Entrepreneurship can seem like a glamorous path to take in life. On the outside, it looks like the dream life; entrepreneurs call all the shots, set their own schedules, and get the “fame and fortune” that everyone dreams of. Unfortunately, most people don’t see the behind-the-scenes hard work entrepreneurs have to do in order to be successful.
Those aspiring to be entrepreneurs are often mislead because they aren’t seeing the challenges established entrepreneurs have had to deal with. When people take the first steps to become entrepreneurs, they might think it’s a simple process. However, they will most likely face the reality of failure when they become overwhelmed by the amount of hard work, sweat, stress, time, and money they have to put into their business venture. Basically, rookie entrepreneurs are at a disadvantage when it comes to going head first into a business venture without preparing for the challenges that lie ahead.
To avoid immediate failure, here are a few things you should consider if you are new to the entrepreneur game:
1. Get a mentor.
When you decide to become a full-fledged entrepreneur, you are also committing to continual learning. New entrepreneurs are subject to steep learning curves when it comes to their first business. Fortunately, there are people who will gladly take on the role of being your mentor.
Although finding a dedicated mentor might not solve all of your problems, it can definitely help you as you start your business venture. Mentorship can really only help if you and your mentor take it seriously. According to a recent Entrepreneur.com article, here are a few things you should look for when seeking a mentor:
- Someone with knowledge of your specific industry
- Someone who has personal entrepreneurial experience
- Someone who has “strong connections in the industry and the ecosystem you are operating in…”
- Someone you have good chemistry with
- Someone who is a “visionary and problem solver”
You should try to find someone who has close to the amount of passion you have for your business, your industry, and entrepreneurship in general. Having a mentor, especially someone who has been in your shoes, can steer your business clear from careless mistakes and failure.
2. Use free resources.
As an entrepreneur, you probably already know that any business venture is going to be pretty expensive. Even if you do have the money, there is no guarantee that you will be able to keep your business up and running, especially if you don’t know how to budget well. That’s where using free resources can really help you out.
Free resources are available to help you with things like budgeting, marketing/brand awareness, organization, networking, learning, and more. For example, social media is a great place to raise brand awareness and network with other entrepreneurs for free.
The U.S. Small Business Administration provides a wide variety of free, helpful resources for small business owners. The information on the SBA’s business guide ranges from planning and launching your business to managing and growing your business.
3. Grow your network.
Networking can definitely give you a boost in the business world. In fact, it can help you find anything from a lifelong friend to a reliable mentor. You’ll never know what knowledge a person can provide if you don’t try to put yourself out there and create a strong network. A great free tool to use to build a fast, strong network of successful business owners is LinkedIn. You can connect with someone and develop a relationship with them in a matter of minutes.
Additionally, you can go to popular entrepreneurial conferences, engage with business owners through blog comments, and go out of your way to ask the people already in your network to connect you with other people in their networks. Eventually, you’ll have a strong, large network that can help you achieve your business goals and offer reliable advice, knowledge, experience, and support.
4. Learn how to delegate.
Delegating important tasks can be a major challenge for some new entrepreneurs. When you are just starting out, you may think you should be the one to make all the big decisions and perform all the large tasks, especially since you were the one who came up with the business venture. Unfortunately, this workload can be overwhelming and can take you away from managing your business as a whole. It’s important to learn how to delegate certain tasks.
You can start small and then when you have employees you can trust, you can start delegating more important roles. A Female Entrepreneur Association article suggests if you are resisting delegation you should “start making a list daily of the work you do. Then at the end of the week, go through that list and make note of the tasks you love doing and the ones you can’t stand. The ones you can’t stand will drain your energy and can be the first ones you delegate to your assistant.”
Your business is probably precious to you as you have put so much time, energy, money, and sweat equity into it. And it’s okay to be protective of your new business. However, over time, you will realize that delegation not only saves you time but also helps you build trustworthy relationships with your employees and keeps you away from having a work-life imbalance.
5. Educate yourself on business basics.
Obviously, new entrepreneurs have much to learn as they are more likely to have less experience in the business world. Educating yourself on things like industry-specific consumer trends, business laws, market trends, partner and investor opportunities/trends, business funding options, and more can help your business get started on the right path.
As a new entrepreneur, you must be willing to learn as you start your business venture. The more you know, the less likely you will be to make business mistakes and have major setbacks. If you continue to educate yourself, your profits may grow along with with business acumen.