If you want to be a teacher, you enroll in college, earn a degree, complete a teacher certification program, become a teacher, and can further your career by joining professional organizations and adding voluntary certification credentials to your resume. There’re quite clear steps to climbing career ladders in any profession. However, the path to becoming an entrepreneur isn’t well-outlined.
You won’t learn the most important things about business in college. Perhaps, entrepreneurship experience can provide you the knowledge you need. However, some successful business people are ready to share their secrets. We went deeper in the topic and found out 7 key lessons of how to start a business.
Lesson #1. Know what you want.
Your first task as a leader is to decide on the business goals. To do it properly, follow the SMART system. It’s simple, down-to-earth and gets the job done. Your goals should meet these criteria:
S: Shared – Talk to your team and share your vision. These people will work with you towards the result. So, it’s important to explain them clearly what you want to achieve.
M: Measured – Frame the goals in such a way so that you can keep track of your progress.
A: Attainable – Small businesses often set goals beyond reach. Adequately assess your personal and staff capabilities.
R: Realistic – Make sure you can really reach your goals without turning into a workaholic or a nightmare for your employees.
T: Time-Based – Give yourself a reasonable period of time for achieving your goal.
Lesson #2. Get help.
You want to have full control of your business. Make yourself a favor – start to delegate the responsibilities. Hiring experts can be expensive. But you’re in college. There’s a pool of talented and skilled individuals around you.
Want to build a website? Find someone who studies computer science. Need attractive content for the website? Ask a professional writer who is good at writing papers. The best thing about this approach is that you save money you can later spend on other business needs, like advertising.
Lesson #3. Use the Power of Partnership
Entrepreneurship can be lonely. Although your family and friend support you, there’re few people who understand well what it’s like to work for yourself. Sharing your thoughts and worries with business partners can be extremely helpful.
Some entrepreneurs build partnerships only with existing and potential customers. But vendors and suppliers can also become good partners. While customers can increase the revenue stream, vendors and suppliers can reduce your costs. As a businessman, you should care about your company’s profitability and expand the circle of partners you can trust and lean on.
Lesson #4. Listen to Other People.
Often those who walk in front think they lead. In fact, the people who follow them do lead. Experienced entrepreneurs know that this is the customer who decides whether your business will succeed or fail. After all, your product is designed to satisfy their needs. Identify your typical customer first and tailor your marketing pitch accordingly.
Appreciate your employees as well. Invest in your team. Know what they need. Ask them for ideas and support. They should know that the startup’s owner values and respects them. Such positive recognition creates a positive, productive and innovative organizational climate.
Lesson #5. Celebrate Your Successes and … Failures.
If you don’t take risks because of fear of failure, then you aren’t ready to win. Entrepreneurship comes with a lot of challenges. If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur or already getting into the game, you must put your fears aside. Thus, you’ll be free to try bold ideas which can set you apart from the competition.
However, experiencing failure at least once can teach you to cope with it. At some point, failing more means succeeding faster. When things go wrong, it makes sense to define what is needed to be fixed in order to avoid this problem later. Entrepreneurship is about learning from mistakes. This is another way to gain knowledge about business, market, your strengths and weaknesses.
Lesson #6. Spy on Your Competition.
When entrepreneurs are entirely consumed by work on their own businesses, they often forget about the competitors. Don’t get into this trap.
By others faults the wise correct their own. Gather information about your competitors’ failures. Define what went wrong, what things they lacked, and use this information to avoid costly mistakes that can destroy your own business.
In college you regularly practice research skills when writing academic papers, creating presentations or working on projects. These skills will help you quickly find necessary information about the competing companies. Know what they’re offering. It will help you improve your own products or services. You’ll be able to set reasonable prices and respond to rival marketing campaigns with your own initiatives.
Lesson #7. Strive for Imperfection!
You can be a perfectionist. There’s nothing wrong with that. While perfection is something unachievable, striving for it is a good thing. It usually leads to excellence.
They say that entrepreneurs find something imperfect and spend their lifetime perfecting it. You should understand that constant work on improving the products you produce and the service you provide is a key to success. The market rewards those who keep up with the times.
The major business lessons are learned, not taught. As a young entrepreneur, you’re aimed to bring your idea to life. No one says that it’s easy to complete writing assignments, read a bunch of textbook pages, and find time to work on your business project. But as long as your ambitions push you beyond your capabilities and help you make smart, cost-effective decisions, nothing can stop you from learning, working, and succeeding.