As a new entrepreneur, it can be challenging and crucial yet incredibly rewarding and exciting to navigate through your business venture. There are no ends to the several legal, financial, marketing, staffing, and customer issues that will arise once you launch your business. If you have decided to start up your own business or are exhausted from working for somebody, welcome on board. However, you need to be prepared to put some extra time to gain your long-term goals.
According to Small Business Administration (SBA) research on startups, almost 500% of new businesses fail within the first year whereas 95% fail during the five years of their launch. It is mostly because most new entrepreneurs are unsure of themselves and keep questioning what they do now/next, after launching their business. After working for several years for somebody, they believe they have enough expertise and motivation to make a mark in the business world. Nonetheless, the decision to enter the lucrative business world is only the first step.
There are other factors involved and immense hard work is required to become successful as a new entrepreneur.
Suggestions and Advice for First Time Entrepreneurs Wishing to Be Successful
Here are some of the key tips that will help you navigate the startup landscape:
- Create a Business You Are Skilled and Passionate About
New businesses can be pretty challenging; therefore, you must select a domain that not only excites you but also keeps you motivated. Stay away from the industries and businesses you are not well aware of, as learning a new field involves a steep learning curve that can lead to hiccups in your success.
- Select a Business Idea with Huge Market Opportunity
Make sure to thoroughly research if there is an available big market for the targeted service or product. Generally, investors will only invest in your company if they observe a huge market opportunity and the potential of the company to grow into something impactful.
- Gather As Much Funding for Your Startup As Possible
Gathering and raising startup financing and funds is an exceedingly challenging process. You should make sure to cushion all the product manufacturing and marketing expenditures. In an ideal case, you should have substantial capital for business operations to break even. Do not fret about diluting the percentage ownership in the business. Launching a product requires money and time.
- Consistently Monitor Your Finances
Make sure to keep on top of all the expenses, income, and balance sheets. Several startups fail because the entrepreneur wasn’t able to prevent running out of cash. Establish a low overhead. Be frugal with expenditures and prevent unnecessary costs. Learn to live on a shoestring budget until impactful revenues start flowing.
- Research Your Competition
Ensure that you are thoroughly researching competitive products or services in the marketplace and keep updated on developments and advancements from your competitors. One way to accomplish this is to set up a Google alert to notify you when any information about competitors shows up online.
- Ask Suggestions from Other Entrepreneurs
Suggestions from other entrepreneurs and business professionals (like accountants and lawyers) can be valuable. Consider putting together an advisory board, and don’t be scared to motivate members by giving stock options in your business. Read the industry newsletters and entrepreneurship publications like entrepreneur.com and allbusiness.com. Find mentors to advise on hiring, marketing, product development, and fundraising.
- Create a Great Elevator Pitch
Be sure to have a compelling and succinct story about what your startup does and the problem it solves. Be prepared for potential investors and customers, nonetheless, you will be required to curate it to the specific audience. Maintain it to 30 seconds or less. Mention your goals and mission, and why the service or product is unique and compelling. If the investor is interested, be prepared to follow up with an overview of the company or a 12-15 PowerPoint slide deck which gives details into the company and the market opportunity.
- Hire Skilled Staff and Professionals
Hiring the wrong people is one of the huge mistakes made by entrepreneurs. You should bring in employees with relevant backgrounds and experience. The people will need to fit into the company culture you are planning to build. They should be flexible and hardworking, as employees in new businesses often have to function in multiple roles. You must do careful reference checks on them. Ensure your offer letter says they are ‘at will’ staff and can be terminated at any time.
- Always Keep Networking
Networking can help in lending new investors, great employees, new clients, or good mentors. Participate in startup and industry events. LinkedIn can be a valuable tool to facilitate your network, so ensure both you and the company have pages on LinkedIn and that you are continuously adding new connections. When someone does a Google search, your LinkedIn profile will typically show up at the top of the search results, so be sure to make a good first impression.
- Provide Great Customer Service
Companies like Virgin America became successful as they focused on offering excellent customer service. You want your early customers to give referrals and testimonials to their colleagues and friends. Thank your customers personally by email. Go the extra mile to show your appreciation.
- Hire An Experienced Startup Attorney
To help you in uncertain situations, you need to have a savvy business attorney. The startup attorney must be experienced in regularly formed and advised other several entrepreneurs. A professional startup lawyer can support you:
- Draw up contracts with the cofounders
- Make key agreements for the company
- Create a stock option plan for the staff
- Create protective offer letters to the potential employees
- Limit the potential legal liabilities
- Facilitate negotiating terms with potential investors.
Get valuable recommendations from other successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Ensure you maintain a good rapport with your attorney. Visit and schedule meetings with numerous potential attorneys before arriving at a final decision (the first meetings are generally free).
- Be Comfortable with Public Speaking
Effective communication skills can be essential to land customers, inspire staff, and pitch to investors to raise funds. Most people are not great at public speaking and others are even scared of it. You must work towards overcoming the fear of public speaking. Consult with business coaches or public speaking coaches and get professional assistance to improve this area. Some of the renowned entrepreneurs are great public speakers, like Steve Jobs and Sheryl Sandberg.
- Emphasize on Building a Remarkable Product or Service, However, Don’t Take Forever to Launch
The product or service your company has to offer should at least be good, if not great, to begin with. It has to be distinct in some impactful and significant way from your competitor’s service. All the other things will follow. Don’t dawdle on getting your product or service out to the market, as initial customer feedback is one of the best methods to help in improving it.
- Just Do It
There is no ideal time to start a business, so follow the same old yet proven advice of ‘just do it.’ Take the first step to create your own business, even if it is just part-time whilst working on your paying job.
- Market And Then Keep Marketing
You continuously need to attract, build, and even educate your target market. You need to ensure that your marketing strategy must include the following important factors:
- Create a professional and up-to-date website.
- Learn the basic concepts of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that people seekingyour service might discover you at the top of search results.
- Incorporate social media to boost your business (Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest, etc.).
- Commit to content marketing through writing guest articles for related websites.
- Publish press releases for your substantial and remarkable events.
If you are an entrepreneur, you need to act like an entrepreneur. If your one idea is not fruitful, start with another. You are an entrepreneur, whether it is success or failure, up or down, you are an entrepreneur, always. Remember that and head towards your goals. Most importantly, as an entrepreneur, it is difficult to do everything all on your own. So don’t hesitate to ask for help. People will respect your willingness to be humble and learn. It will be surprising how fruitful it can be to ask for help. Do what you originally want, entertain, and enjoy the venture, create the favorable culture and business you have always dreamt of. Fun and adventure are contagious and will help you attract the right market, the appropriate teams, and all the compatible opportunities. Lastly, entering the market as a first-time entrepreneur can be challenging, but with sincere commitment and efforts, it is worth the while.