We are living in an era where entrepreneurship has become a trend. I am not saying that it is anything wrong with being trendy. However, as someone that has been in business for a while, I know that some people have developed misconceptions about business. One thing I can share with you from years of experience is that running a business is hard work. It will demand your focus, time and energy. Most of all, it will challenge you to move beyond mediocrity and pursue a life of mastery. Here are a few insights for entrepreneurs and emerging entrepreneurs.
1. Figure out if people want your product/service
You need to test the validity of your idea. Honestly, we are in an era where everyone has ideas. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with having an idea. On the other hand, I am saying that you need to validate your ideas. That means that you need to do your research and discover how effective your idea is. Honestly, I have had many moments where I thought I had a great idea. However, after careful analysis and research, I had to go back to the drawing board. It is important that you learn to think both as an entrepreneur and a consumer. Find out if there is really a demand for your idea. More importantly, consider if your idea is sustainable over a long period of time. Many entrepreneurs do not think ideas all the way through and they do not survive in business very long. Conduct research, create focus groups, speak with mentors and others that can help you determine how valid your idea truly is.
2. Remember that it’s not always about the moolah
Your goal in business cannot just be to make money. I know some of you are a bit confused by this statement. However, as someone that has been in business for around a decade, I want to be very honest with you. In the early days of my business, I was frustrated, burning through cash and concerned about the sustainability of my business. As I looked at my revenues, I was discouraged and wondering if I had made a mistake going into business. I learned quickly that you cannot just start a business with the goal of making money. If I did not have a larger vision during that time I would not have survived. The truth is you will go through dry seasons in business. You will sometimes have products and services that do not translate into sales. Other times you may have to do some things for free to get the word out about your business. If your only goal is to make money you will not be in business very long. The reality is that it takes normally around three to five years for a business to truly turn a profit. If you do not have the time or patience to navigate the uncertainty of entrepreneurship, then it may not be in your best interest to start a business. While you do need money to keep your business going, focus on your larger vision and the direction you want your business to go.
3. Figure out HOW your business will impact others
Entrepreneurship is an opportunity to make a difference. Thankfully, I did not give up on my business in the early years. If you have heard my story, then you know that my business almost collapsed three times. I experienced so much adversity in business that I could write volumes of books on all the lessons that I learned. When people see me today they find it hard to believe that my business went through so much struggle. I am now a highly respected thought leader with influence all around the world. How did I get here? I realized that entrepreneurship is about more than making profits. Essentially, entrepreneurship is an opportunity to make a difference. Every product or service you create in business has the potential to change lives. Every dollar spent is an opportunity for you to make a difference. Entrepreneurship is simply a vehicle for impact. Money creates more options in your life. In addition, money gives you the opportunity to serve more people. Great entrepreneurs are not just interested in creating products and services. Great entrepreneurs are interested in making the world a better place. Everything you create has the potential to change lives. When you view entrepreneurship as a tool for transforming lives it will revolutionize the way you do business.
4. Take time to build a strong foundation EARLY
You need to ensure that your business has a strong foundation. One thing I have observed over the years is that in business many come and go. I would follow a business and a few months later that business would be gone. Why does this happen? It happens because many people have pursued fortunes over foundation. If you do not listen to any of my advice, I hope you will at least pay attention to this. The foundation of your life and business must be strong or you will fail. The more success you experience the more stability must be a pillar of your business. Having a strong foundation means that you put the systems, relationships, and policies in place that ensure the sustainable success of your business. Too many entrepreneurs are waiting for a breakthrough but they are failing miserably in the development of their businesses. You need structure, strategy, and standards well before you start experiencing big wins. Your foundation will ensure that your business is effective. Do not spend so much time on the irrelevant that you forget the essentials. Your business can only be as strong as the foundation that supports it.