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Starting a business is exciting – and scary. I’ve started more businesses than I’d care to admit. Starting and stopping, I become scared, over-whelmed and in many cases, unsure of what my next step forward should be.
In my experience, it’s a bit like driving through a thick mist, like a heavy fog, where you are only able to see a few feet in front of your windshield, you don’t actually know what’s coming up ahead until it’s right there in front of you.
However, the longer you are an entrepreneur, the better you become at navigating and finding your way through the fog. I thought I would take what I have learned over the past few years and narrow it down to 10 of the biggest lessons I have learned. I’d say, you should consider these tips “stuff I wish I had known.”
1. Don't listen to statistics
People love to throw around the statistic that 95 percent of business fail. Don’t listen to that, it’s an excuse to make you feel comfortable about giving up.
2. Tough love
Just because you can cook doesn’t mean you should open a restaurant immediately. Make sure you have done ample research before opening up any sort of physical store/shop/restaurant.
3. If its broken, DO fix it
“It’s not working!” Guess what, everything IS working. You may just need to try something new, or different, or make some changes. Look at new avenues, do a bit more research, look at ways to innovate yourself. If you feel very passionate about what you do, don’t give up just because you feel it hasn’t worked.
4. Don’t expect immediate sales
If people don’t know you, and you have no credibility, why should they trust you and your business? Expanding your network of loyal customers takes time. You have to work hard at gaining trust from potential customers. Think freebies, tips and videos where they can associate your personality with your business. The market has greatly shifted from mass media to a personalised customer journey. So DO make sure customers feel like they unique and not just a number.
5. You are not going to know everything
In fact, you probably won’t know anything when you first start. Start anyway. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, that’s the quickest way to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to be wrong and to be open to listening.
6. Finish What You Start
Nearly every entrepreneur I know suffers from the same curse: we like to start things more than we like to finish them. In other words, if you are a good entrepreneur, you’ll have a lot of great ideas, most of them would probably work out well and make you a lot of money. However, that doesn’t mean you should pursue them. Pick one and go with it, don’t chop and change and remain focus at the task at hand.
7. Don't quit your job too soon
Yes, you’ll have more time to build your business, but let’s be honest, there are 168 hours in a week, only 40 are consumed by your job and another 50 by sleep. You have plenty of time if you would just hustle and turn off Netflix. Building a business takes sacrifices, so make sure you’re totally ready for that.
8. Your partner, children and family matter more than your business.
Don’t ever let that change, they will be your biggest support in the beginning and help you through some of your toughest days. So don’t ever compromise with them, they should always come before your business.
9. Read, a lot
If you don’t have time, listen to audiobooks. And not just business books. Read motivational books, self-help books, success books, remember, knowledge is power.
10. Try getting up a little earlier
Yes, you can, and you should. I don’t care if you are not a morning person. That’s an excuse lazy people use. Try it, it is life changing.