Learn about entrepreneurship lessons straight from the experts
Starting a business is considered to be an uphill task. While majority of the young minds want to venture into entrepreneurship, they are hesitant to do so. Reason – The initial steps of starting a business is unknown.
It is this vagueness of idea, the fear of the unknown or failure that prevents many from taking that crucial first step. Moreover, many find starting a business an overwhelming process in the mistaken belief that they have to start from scratch. The thinking is: I’ll have to come up with a product/service no one has ever done before - then only will my business survive.
However, experts believe that starting a business is not always reinventing the wheel. Rather business entrepreneurs should focus on business growth. Example - How can I improve on my business? or Can I deliver this service better from the other competitors?
Read further as I bring for you, six easy lessons to get your business up and running:
1. Do something that you are passionate about
Diego Echeverri 32 launched the Washington, D.C.-based neckwear company Bull+Moose. With a strong army background, he chose a business which he is passionate about. Also the emphasis was to choose an industry where he could apply the skills developed during the military days. Apart from self-discipline and polite deferential manner, his army experience also helped him in designing the menswear. After all, all these years he had been wearing the uniform and knew how to dress well.
Lesson learnt: Choose a business that you are passionate about. To ensure that you remain committed throughout the years, choose a work that you enjoy doing.
And how do you do that?
- Take out a sheet of paper. List five to seven things about yourself--things you like to do and are really good at.
- List things that you don't think you're good at or don't like.
- Examine what you like and dislike about your work.
- Note down the traits people like and dislike about you.
- List three to five products or services that would make your life easier or efficient.
- Based upon the answers given to the above-mentioned points, determine the line of your work.
- Remember, to only invest in a business when you are completely sure.
2. Search for the problem
Many years back, Irvine, California, a business area did not have many fast-food restaurants. Although the strip centers had a few food courts, the parking lots were really small, much to the inconvenience of people. Result: most business professionals had to trek across the town for lunch.
Pondering over the plight that disturbed many, two young men in Irvine came up with a brilliant idea: restaurant delivery business. Today, reportedly their business has served more than 15 million people! It's one of those unique businesses which are not complicated. In spite of stiff competition, they had been doing phenomenally well.
Lesson learnt: The inspiration for business ventures/new business division can come from what's around you – from the state of things you observe or live in. Just like these two professionals listened to their frustrations and decided to do something about it, similarly you can do the same too. Listening to your family, friends, colleagues and customers’ problems can make you discover hidden opportunities.
Unearth interesting opportunities from just looking around or reading. Say: you come across an aspect that’s missing in your target area; see how you can solve it in the lieu of your own business growth and expansion.
3. Do not hesitate to take risk
Dale Katechis, founder and owner of Longmont, Colo.-based Oskar Blues Brewery launched the line of mountain bikes, Reeb. Within just a few years, Katechis sold a whopping number of Colorado-built bikes.
While many have taken his decision (of moving from nation's most successful craft breweries to a startup bike industry) an imprudent one, he has had a different explanation to give. Paraphrasing his words - The startup is the best part of the entrepreneurial process where there is the liberty to just creating. From ground up you build up a company and solve problems. Oskar Blues beer was built up on many mistakes. With Reeb cycles, there’s an equally high level of risk. However, I have taken it because I believe in the concept.
Lesson Learnt: It’s important that you believe in your ideas and are willing to experiment. If you really want to carve a niche in this super-competitive environment, you cannot afford taking the safe road all the time. With a clear concept combined with a thorough planning you can do what is unexpected. After all the success of any startup rides on a clear vision of what the company is and wants to be, with a precise strategy to realize that vision.
4. Write your business plan
Most of us think – I’ve got the business idea in my head, do I really need to write it out? The answer is Yes!
An example of a business entrepreneur who followed the old-school approach (i.e. writing things on a paper) is Sean Hackney. He is the co-founder of Roaring Lion Energy Drink which is quite popular in bars and nightclubs.
In his words – ‘’ Writing a business plan was absolutely worthwhile. I had a lot of stuff in my head that required to be put on paper."
Corroborating this further is Professor William B. Gartner. According to a survey conducted by him, writing a business plan greatly increases the success ratio of a business entrepreneur. Ideally, they do more stuff and are two and a half times more likely to be productive.
Tip: Do not opt for a too lengthy business plan – I mean not more than 20 to 40 pages. Keep the plan in detail but precise.
5. Prioritize your initial buyers
Every business entrepreneur prioritizes upon his first customers. Nothing wrong in that – however, the perception that encourages them to do this is partially correct. Understand your first buyers are not just the ones who will turn on the revenue spigot for your business. They play an integral role in legitimizing your business idea. Based upon their purchase, you can calculate the actual size and potentiality of your target market.
Not to forget, the valuable feedback that they provide can do great wonders in improving your business.
Tip: Convert positive customer feedback into testimonials. Placed whether on your company website or in your store – it will definitely act as your business USP.
6. Consolidate your business system
There cannot be a bigger roadblock to your business growth and success than multiple discrete systems working in parallel. Imagine the redundancy of work that your employees have to do, trying to string together the data silos. Not to forget the time required to create or troubleshoot system integration, and incur the annual upgrade issues.
A business process management solution like a CRM can be a huge timesaver in the above-mentioned scenario. Functioning as a broad application (as opposed to more discrete or best of breed systems which have to be cobbled together), CRM software streamlines your sales, marketing and customer service activities. Moreover, most of the renowned CRM systems come up with a host of third-party app integrations which allows you to efficiently manage other tasks within your CRM without duplicating work.
So be it sending e-mails to your business associates or conducting online meeting with your prospects across the globe, you can do all and much more through CRM software
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @convergehub