Starting your business is definitely an adventurous ride which gives you a mix of several emotions. Someday you might be excited and happy while other days you might be scared, frustrated and probably even angry. It is no doubt that like most other things the first time you try, you learn the hard way. Even though you might have done a course on entrepreneurship and read through several books, there will always be stuff that you must get through with trial and error.
Starting your own business and building it up is surely not easy, and most of the things will never go as they are planned. It entails a lot of hard work and many hours of your day to reach to that point which you can term as success. Even though this is the reality, it doesn’t mean that we, the entrepreneurs wouldn’t go back and make some changes if we could to get things running smoothly. So here are some of the things that I learned the hard way, but I wish I knew them before starting my business.
#1. Business should be Your First Priority
While most of the times the main reason for starting your business is to do what you love, but the success of your venture comes majorly from running your business and not just from making jewelry, painting pots, teaching yoga, making websites, or in short doing what you love. It might come as a surprise if I tell you that only a small percentage of your time, say about 10-15 percent is what you will be spending in doing what you love. While the remaining amount of time you will be, and ideally should be, busy in business functions such as marketing, selling, strategizing your business, networking, accounting, and doing administrative tasks. Your business’s survival and success depend first on how good of a business owner you are and then on how you produce your goods.
In short, if you start your restaurant because you love to cook, then you must also realize that you’re first a business owner and then a chef.
#2. Focus First on Customers and then on Money
Of course, you started your business with an intention of earning money through your passion, but doing it only with the purpose of becoming a millionaire will lead to your failure.
Your business should not just be about you and you making money, but it must be about bringing value to other people’s lives. Your business strategy must be focused on solving your customer’s needs and creating value for your customer base. Take extra efforts to understand what your customers like and don’t like about your product and business, because this is the time when you can really make changes in your business if needed. Keep an eye on the reviews and respond to the comments regularly. If required you can also get additional information through surveys as well.
#3. Get Equipped with Right Tools
The days are gone when you would have to waddle all by yourself in this field and tackle all the problems by yourself. When you are starting your business, make sure you are aware of different tools, products, and websites that are of great help to the entrepreneurs. The best part about these tools is that most of them are free and offer great services to help entrepreneurs conduct their business with ease. Google is one of the best suites which offer a variety of tools from Google Drive, Calendar, Docs to Hangout and Google Analytics. There are several similar tools which help you work effectively from anywhere in the world if you have good internet. Make use of these tools which will help you manage your day efficiently and also keep your stress under control.
#4. Success takes Time
No matter how brilliant and special you are, your trajectory of success will take just as long as any other business would take. There was a time I believed I could achieve the same success as my peers in less than half their time because of my better skill sets. But unfortunately, it wasn’t long before this bubble ruptured and I realized that some things take the same amount of time, no matter what. So have patience and faith in yourself and your team and you will be on your path towards success.
#5. Build Income from Other Sources as well
Face the reality that it will take some time once you start your business that you will start earning returns, and sometimes the worry about how to pay up bills or the salaries of your employees are going to take a toll. So to save yourself from this pain and trouble, you should set up multiple sources of income that are independent of each other. Whether you offer your consulting services, make money through a hobby, or take up a part-time job, there are several options that you can consider.
Don’t look at yourself as a failure and it also doesn’t mean that you should neglect your business while you earn money elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with having a Plan B, and in fact, it will give you peace of mind and eventually take your business to the pinnacle of success.
So there you have it, a few insights into reality that might help you save yourself from worrying and stressing out. While you do take in everything that I have said and also come up with your own experiences, don’t forget to enjoy this experience because your next business won’t be your first business ever!
I'm a self confessed foodie, king of the kitchen, wannabe anthropologist, technology evangelist , curious, inquisitive & experimental entrepreneur at @DigiLands and an adrenaline junkie. Love spending time with my wife & two young children and faulty KitKats that consist purely of solid chocolate.