15 invaluable tips for wannabe Entrepreneurs
1. Find your passion
Startups can be quite a grind, so pick something that excites and motivates you. Avoid businesses or industries that you don’t already know a good deal about, as the steep learning curve may hamper your success. They say if you do something you love and get paid for it, the work will never feel like a job.
2 Build the experience and knowledge
Experience counts, and almost every entrepreneur started working for someone else gaining great experience. So when your ambitions son or daughter is slaving each day making someone else rich which seems counter unintuitive to the ‘get rich’ mantra, ask them what experience they are trading for their time that they can improve on and make themselves wealthy.
3. Do you solve a problem?
Make sure to carefully research if there’s a big market for your product or service. Investors will typically only invest in your company if they see a large market opportunity and that the company has the potential to grow into something significant.
Market research costs businesses Billions each year in trying to find out what people want, and what problem they can solve, ask as many people as you can if they agree with you about the need for your product or service, research often leads to improvements and angles you never thought of.
4. Raise funding
It’s almost always harder and takes longer to raise startup financing than you think. You must ensure you have a cushion for all the product development and marketing expenses you will incur. In an ideal world, you will have sufficient capital for your operations to break even.
Don’t worry about diluting your percentage ownership in the company. Developing a great product takes time and money. Like anything, it is always the last investor you asked who will be interested, the 99 who broke your heart before the one that did will not matter then, just keep asking, how badly do you want to be successful? If you managed to get a few friends interested first this shows acumen to Angel investors later.
.5. Constantly monitor your finances
The biggest reason any startup fails is because they ran out of money, simple as!
You must keep on top of all of your expenses, income and balance sheet. Many startups have failed because the entrepreneur wasn’t able to adjust spending to avoid running out of cash.
Paying yourself a salary and the wife who buys crazy stuff like food and pays the school fees and rent must be reigned in! Yeah I know it is a massive challenge balancing domestic V business.
Try to maintain a Bootstrap budget until meaningful revenues start to flow in. Think”
Do I want it or need it- 2 different things!
6. Research the competition
Make sure you are thoroughly researching competitive products or services in the marketplace, and keep on top of new developments and enhancements from your competitors.
One way to do this is to set up a Google alert to notify you when any new information about your competitors’ shows up online. It is a massive part of your business plan to show what your unique selling points are.
Remember it is always easier and more effective to build on what makes you different, than trying to battle other businesses head on over the same ‘me to’ product or service.
7. Ask for advice from successful people
Advice from other entrepreneurs and business professionals (such as lawyers and accountants) can prove to be invaluable. Consider putting together an advisory board, and don’t be afraid to motivate members by giving them stock options in your company. Read industry newsletters and startup publications.
Networking and Mastermind clubs are all really helpful to get advice and motivate yourself. It can be very lonely at the top so a good shoulder who knows what you are going through is massive!
8. Develop a succinct elevator pitch
You should have a precise and compelling story about what your startup does and what problem it solves. Have this ready for potential customers and investors (although you will need to tailor it to the specific audience). Keep it to 30 seconds or less.
What works for us is when asked what we do we just say “We get business exposure online,” that is it, you would not believe the time we save at networking, if the person says; “hmm thanks,” and politely moves on, you have saved yourself 20 minutes trying to sell to someone who does not need what you offer.
If on the other hand they say; “Tell me more,” then give your 30 second pitch and be customer centric, how what you do helps them. It is about listening to their response as much as it is giving your pitch.
9. Hire the right people
Hiring the wrong people is one of the biggest mistakes made by first-time entrepreneurs. You need to bring on employees who have the relevant background and experience. They need to fit into the company culture you are trying to build.
They need to be versatile and flexible to understand how startups operate, how you are evolving and thrive in this environment. And trust you enough to know their efforts will be rewarded when you go IPO!
10. Never stop networking
Networking can land you a new investor, a great employee, a new customer, or a great mentor. Attend industry and startup events.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to help you network, so make sure both you and your company have profiles on LinkedIn and that you are constantly adding new connections. When someone does a Google search on you, your LinkedIn profile will usually show up at the top of the search results, so be sure you’re making a good first impression.
You should be consistently doing blogs and press releases that come from the top, never let your eye off the ball when it comes to your bran message!
11. Give great customer service
Companies such as Zappos and Virgin America became hugely successful because they focused on providing excellent customer service and support. You want your early customers to give referrals and sing your praises to their friends and colleagues. Thank your customers personally by email. Go the extra mile to show your appreciation.
You have to discount a lot in the beginning to find your brand ambassadors, but make sure they understand why they are getting such a good price from you and extol you everywhere.
.12. Get comfortable with public speaking
The ability to communicate effectively can be critical to landing customers, inspiring employees, and pitching to investors to raise capital. Most people are not very good at public speaking and many are even afraid of it. You must work to overcome this fear. Consider working with a public speaking or business coach to practice, get professional feedback and improve.
Once you are passionate about something you will speak freely and powerfully and this goes back to the passion you need to be an entrepreneur.
13. Failure to launch will cost you big
Take a tip from Microsoft, their money is in never being perfect, each year they have a new offering to sell to their billions of customers, making the first offering just atrocious when you think about it!
Don’t dawdle on getting your product out to the market, as early customer feedback is one of the best ways to help improve it. As Reid Hoffman, venture capitalist and co-founder of LinkedIn, said: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
14. Advice for first-time entrepreneurs: Just do it!
There is never a perfect time to launch a startup, so follow that famous advice and “just do it.” Take the first step to building your business, even if it’s only part time while you still have a paying job. Learn as you go!
15. Market your business and never stop!
You continually have to be attracting, building, and even educating your market. Make sure your marketing strategy includes the following.
Build your brand and that means getting seen as much as you possibly can, everywhere you can eyeballs mean business!
- Build a professional-looking, up-to-date website.
- Learn the fundamentals of SEO (search engine optimization) so that people searching for your products and services might find you near the top of search results.
- Use social media to promote your business (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Tik Tok etc.).
- Engage in content marketing by writing guest articles for relevant websites.
- Issue press releases for any significant events.
- Make sure you are registered on all the top business directories like leads4biz
- And of course always be dressed to impress!
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