We meet a lot of enterprising entrepreneurs who are motivated to work for themselves, generate their own income, and hold their own profit. As they gain experience, that first business can quickly turn into owning two, three, or ten. Serial entrepreneurs often see their greatest leaps in personal growth through their early experiences with their first business.
But there’s a big difference between owning a business and running a business. Running a business may sound like a lot more work, but if you've set yourself up for success then you can avoid the common pitfalls that plague new entrepreneurs.
Odds are you’ve met successful entrepreneurs. Ask yourself how they got to where they are. What have they done? What does their business look like?
Emulating success will only get you so far. To drive results, you first need to define your goals and hold yourself accountable for them. Having a strong team will enable you to realize these results, so begin finding partners who can complement your skillset.
Once you have a handle on your business fundamentals, your goals, team, and business model, then you should have the time to look inwards and develop yourself to become a successful entrepreneur.
Here are some great places to get you started on that path.
1. Plan and Track Everything
If you lack discipline, it will bleed into your business and, ultimately, your revenue. But you already know this, and a blog post might not fundamentally change how you plan out your day, week, or month.
Well, regardless of your planning abilities, you can start by tracking time and taking notes.
Here are a couple of resources to get you started:
And here’s one more that goes against the grain:
2. Plan Out Your Financials
There’s one thing that ends new startups and businesses faster than anything else – cashflow problems.
While you may not have future vision, you do have the time to plan out your year and set aside some cash for if things go off track. The importance of this cannot be understated: without a solid pricing model and money moving through your business, eventually something will have to give.
Here’s a great article that should help new entrepreneurs avoid cash flow problems.
3. Take Risks
Differentiating yourself in your space is key. Otherwise, your potential customers will just end up going for the bigger, more established company. To become a successful entrepreneur, you need to know your business and space it exists in better than anyone else.
Once you know that, go fearlessly where no one has gone before. Find your niche and the people it fits with, then use that in your branding, messaging, and marketing. Reach out to a new audience and build your own traction.
If you go too far into replicating success, you will always be trailing behind the market leaders.
4. Manage Those Risks
Each risk you take should be treated like laboratory experiments. Each one needs to be measured and tracked against your past success, otherwise the investment in that direction is wasted. Knowledge is your friend, and there are countless ways to measure the effectiveness of your risks.
As you get your business going, define your “baseline” performance. Great entrepreneurs find success in the risks they take, but they are also cautious as to when and how they implement take them. Look at past examples and find out what your customers want from the big names in your industry that they are not yet receiving.
5. Network with Locals in Your Industry
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, the old adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” will begin to resonate with you more often. Finding mentors to guide you through areas of business that are unfamiliar to you can be a great way of getting over the initial humps of running a business.
Depending on your business, your local market will also be your source of clients and employees. Putting yourself out there will help you to learn who they are, what they want, and how you can position your business to solve their problems.
6. Avoid Entrepreneur Burnout
Many new entrepreneurs come in bursting with excitement over their idea, and that’s great. You should be excited and willing to dedicate any spare time you have to your business.
In reality, though, that enthusiasm can only sustain itself for so long. To remain on your path to being a successful entrepreneur, take time for self-care. Dedicate a portion of each day to exercise, and block that time off so that no appointments, meetings, or whatever else can interrupt it.
Once you have a handle on your personal health, dedicate time to your own projects and interests. These may or may not be directly related to your business, but either way, they will seep into how you run it. If you are mentally taxed every day and working yourself at that level for too long, eventually the card stack will fall.
Ensure that you are taking active measures to avoid burnout every day.
7. Get Over the Imposter Syndrome
Becoming a successful entrepreneur doesn’t happen overnight. Have you ever been a pro at something on the first day? Probably not.
Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you are a fraud that is unworthy of your position. Instead of giving in to that fear of “faking it”, empower yourself to learn more, accept that you don’t know everything, and work on developing yourself as a well-rounded person constantly.
As a business leader, your team will look to you for direction. You may not always choose right, but dropping your ego will allow you to realize those missteps and correct course.
If you are focused on becoming a successful entrepreneur, it starts by being a successful individual. The same practices that will help you succeed as a business owner will also help you succeed in your personal relationships and actions. If you notice something going wrong in your personal life, reflect on that. Be introspective and open to criticism.
Being confident in your actions is part of what will make your business venture successful. To get there, find mentors who have been through the steps you’re taking. Ask them questions and find out how they navigated tricky situations. When one crops up, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Working towards success is a daily effort. Start today by tracking what you are doing now and how you are going to reach your most ambitious goals.