The beauty of being an entrepreneur is that you’re following your own path to success. For some, success comes after years of experiencing major growing pains – a very long, painful process. For others, things fall into place quickly. Is there a secret? It’s hardly magic. Success reveals that the entrepreneur understands the importance of learning from and adapting to situations; they’ve recognised that it’s the key to achieving growth.
The following are 8 lessons every entrepreneur should learn to maintain a healthy, long-term business.
- You have to believe in yourself
It’s impossible for others to believe in your vision if you have little to no confidence in yourself. Investors will chip away at your valuation to get a better deal. When dealing with others, especially those with competing interests, it will be necessary for you to stand up for yourself. Be confident in the business you’ve chosen to build – or no one else will.
- Your product/service needs to be the better than anything else out there
If your product is not superior, don’t launch. As soon as a company launches a product that’s better than anything else currently available, clones flood the market. It’s worth the time to make sure you get it right, even if it means a higher cost of goods.
In the words of Gary Hirshberg, chairman and former president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, “You will never be able to overcome an inferior (product).”
- There are no shortcuts when it comes to marketing
Some things are worth spending the extra cash for, and marketing is definitely one of them. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of turning down marketing recommendations because of their “too expensive”. In using cheap marketing, you run the risk of making your brand appear cheap. Low-quality content and cheap ads may seem more cost efficient short-term, but the damage it does to your brand’s reputation can go well into the future.
- Outsource whenever possible
If the in-house staff is not available to help ease your workload, consider outsourcing. More and more entrepreneurs are turning to freelancers. Hiring an overseas virtual assistant, for example, can significantly reduce the time spent on monotonous tasks. Ultimately, spend less time on busy work and more time on revenue-generating tasks.
- Know what your cash needs are
Successful entrepreneurs caution against allowing yourself to get into cash trouble. Mr Hirshberg recommends, “Double your expenses and have your revenue. Be brutally conservative and don’t fool yourself. You’re the only one who can protect against that.”
If the bank is not willing to provide the working capital you need, consider alternative providers like eMerchantBroker. For the nutraceutical company, for example, business funding and payment processing services can quickly and easily be set up. A high-risk provider specialises in tailoring its merchant accounts and business funding options to the business type its working with.
- Over-communicate – with everyone
What you choose to communicate says a lot, but sometimes what you fail to say says even more. If you’re stressed, your employees are going to notice. Communicate and fill them in on what’s going on. In addition, if you come across as a know-it-all and keep information to yourself, the information is virtually useless. People tend to be more forgiving when they know what you’re thinking and what’s going on.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself
If you’re sick, exhausted and overwhelmed, the business is going to suffer too. It is crucial that you schedule in time for yourself. Make yourself a priority. You must make sure you sleep, eat and exercise. Brilliant ideas will pass you by if you are simply too stressed to notice.
- Build your personal and company brand
So many entrepreneurs make the mistake of only focusing on their company brand, neglecting their personal brand. A strong personal brand is what differentiates you from your competitors. It also gives you authority and credibility in your field. In the unfortunate event that your company fails, you still have your personal brand.