You may feel that success as an entrepreneur depends on hard work. However, hard work alone is not enough. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to know the basics of survival.
Survival Tip #1 – Find a Mentor
Every entrepreneur needs someone to lean on. Find yourself a mentor to whom you can talk about your business projects and plans. Ideally, such a mentor is a successful entrepreneur. But this isn’t essential. Some of the best mentors are family members or friends who are prepared to listen and give straightforward advice.
Tip #2 – Have a Business Plan
If you’re borrowing money for your enterprise, the lender will likely ask to see your business plan. This plan should explain what you intend to do and how. You should include all the relevant revenue, cost, and gross profit figures for up to five years. Even if you are not seeking a loan, create a business plan anyway. And once you start your business, check the plan regularly and revise it as necessary.
Tip #3 – Be Flexible
You may feel that your idea for a business is sound. You may also be determined to see your idea through to the end. But don’t be too fixed in your ways of working and thinking. Every business environment is changing, largely because of technology. Be flexible in your approach and remain open to new ideas; they may differ from your original plan but may end up benefiting it.
Tip #4 – Know Your Customers
Be absolutely clear about who your customers are. Consider the sort of people you intend to sell your product or service to. And ask yourself: How does my product or service benefit these people?
If you don’t add value to people’s lives, they won’t buy what you are offering.
Survival Tip #5 – Keep Your Costs Low
If you need to buy equipment to start your business, keep your costs low. Resist the temptation to buy a leading brand if a cheaper equivalent will suffice. Consider leasing your equipment rather than buying it. Obviously, what you need to purchase depends on your business concept but remember that any equipment, whether an automobile or a cellphone, must more than pay for itself.
Tip #6 – Keep Your Revenue as High as Possible
The market determines what you charge for your product or service. What’s more, you don’t necessarily need to undercut the market price to be successful.
For instance, you could charge the going rate and offer extra value in a way that your competitors fail to provide. The approach to take is to keep your revenue as high as possible while building your customer base.
Tip #7 – Stay Aware of Your Competitors
Study your competitors. Learn from them. In particular, observe how they react to changes in the marketplace and to new opportunities.
Survival Tip #8 – Opportunities and Threats
Once you start your business, be alert for opportunities. These may change the direction of your business and even increase your income. Similarly, watch for threats.
These are not always in the form of competitors. The business world is developing so rapidly that threats may appear unexpectedly. Of course, when a threat arises, also look for the business opportunity that may accompany it.
Always keep the above tips in mind, but also remember what is perhaps the most important tip of all:
Learn from your experience.
This experience is unique and crucial. It enables you to progress from strength to strength in all your business dealings and is an invaluable tool in achieving future success.