Learning from past mistakes is a smart way to make the most out of one’s experiences. But in business, as in life, it is also wise to learn from other people’s mistakes. As a budding entrepreneur, you may be pumped up to start a new chapter in your career.
Before you face the challenges head-on, know what will you be up against. Some can be detrimental to your startup; others can affect you personally. By finding out how others dealt with certain situations, you may be able to devise a better strategy or avoid them altogether.
Here are five lessons to help you begin:
A business plan is not an afterthought
At the very least, you need to know what product or service to offer, how to market it, and how to make money from it. While passion can be a strong driver for a person to pursue entrepreneurship, it has to go hand-in-hand with a profit-making plan.
Perhaps you will develop and design a website or serve healthy dishes on the go. To do what you love, set aside 15 percent. You will need the rest of your time for more technical tasks such as marketing, selling, and fulfilling logistic promises.
Running a business entails a lot of thinking on your feet. Having a plan from the get-go provides you with an anchor to hold on to when it is time to make hard decisions.
The path to leadership can be lonely
Founding a startup can be a lonely journey at first. Although you have family and friends to support you, they will not always understand the challenges you will go through. It will also take time to hire top talents. In other words, you may have no one to share the highs and lows with during the early stages. It is for this reason that some entrepreneurs fall into depression.
Forcing yourself out of isolation is the key. Joining a community of founders in your city can help with the stress and anxiety. Communicating your problems to family and friends well can also make things a bit more bearable.
Work-life balance is a myth
Launching your own business bears the promise of freedom and flexibility. However, a lot of would-be entrepreneurs should be aware of the limitations of their new pursuit. Foremost, there are the limitations in terms of time.
Best Paw Forward owners Dave and Anna France found out the hard way that running a business is a 24/7 job. They provide holiday care for beloved canines. In their first few years, they were bent on answering calls and responding to texts and emails.
Then, they realized that their personal time had been compromised. They learned that discipline and better planning of time should be part of your culture right from the start.
Asking for help is all right
Humbling oneself, accepting that you do not know it all, is often a forgotten virtue. Some self-starters are keen to document the lessons they have learned after trying a thing or two for their business. While confidence makes any endeavor possible, it should not get in the way of seeking help in areas of weakness.
As fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg said, “Confidence in what you do is crucial, but that does not mean being delusional. You must always face the truth and then combat the obstacles as they appear.” It is also important to deliberately enlist mentors in your journey. They can serve as your internal board directors.
Cybercrime is a real threat
Data breaches are a real threat to home-based businesses. But according to a CNBC/Survey Monkey report, only 2% of owners see it as an issue that is critical to their daily operations.
From this figure, you can infer that millions of small enterprises are still unaware of how vulnerable they are to hackers. This lack of understanding of the security risks and rewards can result to negligence.
For some, the high cost of cyber protection is a huge drawback. Little do entrepreneurs know that devising a plan to mitigate the risks is not just about spending money.
Sometimes, the most practical you can do is securing your apartment WiFi, installing a virtual private network on your devices, and stepping up user authentication during logins.