Thinking of starting a business? Globally, more and more people are jumping on board to start their own businesses. Unfortunately, a few years later, a majority of entrepreneurs give up their dream venture for various reasons: they can’t find a way to make money or find any investors, the industry is too competitive, or they just can’t get enough traction in the market. However, most entrepreneurs don’t realize that failure typically stems from giving up too “soon.” They don’t see that entrepreneurship is a battle not only with their competitors but also within their inner self. In other words, you have to fight the battle with yourself.
That being said, you would probably have heard many entrepreneurs saying that starting a business involves having to face lots of small and big challenges. Indeed, entrepreneurship requires mind control, optimism, and tenacity. Therefore, it helps if know what entrepreneurship entails before you even write your business plan. Here isa list of five things you need to know before starting your own business.
1.Know the definition of failure in the realm of entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurs willingly accept and embrace failure, which is viewed not as an obstacle but as astepping stone to success. However, when you are starting a business for the first time, you might find yourself not being able to cope with failure very well. It does take time to get used to failure, especially if you’ve rarely experienced a major failure before. As an entrepreneur, you need to treat failure more lightly and view it as a mistake that anyone can make. When a mistake is made, most people learn from it and move on, making sure that they won’t make the same mistake again. Likewise, when you fail, what you need to do is to take out a piece of paper, write down a list of reasons why your business failed, and learn how to avoid making the same failure next time. Ask your mentor or other entrepreneurs about how you can improve. If you follow this solution, you won’t waste your precious time and energy blaming yourself or making yourself depressed.
2. Your previous work experience doesn’t really matter.
Your previous work experience can help you in somecases. For instance, when you’re looking to hire someone, you can tap into your network to help you find a talented employee. Your network can introduce you to a journalist, influencer in your market, investor, and so on. However, in most cases, I don’t see how your work experience can make you a better entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship requires different skill-sets because you have to work with scarce resources like a small team, a small office, or a small amount of money. Patience, persistence, and resilience will be more important than anything else. However, ifyou want to work for another company before starting your business, I suggest you work for a start-up company less than 2 years old. Otherwise, you won’t be able to learn much about how entrepreneurship works.
3. Don’t create a product just because “you” need it.
It’s usually a silly move to create a product or service that “you” want to use, because you may as well be the only one who needs it. Your friends and family might also tell you that it is a good product, but it is still not enough. Your focus should be on your target customers.Talk toyour target audience, observe how they think or live, and find out what they need most. That should be the starting point of your business model. Of course, you need to be passionate about what you are building, but do not build something just because you want it. Build something a lot of people need so that you can make an actual business out of it. Without money flowing in, it is not going to last.
4. Don’t be afraid of soliciting feedback.
It is very important to stay open to people’s feedback and opinions about your business. You need to figure out what people like and don’t like about your product. By doing so, you can simplify your business model and focus more on people’s needs. In addition, share your ideas with as many people as you can, because no one’s going to steal your ideas. Your ideas will also be modified and tweaked based on people’s feedback and reactions.
5. Build a revenue model from Day 1.
Even if you plan to offer your product for free at the beginning, you still need to build a revenue plan from Day 1. Research how your competitors make money and benchmark them. For instance, if you’re building a social game like I did, there can be many ways to monetize the product: virtual currency, virtual gift, subscription, advertising, and so on. You have to think about at least 3 possible options for monetizing your business so that once your business attracts enough users, you can pick one that fits your business best.
Bio: Emily is the co-founder of Funfundate, a social matching game dedicated to connecting people with like-minded singles nearby in a stress-free, fun way.
(Image credit: Flickr.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55260169@N07/5126107002/))