Ask any entrepreneur how many businesses they failed at before becoming successful, and they will need a few minutes to think it over. That’s because most entrepreneurs have to go through quite a few business failures before they are fortunate enough to find a successful path. And when reviewing their past business ventures, they will find that identifying the reasons why most of their startups failed provides direction for future success.
If there was a way to sum up all of the possible mistakes that could be made when starting a business, there are 10 crucial lessons that consistently play a part in the demise of an entrepreneurial idea. Entrepreneurs at heart understand that being passionate about an idea and working at it with diligence is not enough to make it. The success of a business rests on the ability to overcome obstacles.
Here are 10 things every entrepreneur should do when starting a business:
Never Forget That You Need Balance
Your family is why you do what you do. Every early morning and late night you spend working on starting your business is a sacrifice made for the benefit of you and your family. They are a priority, and part of the reason you want to start the business is so that you have more freedom to spend more time with them – that is one of the perks of entrepreneurship. So even though it will be quite a struggle trying to balance a full time job, your business and your family, never sacrifice special or important moments with the ones you love when given the choice.
Learn How to Multi-Task
As a business owner, you will be wearing many hats. Some people will tell you to focus on what you are good at and leave the rest to the professionals. That will absolutely be true as you progress. But as the owner, you must have at least a basic level of knowledge about every aspect of your business. That means that you have to be competent at managing business – and people. This also requires that you are able to simultaneously perform multiple tasks and be attentive to various projects without losing sight of the overall goal.
Take the time to read books, listen to podcasts and attend webinars that strengthen your knowledge database. While education about your business will empower your success, do not limit your thirst for information on just those subjects. Read inspirational or leadership books to build an entrepreneurial mindset. Read finance and investment books to learn how to multiply your profits and expand your investment portfolio. Take business and project management courses online to enhance your ability to implement and execute ideas. All of these subjects, and more, will increase the longevity of your business because when something is not right in your business, you will be able to spot it out before it spirals out of control. Even more importantly, you will know how to fix it.
Finish What You Start
Part of being a business owner is exploring ideas. That means that not every idea will manifest into a profitable business, but they will each teach you lessons along the way. If in the end the business is not to your standard, it is important to see each idea all the way through. By finishing what you start, not only will you be forced to exhaust every opportunity which will uncover hidden resources, you will learn valuable lessons.
Protect Your Thoughts
Your mindset is vital to the success of your business. Just like how you work hard to protect your overall business, it is equally important to protect your mind. When business struggles become intense and overwhelming, overcoming the hurdle will require a positive attitude in order to push past the other side. It will be your mindset that will dictate a response to things not going your way. Not only should you expect things not to happen according to plan, you have to prepare internal thoughts as well as your influential surroundings to ensure that when those disruptions in your plan happen, you become a problem solver and not a disaster creator.
Nonetheless, during those moments when you almost feel defeated while evaluating your list of supposed failures, you have to find some sort of strength in you that reaffirms your ability to overcome the hurdle. Somewhere deep inside of you, a voice has to arise in order to remind you that will succeed. You have to be able to hear that voice, and you have to believe in yourself so that when you hear it, it resets your thoughts and you spring into action.
Do Not Listen to Negative Talk
If you have people around you who speak negatively about your circumstances while encouraging you to quit or give up, it is going to be hard to hear that voice and respond to it. Not only should you avoid talking to them or listening to those comments, you should avoid discussing your business with them. In fact, you should find like-minded entrepreneurs to mingle and converse with because they will encourage you and speak life into your business.
Start Your Day Earlier
As a business owner performing a multitude of positions in the company, you’ll find that there are not enough hours in a day to get everything done. To be productive and effective as an entrepreneur, you need to maximize your time management strategies, increasing your time and skills. That starts with getting up earlier in the morning so that you increase the number of hours you work per day. By getting five or six hours’ worth of work in before lunchtime, that will allow you to work an additional five or six hours afterwards in order to create a 10 or 12 hour workday – without having to stay up very late at night.
Plan Your Work Day the Night Before
Another way to get the most out of your work day is to plan your day the night before and maintain a to-do list that ensures that you are always aware of everything that needs to get done. By updating the list regularly and writing a new list for each day, not only will you be able to stay on top of everything in every area of your business, you will be able to track your progress and see when you are most productive while being able to identify exactly where you may have dropped the ball.
Learn to Delegate Tasks
Even if you work from 6 am to 10 pm each day, there is no way to accomplish everything by yourself. As a matter fact, if you do that, after a week or so, you will be completely unable to be productive and efficient because no one can sustain a working schedule this way. Besides, you do not want to go into business in order to become a slave to it.
Part of being the boss means you have the freedom to pay other people to handle certain tasks for you. Identify the tasks that others can handle for you, hire an assistant, and delegate those tasks to them. Over time, you can hire other professionals to perform tasks that will help you build your business, but save your energy strictly for the tasks that are directly related to earning a profit. That means focus your time on income-producing tasks and leave the busy work for others to complete.
Choose Your Partners Wisely
Just because someone is your friend or you are related to them doesn’t mean you should be business partners. In fact, it is a cardinal rule that you should never work with a friend or family member you care about. That’s because our personal relationships operate differently than our business relationships. And when you invite someone from your personal life into your business world, they can unfairly expect you to continue treating them like a friend or relative. As a business owner, it is a mistake to cater to their ego or your friendship. You are the boss, the manager, the payer of their check, not their friend.
Many successful entrepreneurs will agree friendship has no place in business because the first time you have to discipline them, both the friendship and the working relationship is damaged. So not only should you stray from working with friends or family, you should choose your partners based on their strengths, abilities and drive. You really only want the name of someone who can increase the productivity of you business appearing with your own on the company formation documentation.
All in all, starting a business is not an easy task to undertake. The journey is challenging and you should expect some things to not go as planned. That’s why you need to prepare yourself for the obstacles that stand in the way of your success. The key is to take the time to equip yourself with knowledge that will help you navigate those obstacles. That way, they can’t deter you from seeing your idea through to the end.