What can you do to avoid failure as an entrepreneur?
The risk of starting a business leads most people to quit before giving their million-dollar idea a shot. Obstacles and road bumps constantly arise to deter an entrepreneur’s success. Life savings, years of dedication, and close relationships can be lost over a failed a venture. I recommend that you read Simplify: How the Best Businesses in the World Succeed.
To learn how to avoid failure as an entrepreneur, follow these practices:
1. Focus your efforts.
With an endless supply of information and technology available, achieving your entrepreneurial goals and providing a service to customers won’t be your issue. Instead, learning to focus your business objective may prove more difficult. If you want to avoid failure as an entrepreneur, determine which tasks and projects pose the greatest threat for wasting your time and energy.
Determine tasks that fall outside the focus of your business strategy and outsource those to create a lean company structure. Knowing when to delegate provides entrepreneurs with the ability to refine and specialize their own service. Outsourcing tools, such as Amberly or Zapier, can be great resources to help you maintain your focus.
2. Know who to surround yourself with.
The people in your day-to-day circle have more influence than you might think. Friends, family, and colleagues have the power to change your mood, decisions, and habits. Spending even a little time with someone can change your attitude and later actions. Be careful who you choose as a mentor or sounding board.
Most people carry an optimistic or pessimistic outlook. Optimists often support creative idea generation and think big. They may increase your momentum, but are not always practical. Pessimists can threaten your confidence for success, but they may predict problems that you wouldn’t have seen.
The people in your network bring different experiences and skills to help you in different situations. Think about the kind of person and energy you want to have around. Being smart about who you place in your inner circle will help you learn how to avoid failure as an entrepreneur.
3. Create a company culture.
Eric Ries encourages startups to create a culture of learning and innovation in his book, The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. As the leader of an organization, you can set the stage for your employees. Reward your employees’ ingenuity by allowing them the time and freedom to pursue relevant interests.
Your actions and behaviors set the norm for a small organization. ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ doesn’t apply to entrepreneurs. Know your best practices and set processes throughout the company to achieve optimal performance in all avenues.
4. Designate your MVP.
Every company needs a leader, but it doesn’t have to be a person. Your company should offer a product or service that competes on the market by offering great value to the customer. Knowing how to avoid failure as an entrepreneur means maximizing this value and your profit.
Invest your time and money into a key product and service to turn it into your bread and butter. Minimize your costs in development, and target your energy towards adding value to your product or service.
5. Only build what is needed.
The world is full of products nobody wants. Entrepreneurs who fail are makers of things. Entrepreneurs who succeed only make products people are willing to pay for. They create their products working with the customer. There is a symbiotic relationship between the product creator and the market.
6. Sell before you build.
Never assume that your idea is so good that people will pay for it. Ideas are cheap. The only way you can really know that you have something valuable is when you pre-sell it. You should be able to meet with a prospect and pre-sell your product to him. If you can’t you are either talking to the wrong person or you have the wrong product or wrong price.
7. Create systems.
You can’t effectively scale your business without systems. If you can’t create systems, you won’t be able to grow your team. If you want to grow your sales, you need a sales and marketing system. If you want to service more customers, you need a customer service system. If you want to grow your team, you need a system to train and retain them.
The best businesses are built on systems.