An entrepreneur’s lifeThe Power of Curiosity. Read more ... » can be a real roller coaster. Having started a few businesses in my careerHow To Make Wise Career Decisions. Read more ... », I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the hard-won experienceThe Power of Curiosity. Read more ... » I’ve learned throughout the process — the kindThe Most Important Reason People Fail in a New Job. Read more ... » of advice I wish I’d known when I started my first, or even second, business$20 for an air ticket? How African low-cost carrier fastjet does it . Read more ... ».
1. Don’t Underestimate a Business Plan
If you’re not seeking outside funding at the startTools to Start a Small Business. Read more ... », it’s tempting to forgo writing out a formal business plan. However, taking the timeThe Power of Curiosity. Read more ... » to write out your business plan, forecasts and marketing strategyMarketing Strategies for Small Business. Read more ... » is a particularly effective way to hone your vision. All planning should center around two essential questions: How is my business serving a particular needHow To Make Wise Career Decisions. Read more ... » or pain point, and does this represent a major market opportunity?
In addition, don’t overlook the exit strategy at the beginning. Do you want your children to take over the company? Do you want to sell it? It’s critical to think about these questions from the start, as the building blocks of your company (such as legal structure) should vary depending on your preferred final outcome.
2. Don’t Get Stuck in the Past
My husband and I launched our first online10 female tech founders to watch in Africa. Read more ... » legal document filing service10 female tech founders to watch in Africa. Read more ... » in 1997, and then re-entered the market with our second company in 2009. While our previous experience certainly gave us a leg up the second time around, we soon realized the market landscape had changed dramatically since our first company. We had to stop dwelling on previous competitors, customerMarketing Strategies for Small Business. Read more ... » needs and service expectations and write a brand new playbook.
The marketplace and your business plan are living entities; they’re continually in flux. Whether it’s your first company or fifth in a given market, you’ve got to keep asking: What do we need to do todayA Single, Simple Rule That Will Change Your Life. Read more ... »?
3. Don’t Hire Friends
I form bonds quickly and make fast friends with people around me. While I generally consider this a positive trait, it has created some difficult situations when running a business. At times I have been reluctant to let employees go even though I know it’s not a good fitHow To Find A Job You Love. Read more ... ». If things aren’t working out between an employee and startup, it’s time to put feelings aside and trust that the personThe Power of Curiosity. Read more ... » will find a better situation elsewhere.
Unfortunately, I’ve also learned that people can let you down, ranging from laziness to fraud. I still believe that faith in people is a good thing. However, blind faith can bring trouble.
4. Don’t Dive in Without a Plan
Just like the business plan, it’s critical to think through any initiative you wish to launch. When you’re in the midst of startup fever, it’s easy to get wrapped up with every new idea9 Big Marketing Ideas for Small Business. Read more ... ». However, be careful of losing focus. Moving forward is critical for any startup, and constantly switching directions can impede this forward progress. With each new idea, step back and think how it fits into your company’s overall goal and vision, then create a plan for how to make it happen.
5. Don’t Fall Into a Discount Trap
At the beginning, too many young companies feel the pressure to heavily discount their prices in orderNever Give Up, Great Things Take Time. Read more ... » to winHow to win in Africa: 5 lessons from successful companies. Read more ... » business. While customer acquisition is important, attracting customers at unsustainable priceTop 10 Most Expensive Domain Names. Read more ... » levels will just resultThe Power of Curiosity. Read more ... » in a race to the bottom. After all, raising your prices on goods and certain services can be a tricky proposition. I’ve learned that you’re better off in the long runDevelop Rock Solid Confidence In Your Ability To Succeed. Read more ... » focusing on how to bring more valueMake it your business. Read more ... » to customers, rather than simply slashing your prices.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Soccer coach Sven-Goran Eriksson once said, “The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” An entrepreneur’s path is uncharted and sometimes a little bumpy. It’s easy to get stressed or downright panicked, but you cannot let fear prevent you from followingA Single, Simple Rule That Will Change Your Life. Read more ... » your dreams. Think of it this way: the sooner you fail, the closer you are to discovering what works.
While you can’t guarantee the outcome of any new venture, you can stack the odds in your favor. These are six lessons I’ve learned over time and countless others are out there. If you’re open, you can gain wisdom from everythingWouldn’t you rather have your business looked like this. Read more ... » you try and gather insight from fellow entrepreneurs. What do you wish you knew when you started your first business?