their personal lives are falling apart within a surprisingly short period of time. They failed to understand that their business venture will eat up all of their spare time, particularly if they are still in the development stage and working a day job in the meantime.
Running a successful startup usually means that you need to sacrifice things like date night with your significant other, and it may mean that you need to take a long, hard look at how you are prioritizing what little spare time you have. It can be incredibly hard to find a good work/life balance as a business owner. Be prepared for this. Of course, it is also important to understand that your business can become an obsession.
Realize that there’s a difference between being dedicated to bringing your idea to life and being obsessed with it. Dedication will be rewarded. Obsession will see you lose your friends and even your family.
Rapid Growth Isn’t Always Good
As entrepreneurs, we all want to experience overnight success. It’s partly about validation of our ideas and our sense of self-worth. It’s partly about the desire to succeed. However, while rapid growth is sometimes good, it’s not always a positive force. In fact, slow growth may be a better option for many business owners. It allows you to grow with your business. It gives you time to adapt and change with the forces affecting your business.
Too-rapid growth can cause problems and may not allow you the time necessary to come to grips with the way your business must change. So, if you’re experiencing slower growth than you had anticipated, it might be a good thing. Slow, natural expansion is to be preferred over forced growth that ultimately results in a business that’s falling apart from the inside out.
Stop Focusing on a Great Idea
We all seem to have this notion that successful entrepreneurs have great ideas that somehow change the world. That is true in perhaps a handful of situations. However, the reality for most successful entrepreneurs is very different. They don’t focus on finding that one brilliant idea. Instead, they focus on solving a market need.
Think that Bill Gates made his fortune because he came up with DOS and then Windows? That’s not true. He built his success by providing businesses and individuals with a way to make computer technology work for them. Think that Elon Musk’s Tesla was successful because of advanced electric technology? That is part of it, but it’s more about making the notion of an electric vehicle more approachable and more of an attainable reality for a wider range of customers.
You Cannot Be in Control of All Things
Business owners are stubborn. We often feel that if we want something done right, we need to do it ourselves. We see that as natural – we’re the visionaries, and no one else seems to really get how things need to be done. This leads to us micromanaging everything. Eventually, that drives away the talent that we need to run our businesses. Realize that you cannot be in control of all things. Give it up. Step back from the helm in a few key areas.
True leaders, those who go on to helm incredibly successful companies, know how to delegate and they realize that giving up direct control over some things allows them freedom to achieve other things. If you’re constantly embroiled in your business’ day-to-day, you cannot steer it into the future. Be prepared to give up control and build a team you can be confident of when the time comes to start delegating.
Failure Will Happen
No one wants to fail. No entrepreneur sets out with the idea that they’re going to fall on their face. However, it happens. In some cases, it happens time and time again before you get it just right. Realize that failure is inevitable, particularly in the early stages. In fact, I would go so far as to say that failure is necessary. It helps you learn. It helps you refine your strategies and ideas. And, it can also be used as a measure of whether you’re taking enough risks. If you never fail, then you’re playing it too safe and have not taken any real risks. Without those risks, there is no real reward.
Keep Your Day Job for Now
Yes, the goal of being an entrepreneur is to strike out on your own and find success on your own terms. It’s about controlling your destiny and your time. Just don’t quit your day job yet. Give your ideas time to evolve and grow. Allow time for market research and strategizing. Give yourself time to build a strong foundation before you quit your one sure source of income. This is not about fearmongering. Rather, it’s about ensuring that you can keep putting food on the table and make sure that your lights stay on. Wait until you are generating enough income from your new business to match what you earn on the day job, and that you do this consecutively for several months in a row. Then you can tell your boss what you really think of him.
Every aspiring entrepreneur needs to know the things we’ve discussed in this post. However, there’s a lot more to take in when it comes to building a successful 6 figure business. Therefore, I invite you to sign up for my 'Six Figure Sunday' course (click here to sign up) where I will teach you how to earn a six-figure income while working just one day per week.