Everyone wants to own a business that will make them the next Forbes billionaire. But if it was easy then everyone would be doing it, so we know that’s not the case. The truth is: Becoming a successful entrepreneur is hard. Over 66% of startups fail within the first year.
However, if you feel like you have what it takes, if you’re willing to fail and you’re willing to learn, here are some important tips to help you become a successful entrepreneur.
Ask For Advice
Surround yourself with smart and successful people who are willing to share their knowledge and experience. Search for a mentor. The most successful entrepreneurs all mention having mentors who were invaluable to their success.
When you reach out to entrepreneurs for advice it is good to have a few questions ready.
The following questions are a good start, but feel free to modify them to fit your own situation:
- What would you do differently if you had a chance to start your business all over again?
- What were some of the biggest challenges as you started your business that you wish someone had warned you about in advance?
- What aspects of my business should I focus most of my energy in the next 6-months?
- What key performance indicators should I look at to evaluate the progress I am making with my business?
Let Someone Else do the Work
Successful entrepreneurs know how to delegate. Use the skills and knowledge of your team members to get things done, that’s why you brought them in. Delegate the task to the best person for the job. Hire the best developers and designers for branding and to improve your online presence if you need to.
If you are unsure what tasks to delegate, here is a short list:
- Simple tasks – If you can train someone to perform a task in less than an hour, it should be outsourced or delegated immediately.
- Repetitive tasks – If you are answering the same or similar questions through email, hire a VA to respond to support emails.
- Time consuming tasks – This is a tricky one. There are time-consuming tasks that you should not outsource such as networking with potential strategic partners. But, designing your own website when you are not a web designer should be outsourced to an expert.
Move On from Your Mistakes
Don’t expect to be infallible as an entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs have all made major mistakes as part of their journey. What sets a them apart is their ability to admit the mistake, learn from it, and become even better.
It’s easy to be tempted by an offer or an opportunity even when you know it’s not the right fit for your company. If you hang on, the right opportunity is likely to be right around the corner.
Sounds easy, but just ask yourself what needs to be accomplished in the next two weeks, one month, six-months for your business. Probably a lot. Planning is hard but it works. Use lists to track your progress and help prepare new goals.
Task lists work best when you:
- Set actual deadlines.
- Assign a person responsible for accomplishing a goal.
- Keep people accountable.
Build Professional Relationships
I have interviewed over 160 entrepreneurs. The importance of networking is a common theme entrepreneurs have shared with me. Your networking ability can make or break your business. You may think minor relationships don’t matter, but they can become priceless down the road. The tweet you respond today could turn into a strategic partnership in the future. Network is doable even if you are an introvert.
Keep up a Social Presence
Success is directly related to your accessibility, availability and ongoing presence on and offline. Connect with your community by using a variety of social platforms. This will help capture as many potential customers as possible and ensure your brand is recognizable. The key with social media is to have a strong presence where your customers hang out instead of trying to be everywhere.
Communicate With Customers and Employees
To be a successful entrepreneur you need positive customer and employee interactions. Whatever your business, it’s critical for you to be aware of customer issues and your company’s response. You need to communicate with your employees so they have the information they need to market your products and services effectively.
Kindness is Strength
Success is not apathetic. Giving back to your community is a sign of business strength.
Don’t Procrastinate, Ever
Do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. A large majority of failed businesses list wasted time as a contributing factor.
Business Books are your Friend
Open your horizons and find new opportunities where you don’t expect to by staying current with the latest business related books and publications. Switch off your TV and grab a great book.
Recognize Your Worth
Your skills and those of your employees are your biggest assets, remember what they’re worth even as you accumulate more traditional assets over time.
When asked about their success top entrepreneurs listed listening skills 92% of the time. When you’re actively listening (as opposed to waiting for your turn to talk) you’re guaranteed to learn more. Not to mention the appreciation you’ll earn from customers and team members who feel they’ve been heard.
Keep up with the Market
A successful entrepreneur studies the competition. Keep up with market trends, and whatever else is applicable to your business.
Find your passion, make it your business, and give it 100%.
Take Time Off
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. You don’t want to be dull in a world of competition. Take time away from work to be totally focused when your there.
The Beauty is in the Details
Keep an “eagle eye” over everything that’s going on with your business. Make sure you have the right experts to clarify anything you don’t fully understand.
Set (and Keep) Deadlines
Don’t miss deadlines, even if it means you’re up for days. Working without deadlines is like sailing rudderless in the business world.
Put People Before Money
Money follows a loyal customer base, your reputation and your loyalty. Put these things first.
Get your hands dirty. 47% of startups fail when owners leave others to run the show.
Images “Word entrepreneur from the old dictionary, a close up/ Shutterstock.com“
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