Starting and running your own business isn’t easy; in fact, it can be downright maddening. But what you get back in satisfaction, pride, and — if you’re good — earnings can more than make up for the time and energy that you’ll invest in your business.
But jumping into entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone; it takes a number of very specific characteristics and a willingness to work really hard. It’s not for everyone, but there’s no doubt that succeeding as an entrepreneur is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in the business world.
Five things you’ll need to be successful in starting your own business.
Possibly more than anything else, you’ll need a healthy amount of resilience. Starting and running your own business is hard, and there are going to be times when it’s not any fun at all. There will be money problems, difficulty finding clients, really tough decisions, and myriad other things that will add to your stress level.
But if you know how to manage your stress, work under pressure, and bounce back from failure, you can be very successful in running your own business. Not sure if you’re resilient or how to become a more resilient person? Check out these articles from Psychology Today to learn more.
This almost goes without saying, but it’s an important one to think about. Successful entrepreneurs are highly motivated people, and they don’t give up easily. This is tied into resilience, but a lot of it has to do with motivation, the ability to keep yourself moving forward, and a strong desire for success.
Your measure of success doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else’s, though—sure, your main motivation could be to make a lot of money, but it could be something else. Maybe it’s to help people with a common problem in their lives, or to see more of the world, or to use a unique skill on a daily basis. Whatever motivates you, find it and stay focused on it.
You might be surprised to find out that you’ll need some creativity even if your business isn’t a typically “creative” one. No matter what product or service you’re selling, if you aren’t able to think creatively about how to reach potential customers, increase sales, and get as much possible out of your time and effort, you won’t be reaching your full potential.
Fortunately, you can cultivate creativity by practicing creative thinking regularly. Fast Company has a great article on different ways of thinking about creativity, and you should give it a read to see what kind of mindset you’ll need to solve problems creatively.
Not every successful entrepreneur out there is a total tech-head, but it certainly helps. Being willing to learn about things like social media, online marketing, and new technologies in your field can help give you an advantage over your competitors, whether they’re around the block or around the world.
Even more important than knowing a lot about technology is an openness to learning about and experimenting with it. When a new social network comes along, you should open up an account and try it out. When you find out that customers want more freedom in their payment options, you should find a way to give it to them. When you see a problem that you think could be solved by technology, you should be happy to do your research to find a solution.
Especially when you’re just starting out, you’re going to do need to do a lot of self-promotion. Many people aren’t comfortable with this idea, but if you want a successful business, there are no two ways about it: you need to promote yourself.
Online, over the phone, in person, and any other way you can think of promoting your business will be important—no one will buy from you if they don’t know you’re available. If the idea of self-promotion makes you cringe, check out these 10 stealthy techniques for self-promotion from Forbes.
The Below 7 tips will help you take your business to the next level and make sure that you’re addressing the things you need to thrive, not only a business owner, but as a person, as well.
1. Take more time off.
Yes, you read that correctly. Many, if not most, small business owners have a tendency to PLACE THEIR BUSINESSES BEFORE THEMSELVES. And while this might result in a successful business in the short term, it can have some bad long-term consequences.
Extreme levels of stress, illness, getting disconnected from friends and family, and feeling burnt out are all common among small business owners; take a few more days off this year to help you be the best person you can be, and to live a more well-rounded life. Your business will be much better for it.
2. Take advantage of technology.
Payment, accounting, storage, collaboration, and other important parts of your business can be helped a lot by using the right sorts of technology. Taking credit and debit card payments from your phone, keeping important documents in the cloud, and working more efficiently with your colleagues should all be among your goals this year.
Not sure where to start? Check out our blog posts on WHAT THE CLOUD ACTUALLY IS and how to get your SMALL BUSINESS INTO THE CLOUD. That should be enough to get you started, and you can move on from there!
3. Delegate more.
Delegating and sharing responsibility aren’t easy, but they’re crucial for running an efficient business. Even though you know more about your business than anyone else, that doesn’t mean that you’re the best person to tackle every problem and deal with every issue.
Make it a goal this year to ask for help and delegate responsibility more often. In many cases, you can easily have someone else take care of a task that’s taking up a lot of time, freeing you to do more important things that will help keep your business on track in the new year.
4. Address more of your customers’ needs.
A lot of small businesses focus on a single issue—plumbing, or hairstyling, or pet grooming, or any number of other diverse areas. And for many businesses, that works very well. But what else can you do for your customers? What other needs to they have that you might be able to help them out with?
Try to think outside the box and offer another product or service this year that you haven’t in the past. It might succeed, and it might not . . . but getting to know your customers needs and desires will certainly help you in the long run.
5. Get more organized.
This should be a resolution for everyone, regardless of whether they own a small business or not. Get a DOCUMENT SCANNER, scan all of your receipts and invoices, and organize your computer so you can find everything when you need it. It’ll make taxes easier, help you spend less time searching your computer, and reduce stress when you need to find something.
While you’re at it, start backing up your computer, too. Sign up for CRASHPLAN or BACKBLAZE and make sure that all of your important documents are backed up in the cloud so you don’t lose them, even if your computer dies.
6. Spend more time promoting your business online.
Advertising and marketing are crucial components for recruiting your clients and expanding your business, but they can feel like a chore that doesn’t get you anywhere. Make it a goal this year to spend more time learning about how to promote your business, and then doing it.
Start by reading up on ways to promote your business online, and be sure to take social media into account; lots of businesses have had great success on Facebook and Twitter, and they’re too important to ignore.
7. Network more.
“Networking” is an intimidating word, and it makes a lot of people nervous. But it doesn’t have to, and once you get over the idea that you can make connections without schmoozing at a convention, you might even come to enjoy it.
Find a networking or industry group near you, and go to their monthly meetings. Introduce yourself to a couple people and exchange email addresses in case you have anything interesting to share in the future.
Try Using Mantras For Business Success
The mantra or mantras you pick to help guide you through your entrepreneurial journey should fit your particular situation and remind you to address the difficulties that you face on a daily basis. With that in mind, here are five mantras that you could adopt as your own, whether for meditation or another form of inspiration.
“Bend before you break.”
One of my personal favorites, this one is RECOMMENDED BY ROBERT KIYOSAKI, and for good reason. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, and there are going to be times when you feel like it’s too much. By reminding yourself that you can be flexible and that bouncing back will make you stronger, you’ll be able to face those challenges head-on.
“I change my thoughts, I change my world.”
This quote from Norman Vincent Peale is tough to beat. The world is so often a reflection of how you think about it, and a constant reminder of that can be very powerful. Whether it’s a mantra for meditation or just a great quote on your bulletin board, it will encourage you to stay positive and focus on change.
“I am successful.”
Success is a nebulous concept, but it’s one that we in the business world talk about a lot. Whatever it means to you, you can channel it through this mantra. Whether it means you followed your dreams, you took a risk, or you just make it through the day-to-day challenges, it’s a good reminder that you’re already succeeding, and that you just need to keep it going.
“Sit still, move mountains.”
The entrepreneurial life can be an extremely hectic one, and we all need a reminder to calm ourselves down, take a deep breath, and really look at what’s going on around us. When you stop to look and listen, you’ll see a lot of new things, many of which can help you or your business. It’s not when we’re running around like crazy that we’re being the most effective.
A mantra doesn’t have to be a phrase; it can be a single word. And there are few words that sum up the entrepreneurial spirit better than “forward.” This word can mean a lot of things, but what’s important is that it means something to you. I highly recommend this one.
Go Forth and Conquer
Now that you have an idea of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, you can confidently start to figure out how you’re going to succeed as a small business. No matter what stage of the process you’re at—whether you’re thinking about a business plan or a retirement plan—the characteristics and ideals listed above will help you make the most of it.
Image credit: Sam Churchill via Flickr