If you don’t prepare a business plan, your initial enthusiasm will fade and you will fail.
26 – In the end, enthusiasm is not enough to succeed. It takes much more than that. You need to research your market, your competition, the financial feasibility of your concept, and more. As you fight through the battles of making your dream come true, you need to be able to go back to read and re-read your business plan. The concepts laid down in your business plan will help you to convince your bank to give you the loan you need, or to determine the best marketing strategy for your business. Don’t be emotional when you prepare your business plan. Treat it as a business process with goals and deliverables. Once you complete it, ask yourself, “Would I invest in this company?” Remember, you are going to have to convince others to support your idea. Bankers, corporate buyers, investors, partners, and the like will look at your business based on facts. Their decision is not going to be based on emotion. When creating a written business plan you give yourself a chance to think about your idea thoroughly. As you put your ideas in writing, you tend to give them more thought. You might think writing a business plan is boring, or a waste of time. Truly, it should be one of the most exciting projects you could ask for. You are writing your future.
27 – You are accountable – Many businesses fail because people treat them like hobbies. From day one treat your business as a business. Treat yourself as an employee. Set measurable goals and hold yourself accountable. If you only plan to work in your business a couple of hours a week, you can’t expect great results. Owning your own business requires focus and commitment. Educate yourself about the wide range of options and technologies. You can’t expect to get an ounce more out of your business than what you’ve put into it. If you are only willing to put in a few hours a week, expect to get a few hours a week of income. There are no shortcuts.
Entrepreneurs can stay accountable several ways:
28 – Write down your goals. Keep your goals in front of you and keep coming back to them, at least once a month.
29 – Build an advisory board.
30 – Join a peer advisory group. You will get feedback from fellow entrepreneurs. The best kind of peer advisory group is where your business is the smallest business. You definitely don’t want to be the largest or most successful business of your group. When you are the smallest you will be pushed harder to catch up to the others in your group.
31 – Find a coach. Try to work with a coach who has already built a successful business.
33 – Forget the idea, take action – You should never start a business based on a great idea. An idea is just that: an idea. It’s worthless. It is not going to help you succeed in business. Ideas won’t do; you need action to succeed. Wantrepreneurs are full of ideas that never result in action. Entrepreneurs are action takers.
Here are some effective ways to turn your idea into action:
34 – Believe that you can do it. I don’t mean fooling yourself into anything, but the only way can you make it happen if you believe that it will happen.
35 – Reach out to mentors. There are many successful people within your own existing network, and you can also make new connections. Connecting with mentors helps you hear what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
36 – Minimize risk, but understand that it is unavoidable.
37 – Give it due time. Ideas are fast, but making them happen will take time. Even if all goes well, almost everything you do in business will take longer than expected.
38 – Get others to believe in you. Successful entrepreneurs are great at selling their visions. You might have to convince vendors, partners, landlords, investors, employees, or a list of more people.
39 – Prepare to fail – Do not fear failure. There is one thing for sure, you will fail before you succeed. Expect failure but don’t fear it. Think of it as a normal part of your business. It is necessary. It is good for your business. It teaches you. It helps you make the right decision the next time. It is super important that you don’t associate failure with quitting. Only those that take action fail and only those that take action succeed.
40 – Pivot, rinse and repeat – Successful entrepreneurs are always adjusting. There are many reasons to adjust. Your customers might ask for a new software feature. Or, the recession might have put your best customers out of business. The price of raw materials might rise one day. Your business and its environment are dynamic. If you are good, you develop a keen eye for changes and make quick adjustments. Most businesses that fail do so because they ignore the world changing around them.
41 – Focus on your customer – You customer keeps you in business and puts you out of business too. If you listen to them, you can improve your products or services. If you ignore they fire you. Customers don’t disappear, they go to your competitors. Reach out to your customers. Ask them questions. Ask what they like or dislike. Welcome negative feedback. Don’t be defensive about it. Negative feedback gives you a chance to improve.