In today’s digital era, there are basically no limits to who can become an entrepreneur as many tips and guides on starting a business are available online.
It also seems that many people are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur as you don’t necessarily need a college or university degree and a large amount of starting capital. Upon reaching success, having your own business brings benefits such as being your own boss, creating value for the people around you and making profits.
However, not everyone is cut out for the challenge of starting their own business. Simply having a good idea is not enough to start a business. You also need a strong plan and the determination to see it through.
Below are 10 tips for starting your own business and making it succeed.
First, find out why do you want to start a business? If you want extra money, maybe you should look for a side job. If you want more freedom, maybe it’s time to quit your 9-to-5 job and embark on your entrepreneurial journey.
After determining the reason, start asking yourself these questions to help you work out the type of business you should start:
- What skills do you have?
- Where is your area of expertise?
- Knowing that most businesses end up in failure, how much money can you afford to spend?
- How much capital do you need?
- What kind of lifestyle do you want to live?
02. BE PREPARED TO FAIL
Failure doesn’t stop you from ultimately succeeding. In fact, it’s a necessary step for most successful entrepreneurs. Great entrepreneurs do not fear of failure and go all out in pursuing what they believe to be a great idea.
03. IDENTIFY YOUR NICHE IN THE MARKET
One success factor shared by many start-ups is they have identified a niche and have cornered that market. If you can offera service or product that none of your competitors has thought of, you will give your start-up a good chance to achieve success
Nevertheless, do carry out your market research. Talk to genuine potential prospects (excluding family and friends) to find out if what you want to sell is something they would be interested in buying. If they are interested, you could also learn how much they would be willing to pay for the product or service.
04. BE FLEXIBLE AND TRACK THE LATEST MARKET TRENDS
Even though you have locked down the perfect niche, it won’t necessarily remain the same forever as market trends change from time to time. Having the flexibility to react is important to ensure your start-up will not be badly affected when hit by the winds of change.
05. HAVE A SOLID BUSINESS PLAN
According to many studies, one of the major reasons start-ups fail is because of poor planning. It is crucial to have a business plan when starting a business. The business plan must be concise, specific, and describe your business project accurately.
As it is your vision as an entrepreneur, draft the plan yourself. You will usually go through a few rewrites before attaining your final plan. If necessary, don’t hesitate to seek advice and assistance from experts, such as accountants, lawyers and seasoned entrepreneurs. A solid business plan is more than an accounting document, as it must sell your idea to a potential financial institution or investors.
06. BUILD YOUR BUSINESS NETWORK
Before you get your business off the ground, your business connections will help to keep it afloat. Expanding your network increases can turn some of business associates into influential allies. This will place your start-up in a strong position for future growth.
07. START SMALL BEFORE EXPANDING
Some say that entrepreneurs are risk-takers. However, seasoned entrepreneurs who are successful don’t like treading uncharted waters. In contrast, they take controlled risks by testing out an idea on a small scale. Then, they build on what works well, improve on what shows promise and discard the mistakes to expand their business.
08. MANAGE AND UTILISE YOUR TIME WELL
Most companies take time to get established, which means there will be periods when business is slower. The key is to make good use of that down time by networking, for example (depending on your situation):
- Entering a business plan contest for young entrepreneurs;
- Participating in trade shows or exhibitions;
- Tapping into the business community by joining a business organisation or professional association.
09. DON’T FEEL FRUSTRATED OR DEMORALISED BY MISTAKES
You are bound to come across mistakes and failures along your entrepreneurial journey. The important thing is to learn from mistakes and move on. Successful entrepreneurs don’t dwell on failure, curse their bad luck or blame other people for their difficulties.
If the path to your goal is blocked, look for an alternate path as a solution. Or, in some situations, you can choose a different goal which is more achievable.
10. GET THE RIGHT FUNDING
Funding is a crucial matter for a budding entrepreneur as most businesses require start-up income. The ideal situation is for this investment to help your business break even after a year, but there have been cases where successful businesses remain in debt for the first few years. Keep this in mind.
You can source for funding by applying for a small-business loan from a bank, tapping into your savings, money from other investments and borrowing from family or friends.
It is advisable to build an emergency fund to fall back on in the early months before you jump on your entrepreneurial journey. Three months of living expenses is a minimum target for a new business owner, but setting aside more will help ease your stress and allow you to focus more energy on your company.