So let’s review the ‘start-up’ situation before we begin. Believe it or not, more than 400,000 new businesses were set up in the UK in 2012, which sounds pretty exciting and encouraging given the state of the economy at the time. However, it’s not all good news unfortunately. Within their first year of business, 20% (that’s 80,000) of these companies failed. In fact only 10% of start up companies actually succeed.
These are pretty saddening statistics, but starting-up and running a business is definitely not an easy venture. Every entrepreneur, even the most famous ones, experience many learning curves and not all their ventures are smooth sailing! So, as a new entrepreneur, how do you make sure that you’re business becomes part of that 50% that see profitability after 3 years of operation? How do you avoid tumbling down into the ‘failed business’ category? It’s simple – learn from your mistakes and those that others have made.
So here they are – the 5 lessons you learn as a new entrepreneur
(P.S. Read them, review them, learn from them)
“You need to be capable of listening”
Entrepreneurs need to be extremely competent when it comes to listening to others and accepting feedback with a genuine interest. Communication plays a massive role within any successful business, however don’t forget that effective communication is a two-way street. If other people offer positive suggestions, be headstrong and maybe consider changing course where necessary. It’s always good to have the ability to act on suggestion, certainly not in all cases but just be sure that you continue to listen and be flexible when it comes to acting on what you’ve heard.
“You need to realise that the pounds are predominant”
Entrepreneur think big, and this is a truth universally acknowledged. They can see so far in to the future that their goals are always within their reach with hard-work and determination. Remember though – this is still the future, and as a new entrepreneur, you’re living in the present, so don’t let visions of being a billion-pound company and a famous entrepreneur lure you into a false sense of security: leading you to believe that recklessly spending cash is a good idea. You know what’s more important? Staying alive, well fed and with a roof over your head. One of the biggest killers of new companies is – you’ve guessed it – cash flow (or lack of) so keep your capital under control.
“You need to be realistic with expectations”
I know you won’t like to admit it (because I certainly wouldn’t) but as a new entrepreneur, I can almost guarantee that anything that requires estimation as part of your business – whether it be service fees, or target markets, or predicated sales, anything at all – will be far too high. Undoubtedly, when you realise this, you’ll feel pretty disheartened but don’t be. It’s pretty common to set high expectations when, as a new entrepreneur, you have high standards for yourself and your new business. Things will always take longer than you expect. Once you establish a good reputation within your industry and business begins to run much more smoothly, you’ll soon find that your estimations become much more accurate and your expectations will inevitably become much more realistic.
“You need to take advice with pinch of salt”
I know this seems a little contradictory to my previous point, but it’s important not to take everything everyone says at ‘face value’. Someone may approach you with a breakthrough idea which may require your investment and sure, listen to what they have to say, but think before you act. As a new entrepreneur, you’ve got to keep in mind that of course, there are others out there who are more experienced and therefore more successful, but at the start of the journey, nobody really knows what they’re doing. Just be sure not to take any advice too seriously.
“You need to give yourself a break”
I mean it! Starting up a business is not a piece of cake, so give yourself some credit because you had the guts to do it in the first place. You certainly won’t make it through to a stage of success if you’re hard on yourself. Don’t get me wrong – you should continue to set high standards and be ruthless when it comes to improving your business model or services, but this should all be done in high spirits. Believe me when I say that you’re physical and emotional health play a massive part in contributing to the success of your company, you’re leading the way and leading by example! Just be sure to always give yourself credit for what you’re investing in your start-up (and I don’t just mean money!)
Just remember – you’re a ‘new entrepreneur’ – which means you have little or no experience, so your entrepreneurial journey will be one huge learning curve. Use it to your advantage and learn as much as you can, because eventually – the more you learn, the more you earn.