“User experience is everything. It always has been, but it’s under-valued & under-invested in. If you don’t know user-centered design, study it. Hire people who know it; Obsess over it; Live & breathe it. Get your whole company on board.” –Evan Williams, Co-Founder, Twitter
“Starting a Business” Topics: Ideas, Partnerships, Twists & Turns, Highs & Lows, Failing, Learning, Mentors, Networking, Consultants, Friendship, Test Market, Focus, Customers, Cash Reserves, Cash Flow, Think Outside the Box, Don’t Hire, Never Give Up, Family
We all have ideas about how starting a company will be. You’ve heard about the hardships, are aware of the perks, but are ready to tackle the challenges? Like anything, there’s always going to be things you won’t know until you get started. But what if we could get an inside peek? To learn the less-common things to be prepared for, we asked 14 young Entrepreneurs what the one thing no one told them—the thing they wished they’d known—was when they started. Here’s what they had to say.
#1E. Ideas by Themselves are not Worth much
“I have seen many early Entrepreneurs get excited when they think they have a $Billion idea. We feel that just because we thought of it, we own it. Here’s the bad news: Chances are that multiple people have tried most of these ideas in some shape or form. In most cases, it’s your Team and your Execution that will differentiate you rather than the idea itself.”
#2E. There’s No 40 hour Work Week
“No one ever warned me that I would be trading my 40-hour work week for a 100+ hour work week when I first started my company. The one piece of advice I would give new entrepreneurs is to plan on investing almost all of your time and then some, if you plan on being successful. It’s worth it in the long run.”
#3E. Partnerships can be very Beneficial to both of you
“Partnerships can sometimes be challenging, but they can also be rewarding. If you are really going after a game-changing concept or something big, odds are a partner is a good thing. They can help carry the workload, fill in the gaps where you have no experience + help keep your Vision going when things get tough. You’re Cheer-leaders to each other.”
#4E. There are many Twists & Turns in the Road
“You have a big dream and you know exactly how you are going to get there—until it all changes. It’s great to have a Business Plan & Strategy, but you have to be ready to change directions – at a moment’s notice – when the situation requires it.”
#5E. There Are Incredible Highs & Lows
Running a startup is truly like riding a roller coaster that doesn’t stop. I’ve had some of the highest highs & the happiest moments I could remember while running my business. But it also comes with some of the lowest lows, and I’ve endured many sleepless nights. Rarely are there any feelings in between, but I think it’s important to celebrate even the smallest of victories.
#6E. Be Prepared to Fail
One of the reasons why so many people are afraid to start their own businesses is because of the uncertainty that it carries. You should be prepared for that uncertainty, by being prepared to fail. Perspective is important, and you will need to accept the fact, that not everything you try, is going to succeed. That makes a strong case for having a Backup plan for anything that you attempt to do. The idea is to make sure that you have the resilience to survive a failure or few, without losing your business.
#7E. Learning from other Entrepreneurs is Invaluable
“One of the most useful ways that I was able to grow and succeed as an Entrepreneur was by connecting to & learning from, other entrepreneurs. It’s crucial for your success. Learning from others’ successes and failures will accelerate your growth process.”
#8E. Mentors & Advisors are absolutely Necessary
“Having someone who has walked down the Entrepreneur path is vital. You can gain outstanding wisdom from your Mentor’s experience and discover insights that you would never have had before.”
#9E. Networking is Critical
“I started off as a solo-preneur with a small free-lancing gig. For the first 6 months, things were very slow. However, when I joined my first official Master-mind Networking group, the business took off immediately. Surrounding yourself with the right people from the start (ideal Customers, Mentors) will help you tremendously both when you’re starting up and as you grow.”
#10E. Consultants can be very Useful
“When starting up, I BootStrapped in every sense of the word. While this enabled me to propel my company forward, it was the hours of Consulting & Advising from industry experts that truly helped me make positive, long-lasting business Dcisions that continue to have a strong impact on my company and its success today.”
#11E. Friendship is very Important
“I wish someone had told me to be prepared for the feeling of “isolation” at times as an Entrepreneur. On a daily basis as an Entrepreneur, I am faced with new challenges, many of which I must tackle alone. I have since brought in others to assist in building the business. Knowing that you are going down the path together, definitely brings a winning Team motiviation to the company.”
#12E. Test Market before you totally Commit
There’s no such thing as a can’t-miss product or service. No matter how good a product or service looks on paper, it can fail for any number of reasons that you never imagined (not really solving a problem or really not needed). Test Market any new products or services that you are planning to roll out. That way you will minimize your expenses in the project, because you find out if it’s really needed & wanted. It will also you give you feedback on modifications to make it more marketable.
#13E. Focus most of your Time & Effort on Priorities
As a Founder, virtually every issue in the business is your responsibility. But this is where focus becomes extremely important. You have to be able to separate critically important activities from those that are just routine. Some of these important tasks are: developing a needed product, telling people about it (marketing), getting & keeping Customers, etc.
#14E. Focus on Customers
You can’t always make customers happy and make money. To avoid being taken advantage of, you have to remember that you’re a business, not a charity. Do your best, but don’t sink your business trying to please everyone. Pick your Target Market will, then listen to their feedback
#15E. Have plenty of Cash Reserves to survive
For starting your business, you should have sufficient Cash Reserves to pay your living expenses for at least six months or however long it takes to have it support you and your family. Since your business is unlikely to have much Cash Flow during the early stages, you may have to rely on those Reserves in order to survive. It would be even better if, in addition to your Cash Reserves, you already have at least a small Cash Flow before you leave your current job. This will make you less dependent on your Reserves, and also give you more confidence of success in the future.
#16E. Cash Flow is Job #1
It may be fun and even interesting to get caught up in a lot of the minor details of starting a business, but without good Cash Flow there is no business. Keeping it flowing coming in will be an ongoing challenge, but it’s never more important than in the initial phase. Before you can officially launch a business – in fact, before you can even say that you’re in business – you need to have some Customers that provide Cash Flow.
#17E. Think Outside the Box
A new business never comes with a How-To manual. If you are serious about becoming an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to be able to be creative. This is particularly true if your business represents something that is either unusual or completely brand-new. Be fully prepared to make adjustments as you go along. Always look to find a lower cost way to get what you need and to get things done. Running a business is very much about managing limited resources, and you will have to adopt unconventional ways of thinking in order to do that, particularly if you have never been in business before.
#18E. Don’t Hire – Partner or Contract Instead
When you start a business, you don’t need to hire employees. After all, employees create an immediate fixed expense at a time when income is uncertain. The better route is to either Partner-with other Entrepreneurs for certain services, or contract the work to independent consultants. Help each other to help keep your expenses low.
#19E. Never Give Up!
Starting and running a business is a long-term commitment. You have to be ready to tough it out, no matter what obstacles you come across. Tho’ you may find yourself doing little more than simply surviving in the early months and years of your business, that experience will be critical to the long-term success of the business. The lessons that you learn during the tough times are often what will give you your edge in the future.
#20E. Family comes First, last & always
You’re going to take big risks. Risk almost everything ($$$, Time Energy, etc) but I recommend that you never risk losing your Family for your Entrepreneurial adventure. It’s really not worth losing what’s most important in your life to be happy !!!
Comments: Do you know any other Critical Facts that a new Entrepreneur should know before starting a Business?
from The Muse & All Business 3/19 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
For more Info, click on Starting a Business.