Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes the romantic allure of running your own company overpowers the realistic expectations that most startups fail. Launching your own business requires a lot of work, dedication, and risk, but for the select few the reward of running and managing a successful business pays off in the end. Before starting a business there are a few things an aspiring entrepreneur should keep in mind:
1. Know What You’re Doing
Of course you don’t need to have all the answers before you begin and mistakes will be made a long the way, but having some previous knowledge of the market or industry your business will be in is critical. It’s not enough to just have a great idea, you have to know your market. Know the history of the industry, key competitors, your niche of the market, the latest industry news, and the constant evolution and change that will occur within that market. Business is essentially a competition of customer acquisition and retention. The more knowledge you have, the better off you will compete.
Another key component is developing and knowing your own business plan. Business plans will change and revisions will be made as the company grows, but having a strategy that can be executed will put an entrepreneur on a course of action. A strategy allows you to take action that is goal-oriented, rather than working just for the sake of working. And any potential investors down the road will want to see that demonstrated knowledge and game plan about where the company is heading.
Know the different documentation and licenses that are required in order to do business in a particular area. Think about what type of business you want to form (Sole Proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc.), and then any state or federal licenses that need to be acquired. Also, if you plan on having any employees or setting up a bank account, you’ll need to file for an EIN (Employee Identification Number) with the IRS.
2. Be Prepared for the Off Days
Once the initial excitement of starting your own business wears off, the reality of how hard it is starts to sink in. For better or worse, there will be days where it seems like nothing is going right. There will be days where major problems arise or your business isn’t quite meeting your expectations. Simply, there will be days where you will want to quit.
Almost every entrepreneur will experience the off days. Starting your own business is like riding a rollercoaster. There are ups and downs, twist and turns, and things you don’t see coming until it’s actually happening. This is the true test of an entrepreneur. In the dark days you have to be resilient. You need to have the belief that things will always turn for the better, and then take action to make that happen. The world wouldn’t quite be the same if every entrepreneur gave up after hard times. In fact, even some of the greatest entrepreneurs failed before finally succeeding. Tough times are inevitable. Find the strength and the will to push through.
3. Fuel the Fire
It is often said that an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur for life. It is that fire that drove you to launch a business in the first place. Let that fire propel you to success and overcome the off days. Most entrepreneurs will cite passion as a reason why they’ll be successful. But it’s more than that. Everyone is passionate about something, but it’s the entrepreneurs who harness that energy and turn it into drive that will ultimately find success (along with a little combination of luck). The most successful people all have one shared quality. They all have unparalleled drive and work ethic. It’s putting the fuel to the fire.
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” – Muhammad Ali
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