“Fire your boss. Follow your passion. Own your time.” These statements, inspiring on one hand, are capable of luring many away from working a regular 9-5 job to becoming entrepreneurs. Statistics show that 6 out of 10 employees are fully dissatisfied with their jobs. Reasons vary from having a terrible boss to inadequate compensation to lack of interest. This makes entrepreneurship an attractive alternative instead of working for someone else. However, starting a business is not all rosy.
Having a Great Idea Doesn’t Qualify You To be a Successful Entrepreneur
Yes, I said it! And not just me. Steve Jobs said “Ideas are worth nothing unless executed; They are just a multiplier, execution is worth millions.” All the great entrepreneurs you hear of today didn’t get there because of the sheer brilliance of their ideas. They had to put in the work. Many people actually get confused at the difference between having an entrepreneurial mindset and being an entrepreneur.
Those are two different things because having an entrepreneurial mindset means you are visionary. You have great ideas and can think outside the box. It also means you are willing to take risks to reach a goal. You tend to go beyond your job description to get things done. You are able to see how actions tie into the business outcome and channel your energies accordingly.
Being an entrepreneur, and a successful one, is a different ball game entirely. It is being a business owner. One who runs all the moving parts of a business successfully. It requires some very strong attributes which are critical if your business will not just survive but thrive.
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau
Here are the three things you must know/do before starting a business:
1. Conduct A Proper SWOT Analysis
You need to conduct reality checks for both you as an individual and the business you want to start. SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Conducting a SWOT analysis will help you understand the business field you want to go into as well as what your advantages are. This can help you develop a strong business strategy that places you in the top percentile.
Your strengths could be your knowledge, background, education, network, skills, or location. A question to ask yourself here is, “what competitive advantage do I have over other players in the industry?” Weaknesses are reflective of the areas where your business is not favorably matched to other competitors. You need to know them so you can have a developmental plan to eliminate these weaknesses.
Opportunities are external positive factors that offer reasons why your business can/will flourish. Exploring these opportunities can help you stand out even in a crowded marketplace. Threats are negative influences that often are beyond your control but can affect the sustainability of your business. To be forewarned they say, is to be forearmed. Another critical aspect of a reality check is a personal psychometric assessment as an entrepreneur.
The result of an entrepreneur’s psychometric test will show a summary of the individual’s strength of the characteristics they already have as well as areas where they need improvement. This is so they can have a successful entrepreneurial career. Attributes tested include passion, creativity, ability to take control, industriousness, knowledge/experience and pursuit of achievement.
There are different tools that aid this kind of assessment. The result is not to discourage anyone from starting a business. Rather it offers insight as to what your personal strengths are and you can then make a decision as to how to proceed with your business goal.
2. A Roadmap for Getting Seen (or Getting Clients!)
Clients are the lifeline of every business. Without clients, you just have an expensive hobby. What is your plan for visibility? That is, apart from hounding family and friends. Some people actually are great at what they do, but suck at convincing others to pay for their expertise.
Too many newbie entrepreneurs start a business and get stuck because they don’t have any clients and are trying every possible way to get leads both online and offline. This is not the time to run around trying different strategies. You might need to hire a business coach or get into a business mastermind to see what is working for others.
You will find out what works for you, but you need to get out there. The internet has made it a little easier by offering different platforms where you can share your knowledge and grow a community of people who know, like and trust you.
Another quick method I always share with my clients is for them to explore sharing their message or expertise on other people’s platforms. When you have a solution, you are able to create valuable content for the specific audience you want to serve. You naturally show up as an authority and build your own audience from being featured.
“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney
3. Low Hanging Fruits – Results! Results! Results!
People are more comfortable trusting a business that others have experienced. It is the belief that if you’ve been able to achieve one result, then it can be replicated. What that means for you as a prospective business owner is that you need to quickly prove your idea and record results as fast as you can.
You cannot begin to think about a fancy website, business funnels and the whole works, when you haven’t tested your idea. It will be folly to think of quitting your job in this case. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you want to start, you can always start small. Get a client, do the work, then get a testimonial.
This person can get you referrals and then you begin to scale from there. When your income from your business has matched or surpassed your 9-5 job then you can resign. This might be an unpopular opinion but it is valid. Your bills won’t wait because you’re starting a business, and you still need to eat.
While you think of investing to grow the business on a large scale, do the work to get guaranteed results in the interim. Working your regular job can become an unpleasant chore especially when your heart is lit with the dream of running your own business. Take the time to prepare adequately and you can guarantee that your business will not be among the statistics of businesses that fail in the first 5 years.