Being a new or aspiring entrepreneur can be simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking. On the one hand, you’re taking enormous risks by being in business for yourself. On the other, you’re opening up yourself to incredible possibilities the majority of the population only dreams about.
To help you navigate the startup landscape successfully, here are some important tips for entrepreneurs.
Look for Wide Market Opportunity
You’re probably starting a business because you’re either very passionate or very knowledgeable about something. And that’s a great place to start! If you aren’t doing something you feel motivated to do, chances are good that you’ll give up too early. It’s been said that if you start a business doing something you love you’ll never have to work another day in your life (and it’s almost true).
But it’s not quite enough that you’re interested in what you do. You’ve also got to choose a business that the existing market wants to support.
To that end, you’ll want to research carefully before committing to a business idea. Investors typically only invest in an idea if they foresee a big market opportunity and it can be very difficult to promote something that doesn’t fit into an existing category. Make sure the business you start is one that has the potential to grow into something extraordinary.
Constantly Watch Your Finances
When you’re building a business, money is both your best friend and your worst enemy. You’ve got to have enough of it to do the things you’re there to do, but if you run out or have too little, nothing works right. Inadequate funding and improper use of resources are two of the most common entrepreneur mistakes.
To avoid money problems as much as possible, it’s imperative that you stay on top of your expenses, income, and balance sheet. Maintain a low overhead and spend as little as you can get away with. Live on a shoestring budget until you have significant revenue flowing in.
Develop an Elevator Pitch
This is undoubtedly one of the most important tips for entrepreneurs. Whether you’re pitching your company to investors or pitching your services to the public, you’ve got to have a pitch.
On this note, research indicates that what you say to an audience — whether an audience of one or one thousand — matters far less than how you say it. In fact, only about 7% of a message’s effectiveness comes from its content. The other 93% comes from your voice and body language.
With that in mind, you should write different elevator pitches for the different scenarios you find yourself using them in. Come up with a succinct and engaging story about what your startup does and how it came to be. Focus on the problem it’s there to solve. Suggest and articulate your mission, goals, and reason for being. Try to keep the whole pitch under 30 seconds, with a longer presentation ready at all times to share with prospective investors and clients.
Learn to be a Public Speaker
Being able to communicate effectively can mean the difference between your success and your failure as a startup entrepreneur.
Communication is at the heart of all business, making this one of the most critical tips for entrepreneurs. Whether you’re rousing your employees for a challenge, convincing investors to give you a chance, or selling your product directly to consumers, you don’t have to be a paid international speaker to benefit from public speaking.
Learn Marketing (and Never Stop Doing It)
Entrepreneurs tend to be creative people and often they feel like marketing themselves is about “selling out” or tarnishing their integrity in some way.
First of all, that isn’t true. Marketing and sales are both very respectable fields that have been given an unfortunate reputation by a few “sleazy salesmen.”
Second, if you aren’t marketing, you aren’t in business. It’s that simple.
As an entrepreneur, you have to be constantly attracting, building, and educating your audience. Granted, not all marketing tactics are necessary all the time. Depending on your business and the market you’re in, the style of marketing you’ll need to do will vary greatly.
Starting your own business is both one of the scariest and one of the most wonderful experiences you will ever have. To make sure it’s less scary and more wonderful, keep these tips for entrepreneurs in mind as you go forward.