This is one of those lists you make on a bar napkin after you’ve had a few beers with your buddies. “If I only knew then what I know now.” Here are eight tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Choose a good company name
If you really want to give your business a good start in the world, choose a good company name. It should be short, easy to remember and easy to spell, but most important, it should resonate with your target audience. Think about what they’ll picture when they hear your company name because that’s the way they’re going to remember your company. They’re going to see the word “Advice” in your name and they’ll think your all about giving tips and how-to content. If that’s not what you want them to think, then you need to choose a different name.
Outsourcing isn’t always the best answer
A lot of business owners make the mistake of hiring help as soon as a new task presents itself. It’s better to do it yourself, at least until you know how you want that task performed. Otherwise, how can you tell that new employee what you want them to do? For example, how can you tell an article writer what type of content you want if you have no idea what your readers are looking for? And you won’t know that until you do some writing yourself.
You’re going to make mistakes – keep moving forward
There’s always something new to learn when you’re running your own business. The more you know, the more successful you can be, which makes you want to learn even more. All that learning means you’re also going to be trying new things which will inevitably lead to mistakes. Don’t let your fear of failure hold you back. Failure doesn’t mean you didn’t succeed. It just means you have to try again. If you don’t keep moving forward you’re going to get swallowed up.
Network, network, network
The most successful business owners realize the importance of networking. Network with other business owners to share advice and absorb some of their experience. Network with people in general so you can spread the work about your company. The best advertising is word of mouth advertising so get out there and meet people.
Everybody has their own idea of success
Don’t let someone else’s idea of success influence your own. The other guy might be perfectly happy at his level of business but if you want more, don’t let him make you lazy. On the other hand, if you’re happy where you’re at, don’t let that over-achiever belittle your success or you might be tempted to bite off more than you can chew.
Everybody’s business is different
Every single business is different. You have a different product or a different customer base or you have different ideas about profitability. When other business owners offer you advice, take what you can use and file the rest for future reference – if you need it.
Take on a partner
Seriously: If you’re successful you will eventually need to take on a partner. It might be a silent partner, but eventually you’re going to need one. To continue growing your business you’ll need to be creative and you’ll probably need new skills. Eventually it’s just too much for one person. Start shopping for a partner before you need one. Pay attention to the other business owners in your network and take not of their different skill sets.
That which doesn’t kill us…
Like I said, failure doesn’t mean you didn’t succeed. It just means you have to try again. But some business owners are so afraid of failure they just freeze. In most cases that don’t involve heavy machinery, there’s absolutely nothing you can do in your business that’s going to kill you if you do it wrong. Chalk it up as a lesson learned and pat yourself on the back for having the wisdom to recognize and correct a mistake. Remember, that which doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.