There are times when nearly all entrepreneurs wished someone had told them the secrets of how to start a business in the most efficient and effective way. Surely there is some formula that if followed will nearly guarantee at least a shot at success? What real life teaches is that every business venture brings its own set of challenges, and there is no formula that guarantees success. What there is though is the experiences and lessons of those business that came before and carved a path to success.
1. The Buck Stops Here
You are the chief executive officer, the president and vice president, the board of directors, the partner, the associates, the administrator and laborer of your business, and as such, your business must always be your first priority. There is no one who can cover for you while you figure out how to juggle your commitments.
2. Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses
You must be a brave commander-in-chief because being an entrepreneur will bring you face to face with your doubts and limitations, your excuses and justifications, your lack of organizational skills and your failed attempts at time management. If you can accept your weaknesses and learn how to make good use of your strengths, you will stand a better chance at continuing the process of success, as it can be a very slow process.
3. It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint
Patience and a well-funded budget should be considered a rule in the game of success, but both can wear mighty thin before your business gets off the ground. Odds are, you have set aside enough money to sustain you for a set amount of months or even years, yet no matter how diligent your plans, odds are your piggy bank will bottom out at some point in the journey and your patience will nose-dive straight into the void that is your financial cushion. There isn’t some magic time period in which you have to become successful, so make sure you really love what your business, because you are going to really want it to be worth the struggle you are probably going to face.
4. Cash-Flow Is King
Maintain a stream of income, no matter how well-prepared you think you are. Creating a stream of income, be it from a part-time job or offering services based on a skill you have but don’t necessarily want to use as a career. This secondary income can help keep your financial stress to a minimum so you can focus on your business.
5. Mind Over Matter
Learn how to step past your insecurities and doubts, and quiet that little, inner voice that seems determined to criticize you into failure. As an entrepreneur you have to know how to shut that voice off and continue to work towards progress while maintaining objectivity and ambition.
6. Time Is Your Most Valuable Commodity
Your time is money and money provides the entrepreneur with control, so use your time wisely. Don’t get sidetracked by research, little details, and interruptions like email, text messages, and social media. Set realistic daily goals that keep you moving forward, but remember to schedule in some breaks so you can refresh your brain and body before starting a new task. You will have to complete boring and tedious tasks on a regular basis, so be sure to schedule them as priority items that you complete first thing during your work day, which will reduce your daily stress load.
7. Keep Your Business Visible
You must continually work on your marketing strategies and tactics, while studying and analyzing advertising and promotion campaign effectiveness. Sure, tools like Google Analytics makes evaluating keyword strength easy, but only if you understand the principals of analytics and keyword efficacy. Learn everything you can about marketing and don’t be afraid to be creative in how you apply what you learn. The best teacher will be experience.
8. Minimize The Incoming Clutter
Learn when to say no and when to say yes, and how to manage everything in between. As soon as you go live online you will begin receiving inordinate amounts of email, direct mail, and even marketing calls. Organize your daily agenda to include a set period of time for returning these communications. Once you are able to organize your daily schedule, you will find it easier to be objective when taking on new clients or completing an administrative task.