These days everyone is toying with the idea of starting their own business, whether it's to supplement their primary income or quit working for "The Man" altogether. The journey of entrepreneurship is different for everyone. But whether you are going in big or small, don't just walk the trail... Blaze it!
Here are 5 sure-fire tips for success:
1. Plan for the Best
Do you have an idea? So does the next guy. When starting a new business, you have the unique opportunity to start off with a bang - to do it the way no one has done before. First impressions last. Don't just settle for the ordinary. Wow them - your competitors, your customers, your next door neighbor... Wow them all!
Plan to be the best.
Plan to give the best.
Plan to receive the best.
And the best will come.
2. Plan for the Worst
While you make your best plans for your business, bear in mind that there may be hiccups along the way. Plan around the inevitable... not by becoming an insomniac worrying about every "what-if" for your business' future. Plan for the worst by putting damage control techniques in place just in case a plan or product doesn't work as well as you hope, even if it's just an apologetic sentence or a discounted offer. You'd be surprised how much that comes in handy when you suddenly find yourself in a tough spot.
At Humbird Media we find that taking some time to discuss possible problems before they arise helps us to be more prepared if they do. Don't be afraid to party poop on yourself every once in a awhile. That way, should mess come your way, you are prepared to clean it up quickly. Let's face it, as much as we'd love skipping those stinky days, the health & growth of our business depends on handling problems properly... and quickly!
Plan for them.
3. Surround yourself with positive influences
Running your own business is hard work.
Why? You are depending on you most of the time - your knowledge, your abilities, your opinions. It's power, it's control and it's scary sometimes. Don't. I repeat, DON'T go it alone! You may blaze at first but you will burn out soon after that.
It's so important to have a core company of well meaning individuals that can support you in this mentally and emotionally taxing journey of entrepreneurship. Also, keep an eye on those who have done it before and done it well. Surround yourself with a positive atmosphere suited for growth & development. Learn from the knowledge, experiences and opinions of others. In this case, taking what's not yours isn't considered unethical.
4. Welcome Naysayers too
Yes, we know. No one likes a critic. But critical evaluations are just as important as praises. During your tenure as an entrepreneur, if you are open enough, you will be criticized at some point for something you did or didn't do. Don't be so quick to shut out the criticisms, however harsh. Whether they were well meaning or not, be wise enough to step back from your beloved baby (your business) and assess: "Can this really be done differently, more efficiently? Is this something I need to start or stop doing?"
Chances are, if someone has a problem, they are not the only one in the world with it. If it suits you and your goals, be open to change. Of course, if it doesn't, by all means, throw that opinion to the curb!
5. Lastly... Have fun!
Your dreams, goals and aspirations are just that. YOURS. The idea of running your own business most likely came from the choice to make money doing something you love. So plan to make the most out of it with as much fun as you possibly can. Don't let anyone throw dirt on your flame. Find the balance between work and fun and tip it toward the latter... Because you can!
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Shauna-Kay Battick is CEO & Chief Designer at Humbird Media Web & Graphic Design