Just like leaders, entrepreneurs are not always born into it, they work hard for it. Do you ponder on ideas on how to create a solution to common problems? Couple that with an entrepreneurial mindset, which begins with asking questions like ‘how can I create value and make revenue out of this?’ and you’ve got yourself a simple recipe to create a business. It all starts with recognizing telltale signs of a rising entrepreneur.
When I was first starting out in my career, I knew that I eventually wanted to start my own business. At the time however, I thought it would be something I did after I retired as sort of second career. Never did I think that I would take the leap as the mom of two toddlers and the primary breadwinner. But I made it happen and couldn’t be happier! There are lots of things which I wish I had known sooner when I was starting out in my new business.
I’ll share some of what I learned with you.
#1 Shine Your Light! Having Ambition Is A Good Thing
Ambitious people believe that there is nothing they can’t achieve through dedication and hard work. They somehow realize that a bright future lies ahead, and they strategically pursue that career. If you have decided that you deserve more from life, it may be because something remarkable is within your reach.
Read about success stories of entrepreneurs and great leaders and you will find that having big ambitions is something they all have in common. It’s an instant feel-good moment, once you read about people you look up to, how they struggled at first, and conquered their hurdles towards success. You can relate to them more since you know for a fact that they went through the same thing you did.
Ambition: CHECK. Now let’s proceed to something more direct, something closer to your soul and your heart: a VISION. This is what wakes you up every day, day dreaming about the reaps of your hard work and ambition. This is the picture in your head that will keep you going when it seems like it’s impossible. Close your eyes and slowly start to imagine how you want your business to be. What details do you see? Here’s how you can develop a vision.
#2 The #1 Way To Develop A Vision
No matter what others say, deep inside you, there is a sweet little tone that tells you to go ahead. Harsh criticism cannot dishearten high achievers because they believe in themselves and the future of their vision. If you are always driven by your unique vision and are capable of turning criticism into your fuel, then you have a very important characteristic of a business owner.
A good vision for a business starts by dreaming the impossible.
Start with a dream so big that just the thought of it excites you. Keep your eyes on the prize, always. Remain focused on your vision and while there will be times when other people might bring you down, you can practice letting go of negativity and remaining aligned with your goal. Make a vision board – a collage filled with quotes, photos, targets, goals related to your business. Make sure you place it somewhere you will see it every day. Be reminded of your dream every day so that all steps, no matter how little, will lead to achieving that goal.
All set with your vision? Then let’s proceed to reality. Reality makes your vision tangible and attainable. It creates the possibilities and opportunities, too. However, reality is sometimes painful. It is through these pain points that we are forced to find solutions. Are you up for the challenge to find opportunities in problems?
#3 Do This And You Will Endure In Business: Find Opportunities In Problems
You may want to launch your own business if there is a lack of opportunity within your chosen area. If things are not going well, it is a good idea to stop wasting your time on a product with flaws and try something new. That’s where you can innovate and grow your new business. Think of it this way: if you see something as a problem or inconvenience, then you’re likely not the only person who does.
No matter how absurd a problem or a solution to a problem may be, you will still have a market for it. Find a niche; this is a good opportunity to gather people with the same problem and present a solution. Gather data through surveys and research to find out if there are common areas that you can use as a starting point for your business. These common areas will allow you to address the customer’s problems and turn them into a product or service your audience can use. Ask them what they would do, what they would change. Their input is still the best ingredient to formulate the best solution and opportunity.
Who can honestly say that he or she isn’t afraid of anything or anyone? I honestly don’t think there could be anyone without any fear or doubt for anything. The same goes for business. Your MBA will not completely erase the fear of the unknown in running a business. Your years of experience, no matter how significant, will not ‘bulletproof’ you from doubts and hesitations. The important thing to know is that IT’S OKAY. My last job before starting my own career was working for a startup. I thought this experience would tell me everything I needed to know about running my own business. How wrong I was! I’ve learned so much since venturing out on my own.
#4 Business Is A Journey: Do Not Be Scared Of The Unknown
Launching a new business is like accepting a challenge. People who are scared of the unpredictable cannot shine, because they are too timid to take risks. If you feel stuck and stifled in a monotonous job and wish to embrace uncertainty, you should try your hand at a business of your own. Even if you like your job and enjoy what you do, you may still want to consider starting your own business. That’s what I did, you could start part-time and grow from there. There is something about the freedom of making all of your own decisions that cannot be replaced.
If you remain scared of the unknown, you will never know what lies ahead for you and your business. Take the first step. It’s always the most difficult, and it is for a reason. It’s a simple test of whether you’re willing and able to leave your comfort zone, but, without taking this risk, you can never turn the dreams of your business into reality. Leave your comfort zone. It may be difficult for some to do because of the stability this ‘zone’ offers but remember that you can only reap the huge rewards for this challenge if you accept it. As a business owner, you will spend a lot of time exploring the world outside of your comfort zone, but it is well worth the journey!
Take time building the WHYs of your business. This includes the WHYs of your decision to go into business in the first place, along with your customers WHYs and how you can help them to solve their problems. When you have a solid foundation, it will easily translate into good products and services. This is very fulfilling as well because you are sharing with others what you believe in. When you feel satisfied and happy from the inside, it easily translates into the products you create and the services you provide.
After all the hard work and challenges that come with planning to put up your business comes its rewards. Think of your schedule daily when you were an employee. How many hours do you spend in the office? How about getting to work and coming home? With all the stress and pressure, how many hours of sleep do you get? You see, you’re limited to so little time when you’re an employee. And this is where ‘being your own boss’ makes a difference. When I was working in corporate America, I was spending 70+ hours a week doing work-related stuff. Commuting, getting ready, and meetings, etc. I was seeing my children five hours total each Monday-Friday and I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I loved my work and colleagues, but I hated the time away from my family.
#5 Two Ways To Work At Your Own Pace
One of the most important benefits of being your own boss is that you can work at your own pace. The vast majority of entrepreneurs are more productive when their deadlines are flexible. For example, if you are a night owl, you are not likely to perform well in a regular nine-to-five job. If you do not like being guided by others all the time, you can consider starting a business.
- Our working patterns are not uniform – We are not all working optimally at the same hours of the day; we all have different spikes of creativity and efficiency. To take advantage of this, find out when you are most productive and then build your daily schedule with this pattern in mind. You will notice a difference in your efficiency instead of forcing yourself to fit into a nine-to-five schedule. This might take you some time. It took me more than a year to finally kick all my 9 to 5 habits.
- Don’t let your work consume you fully – Fit into your schedule a workout, time to read, or spend with your family; balance is key to everything. Working at your own pace means you have time for mental and physical wellness.
Picture this: After years of hard work and patience, you have now spent years building a business that’s an extension of who you are. But eventually, you have to retire. You have to leave years’ worth of blood, sweat, and tears into the hands of a new generation of leaders who will run your business. What legacy would you think you’d leave? How do you want them to remember you and your business by?
#6 Two Passionate Ways To Create A Legacy
If you want to leave a legacy, one of the best ways to do that is to build a business from the ground up and make it sustainable enough to outlast you. Set up your business in such a way that it can run on its own. In the future when you will not be there to run the business, your children will reap the benefits of your labor.
- Build solid roots and foundation – Make sure it’s strong enough to endure any a financial crisis, changes in times and trends, and changes in management. To make your business strong you need to start with a sound vision and mission. Your business should be forward-, and you need to ensure that you are not only addressing momentary problems.
- If you want to leave a legacy, then you need to involve competent and trustworthy
partners and employees – Make sure they understand and share the mission you have for your company. It’s important to have people like them in case something happens, so that they can take over and you can trust that they will love the business as much as you do.
No man is an island. And let’s face it: success is sweeter when you celebrate it with other people. People who have helped you create and nourish the business from ground up. Years from now, who you pick as a partner today WILL matter. Do you know what you should look out for in a partner? What characteristics do you have that will go harmoniously well with a partner?
#7 How To Not Jump Into A Wrong Partnership
If you do jump into a bad partnership, sooner or later it will start to crumble. In business, partnership can be just as important as being in a marriage. Choose a partner who has the same values as you. Having the same values is more important than having complementary skill sets.
Choosing a partner for your business is almost like choosing someone to be in a relationship with. It starts off by identifying your non-negotiables. These are things that you cannot accept and refuse to have in a business partner. You can have several non-negotiables; it’s really up to you because at the end of the day, if you already know from the onset that you will not be able to tolerate a partner who has a certain characteristic (or lack thereof), then you will end up just wasting your time wishing your partner behaves differently. Don’t be afraid to lay your non-negotiables down on the table when looking for a suitable business partner.
Another thing you have to remember (just like getting into any relationship) is you can’t just do it for the money. Your partner may have all the money (capital) you need to launch a business but if they do not share the same values as you, then eventually you will run out of reasons why you chose him in the first place. Never do it for money because this is something you can work hard for on your own. You want a partner who believes in your business’ purpose, the same way he believes in you. You need a partner who believes in your products and services. This is the only way you can ensure the life and growth of your business. To know that you are not alone throughout the life of the business will give you confidence in yourself and in what your business can offer.
Starting a business is no joke. You need to be prepared mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. It’s not a walk in the park but remember, it shouldn’t feel like such a burden either. Running a business means you’re taking the wheel and it should feel rewarding. After all, you’re doing what you love, right? Just remember that you shouldn’t stop when it’s difficult, you stop when it’s done. Just trust the process. Having a bad day? Low sales for this month? Not hitting your targets? Things not going as planned? It’s all part of the process. It takes time and the only thing you should remember is that it, too, shall pass.