It is no secret that working for one’s self and being ‘your own boss’ is a sure dream for everyone. But building a business from a small startup into a global franchise is no mean task. It’s never as easy as it is painted to be.
Talk about working hard and building a business can be exciting, but putting in the real effort and growing steadily to the comfortable peak is where the real challenge lies. If you don’t get all the basics before jumping in, you might just as well be setting yourself up for failure.
All great businesses and people who have made money from entrepreneurship never had an easy startup. They put in a lot of effort and made many sacrifices to get to where they are today.
So before you quit your regular pay job and start up a business, here are some facts you need to understand.
Understand that it will take a while to get return on your investment
A new business usually takes time to generate any real revenues. Sometimes it could take you between 6 months to 2 years before you even come any close to being profitable. Patience is key for entrepreneurs. You need to prove your business model solves a real problem for the target customers, and would add value to their lives. As you convince people to patronise your business, your customer base will grow, and you’ll eventually start to see some returns on your investment.
Understand that you cannot do it alone
You can’t be your own accountant, financial officer, designer, human resource manager, marketer, social media expert, and many more all at once. Delegation is an important element of success in any business, and if you’re going to see good results any time soon, you’ll have to divide tasks among the best people you can find, though this may come at a cost which you want to avoid as a starter.
At startup, every milestone or target will take longer to acheive
It’s important to know that everything will take longer than you think to happen. You need to master your emotions before you start to realise that the plans you wrote down on a piece of paper months or even a year ago, hasn’t still manifested. Convincing customers to trust your business can take a while, hitting a certain milestone can take a while, and getting that investment you desperately need can also take longer than you expect. Knowing that every plan you write down might take longer, will help better prepare you for what lies ahead as an entrepreneur.
Be smart and creative
You must chase every sale lead. No one is going to lay a bed of roses for you to lie on. You’d have to hustle every step of the way, get rejected a lot, get disrespected a lot, and do most of the work yourself because no one is going to be there to do it for you. It’s incredibly tougher when you’re just starting out. You might be alone at that point or have a co-founder you work with. You’ll need to set goals and milestones for yourself on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. And strive endlessly to hit your targets. For this is key to your success as an entrepreneur.
At startup, do not expect a steady paycheck
Months without any income will make you wish you still had that steady paycheck you initially enjoyed. You’ll pay for the services your business subscribes to first, you’ll have to set aside your staff salaries also, and account for many other expenses. After a thorough disbursement of cash at the end of every month, you might have nothing left to yourself. At least, at the start of your business. But over time, things will change.
There are times self-doubt will naturally creep in
Did I start out too early? Is this the right product I should be selling? Why are people not patronising my business? Self-doubt will slowly creep into your mind, and if you do not know how to manage it, you’ll be destroyed emotionally, and your business will hit the rocks. Get a mentor, have role models, get a bit of fresh air once in a while. These people and events will keep you clear headed, and help you through your times of self-doubt as an entrepreneur.
Frustration may find its way in when challenges arise
When things don’t initially go according to plan, frustration starts to creep in. You could get angry, tense, and randomly worried because the fear of the unknown will begin to set in. Your family won’t understand why it’s taking you so long to break even, and will begin to pressurise you to either do something else or get a job. Your employees, customers, and many other factors will also begin to frustrate you. Self-awareness is critical at this phase, and it’s important you only stick with already successful people to keep your mind level-headed. The minute everything starts to turn, your sales go higher, you acquire more customers faster, and investors begin to fall in love with your business, your frustration will slowly disappear, people will begin to associate themselves with you, and you’ll be one of the happiest people you know.
Your business may evolve into a model different from the initial
Many businesses end up as something else years after they launched. Customers might not appreciate the first thing you put out there. The service you render most likely won’t be what people really need. But as you set out on your journey as an entrepreneur, you’ll begin to notice the hidden problems people experience every day, and how your business can adjust to take care of it. Paying attention is key, and will determine if your business survives after starting out as something nobody wants.
Effective time management is crucial
Doing the right thing at the right time becomes more crucial when you become an entrepreneur. Your time was initially managed by your boss at your previous job, but if you do not manage your time well as a business owner, you’re bound for failure. Addressing customers on time, acquiring merchandise on time, paying your dues on time, and more, will get your business where it ought to be on time.
You must research more, learn more and work harder
After all is said and done, you still might not get to be as rich as you wanted to be. If you’re not solving a real problem people experience, not caring about the customers enough, not doing things on time, or if there’s too much saturation in the industry you want to venture into, you still might not get rich. Before you start any business, first do a highly detailed feasibility study. This will broaden your knowledge on that industry and will help you know if you can truly succeed in that field or not.