Starting your own business can be quite an intimidating idea, but there are a few things in particular that you should have in the back of your mind when going into business. Here are a few tips to help you start your journey and get on the right track.
- Do not underestimate the amount of time it will take to get to where you want to be. Whatever your assumptions are on how long it will take, more likely than not, it will take twice as long. Most people find failure or give up within the first few years because they do not see results right away. Unless you are one of the lucky few who create content that becomes viral overnight, it is all a waiting game. Empires are not built overnight, and those who understand that, and have patience, will be the ones to succeed. If you take a look at some of the most recognizable and successful companies, more than likely they are several years old. And although it can happen, it is rare to see a new company become super successful within the first year. The key to being a true business and entrepreneur is to never give up and not let the small defeats discourage you.
- Do not be afraid of help. People who offer help, want to help. It is a pretty true statement to say, people like helping other people. If you have the drive and motivation to become successful, those around you will see that and want to offer their help. Starting up any business, whether it be a software development agency, or something else, can be challenging, and you are more than likely not going to know everything. If someone offers help, let them help you. Pride is not something to let a new business owner get in the way, and it can make or break your new business if you are not open to help or outside opinions. In contrast however you must also be a self-starter, and capable of finding your own answers and solutions. When needed think outside the box and accomplish your goals in innovative ways, however when the opportunity of help presents itself do not be hesitant to say yes and accept the goodwill of another person. Often times people offer help because they want to develop a better relationship with you, leading to my next point.
- Your network is your net worth. Cultivate all relationships however you can. In a world of autonomy, customer service is everything. We all grew up hearing people say, it is about who you know and the relationships you build. Once you start your own business, that statement could not ring truer. This also goes hand in hand with accepting help. Positive people who want to see you succeed are some of the best relationships to build on. Support and help from those you have built a relationship with will be some of the most important relationships and building blocks for your new startup. Not only that, but your consumers are also some of the most valuable relationships. A happy customer means a happy business and a more than likely repeat customer. A lesson I learned early on was to never underestimate the value of a single relationship. At one point in time I found myself at a Wednesday morning breakfast networking event, and it was at this event that I met a very unassuming individual. My partner who attended the event with me was immediately eager to leave on arrival but I made it a point to take advantage of the potential relationships in the room and made sure to introduce myself to every single person in the room. This particular unassuming individual whom I met happened to reveal a week later that he worked for a major yacht manufacturer and that they were looking for what was at the time a potential project that was nearly 500% greater than any previous project the business had been working on. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A RELATIONSHIP, your network is your net worth.
- Innovate, innovate, innovate. Innovation and entrepreneurism are the natural checks and balance systems of the broader market. If you are not innovating, someone else is. Ask questions and challenge the system in place. The world’s technology is forever advancing, and at an exponential rate, if you do not keep up with the new tech and innovate, adapt, you can easily fall behind other competitors. The ones who can predict the future and keep with trends and new innovation are the ones who will find the most and easiest success. While technology is indeed moving quickly it is not quite the lightning rod of eccentric and rapid change it is sometimes perceived to be, and while the landscape is changing these are not overnight changes. You can predict that personal automobile ownership will trend downwards while ride-hailing, alt-transportation, and public transportation will uptrend. Some of these changes will not be as obvious but if you go looking for an opportunity in innovation more likely than not, you will not need to look too far.
- Listen to your customers and act. It is incredible how many businesses get this so fundamentally wrong. Some listen and do nothing, other take actions without validating them and end up with unsold product. Your customers are your lifeline adding the metaphorical blood to your organization that is revenue. Give them reasons to be passionate about your business and product, enable them to become advocates and evangelists. Investing time, energy, money and resources into customer success, feedback and validation may be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your business.
- Finally, remember that success is a mindset. You will never be successful unless you decide and choose to be successful. There is no benchmark or finish line or some distinguished point when you will be claimed as successful. You have to decide for yourself. In my opinion, anyone can be successful at whatever they do and it is only then that you can really be great at it. Think about this from the perspective of an employer. When you are interviewing a candidate you don’t want to hire someone who is portrayed as not successful, you want the most successful candidates out there. This ties to how you represent yourself as well as your mentality in the way you approach things. Start to think, “If I was successful how would I do this?”, and if you do it enough times it will not be something that is even a thought but a staple of your subconscious, propelling you forward, personally and professionally. The power of your mind and manifestation can take anyone a long way, especially when it comes to starting a business.
Now, of course, there are other things you will learn along the way, and speed bumps you will come across, on your journey to success. But those who are able to accept help, listen to others, adapt and grow, are the ones who will feel accomplished at the end of the day. These are just a few things to always keep in the back of your mind and to help give you that little push to get the ball rolling.
Via Sean Cosentino, CTO of The Kat Agency | @TheKatAgency