The most important questions before you read further is, are you really sure you want to start your own Business (Entrepreneurial ) venture? First, read and know enough about the pros and cons of about starting on your own and then take a decision, and then stick to it until completion.
The secret of success in starting up a business is simpler than what people make it out to be. But many interpret it incorrectly; they begin with the wrong intentions, wrong expectations and sometimes an ego that ensures their failure.
If you are looking at being a successful entrepreneur, these are a few skills you’ll need, some of which you probably already have and of those which you don’t, its time you brush on them. The best part is that you don’t need to join a business school to learn these skills.
1. The Unquenchable Desire
Most importantly, you really have to ‘Want’ it, because this alone will motivate you to push forward, help stay there and reach the top. There is nothing or nobody else that can motivate you better than yourself’. Especially, when everything around you will appear to be happening in exactly the way you don’t expect it to happen. You need to be really passionate about what you’re doing.
2. Are your Intentions Correct?
If you primary intention is to make a lot of money, let me give you the bad news – you are going to Fail. Your intention should be correctly focused, to provide a solution to an existing problem and not making money alone. Of course you’re doing this to make money, eventually. But remember, money is a by-product and not the main focus. You come out with an excellent solution to a problem and people will love you, your product and your company for it and they will shell out money on you.
3. Learn to be Likable
I believe this is the most important and powerful skill any business man/women can have. People love to do business with people they like, and if you master this skill there is nothing that can stop you from being successful. You have to become a person that somebody wants to meet and not the one that makes people run! If they like you, they will call you, they will want to do business with you. You’re already a winner, doesn’t even matter if your competitor is offering a much lower rate than you are.
4. Don’t Kill your Ego but Learn to be Humble
Being humble goes a long way – you are more open to learning new things, accepting mistakes and making corrections. While you still need to have an Ego to be able to say in the mirror ‘Nothing can ruin me’, you need to be humble enough to correct a mistake or call a client that yelled at you yesterday.
5. Read, Learn and Implement
The Internet is filled with information that grows daily, there are books and sites that offer great wisdom (then there is this site – jonahramball.com, that offers great tips and inspiration 😉 ). You need to read regularly, update yourself on the latest technologies, strategies, laws, ideas etc. But, beyond that you have to be able to implement what you have learned. Otherwise, all this wisdom is a waste.
6. You might dislike the word ‘Discipline’, but that’s the Secret Ingredient
This is probably the most difficult ones to digest, but if you have decided to start your own business, this is one open secret that you will require the most to become successful. There is no one to manage you, you decide how you spend your time and you’re not going to be able to accomplish even a single task unless you have the discipline to do it. You have to be disciplined to get up early and sit and start work. Even, if you are starting up while continuing your current job. You will require a lot of discipline to be able to come back from work and sit and work on your own setup. It’s very easy to lose track and procrastinate if you’re not disciplined. Enough said, you have to be disciplined.
7. Learn to Manage Time
Again this goes with discipline, you will have to develop the skills to manage your time. What time you get up, what time you sit for work, how much time you intend to spend doing a particular task and time allotted for meetings. While ensuring that you are giving enough time to family and yourself. Starting on your own has the advantage of doing things the way you want it. But, it as easy to lose track and waste a lot of time and in the process not accomplishing much.
8. Listen to your Heart, than your Mind and then Evaluate
The best answers for any problem comes from within. Once you have your answer put in a little rationalization with your mind, but not too much as our mind has the tendency to confuse us more than being helpful. Then evaluate your decision and take it.
9. You might be an Introvert, But you will need to Change
This is very important for people who believe that they would rather spend time doing work in the comfort of their office/room rather than going out and networking with others. Unfortunately, you might end up missing a lot of business opportunities that could come from your networks. Business men/women have to go out and meet other business people. As a popular coffee shop’s tag line states – A lot can happen over a cup of coffee.
10. Start a Business that you Really Like Doing
This is fundamental and very easy to overlook, you might want to start a business in the fields that you have been working for several years. But, in reality you really don’t enjoy that field. If you start a business in this field you might make it successful, but you will never find satisfaction. You rather weigh your options, see what you really enjoying doing and explore a business opportunity in that field, not only will you be successful but you will be happy.
11. Plan your Business and Write down the Business Plan
Once you are sure about the business your starting, it imperative that you plan out your business (doesn’t matter how small or big) and ‘Write down the business plan’. Planning your business will give you a better understanding of your own business, the market requirement and the competitive advantage you have, the potential client base, the possible growth path, the overall potential of the business and most importantly the viability of the business. Planning is one thing, but when you write down your plan, there’s a greater possibility you will follow/implement the plan. Your Business Plan might not be 100% accurate, but it does not have to be, nobody gets it right the first time and you will need to review the plan regularly and make necessary changes to it. But having a written plan is like a map, you’re less likely to get lost.
12. Set your Short-term and Long-term Goals
It might make sense to you to set short-term goals, but find long-term goals pointless at the initial stage. In fact, it is as important to set long-term goals as the short ones, simply because you know where your heading, you know the distance you have to go and can measure short-term goals more accurately. It also helps to keep in-track and strategize well in advance. Also, ensure that you always aim higher than what in reality is achievable; this will make you push harder and create a great sense of achievement – when you are able to beat these higher targets.
13. Get your Math Right
Even if you hated Math in school, it’s time to do some learning. Several people are not very comfortable when it comes down to the numbers. However, it’s equally important to know your numbers, as it to be able to come out with a great product and being able to sell it. Not knowing you numbers can also lead you to big troubles. It’s never too late to learn, pick up some good book on finance – financial planning, terminology, business economics etc.
14. Learn to Wear Multiple Hats (you will have to, even if you really don’t like to)
Starting your own business means you sometimes will have to be the boss and sometimes the office boy and possibly all the other job titles at some stage or the other, at least till you can start hiring. And even if you can hire in initial stages, it’s better to play a role in each function in the initial stages, there will be a lot of learning and you will be able to better mentor new employees when you are ready to grow.
15. Ignore What’s Not Going to Help You
When you start something new, especially when it’s slightly away from the natural ‘norms’ of society (that you have to be in a 9-5 job) or if you come out with a product that stands away from people’s understanding of its current design norm. People will be more than happy to criticize you and your products. Remember, there is nothing as creative criticism! There is criticism and there is feedback, learn to identity between the two. Consider the feedback, ponder upon what makes sense and take corrective measures, ignore the rest – you will be much happier and encouraged that way. Starting a business is like a fish swimming upstream, you will have to face a lot of opposite forces but at the end there is calm and productive water.
16. Failure is Not the End, it’s a Step in the Right Direction
Great people have had their meeting with failure in the earlier stages of their career. They have learnt from these failures and taken corrective measure, so be prepared in-case things go wrong initially, you shouldn’t be caught surprised and get disheartened. It’s easy to quit and takes a lot of courage to gather your wits and begin all over. But for those who keep trying, success is certain and the rewards are great.
17. Be Persistent and Patient
I could keep on repeating this till it is embossed in your head! Despite failures, delays you have to be persistent in your endeavors and most importantly carry on patiently. People have a tendency to quit to quickly even before they see the result and they usually miss out on great opportunity. It’s like climbing a hill, the hardest climb is just before you reach the top, but once you’re there, the beauty of being there is worth all the trouble you had to take while climbing.
18. Learn to Live
Yes, you read it correctly, learn to live, if you keep the above points in mind and go about your business you will definitely be successful. But, you shouldn’t stop living just because you have to reach your goal. There is no point of becoming successful, and not having lived at all. Because, by the time you reach your long-term goals you might have set new goals and in the bargain you might have sacrificed living your life. Before you know it, you’ll be gone and somebody else will be enjoying the fruits of what you have labored for. While you never even got to taste them. Pointless!
19. Spend time with your family
Your family and relationships are your greatest asset and not your money or your business. Money and businesses can be rebuilt but not your family. You wife will not remain thirty and your little girl/boy won’t be four years old for the rest of their life. It’s better to appreciate them while it’s that way! For anything, don’t miss out on them.
20. Remember God
I hope your answer wasn’t ‘God who?’ You might toil very hard and sacrifice everything you have, to be successful. But in the end it’s God who’ll get you there, and without him you’ll never find satisfaction even if your business is successful. Give him first place in your life and you’ll see success chasing you, rather than the other way around.