Tips to succeed as an entrepreneur

Are you one of those people who prefer to leave behind the ‘security’ of a corporate job in favor of your passion?
Are you someone who likes to challenge yourself, who doesn’t mind how many hours you have to invest into your new venture or how hard it may be to overcome the hurdles of setting up your own business?

If you fit in this category, you will probably already consider yourself an entrepreneur.

It also seems to be the case that more often than not, entrepreneurship is in one person’s DNA and tends to run in the family.

In my own very particular case, I come from a family of strong willed entrepreneurs and it did not come as a surprise that since an early age, I knew that I wanted to be like my dad and wanted to run my own business.

I still even remember how in my first job interview, when asked ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years time?’, my response was “running my own business”. I must confess that at the time, I felt like I was giving the wrong response but I knew it was what I wanted. And I am not sure if it was because of that, because they saw it as a sign of ambition, that I was hired as a marketing assistant.

I was only 20 then and it took me a bit longer than those 5 years to start my first company. However, that time in between helped me gather an incredible amount of marketing experience, I learnt the ins and outs of working in small, medium and large size companies and how it was like working with teams and directly with clients.

Even though it did not feel like it at the time, I know realize how lucky I was to have the opportunity to help my parents in their various business ventures, from the early age of 17, which added incredible value in dealing with clients face to face, understand a bit about the importance of expenses or cash flow and it even gave me the chance to come up with my first and very modest small marketing campaigns…

You may have had a similar journey or may be about to embark in a new business venture. Congratulations on starting on this exciting journey!

In a way, it is almost like having a baby! You are excited; you think you are prepared, yet you wonder if you have all the knowledge, skills and tools you will need when it becomes a ‘living thing’ …  As in having a baby, you will be prepared in many ways, but you will at the same time, you will have to adjust and work around all the unexpected things that sometimes do not come in the books because they are just so specific to your business! And this is one of the many things why being an entrepreneur and starting a new venture is so exciting! And rewarding!

From my own experience and that of other entrepreneurs that I have had the pleasure to know or work with, I have put together a list of tips on being a successful entrepreneur which I hope is helpful to you.

1. Find your passion and let it drive you. If you do what you truly love, work will feel like a joy every day.

2. Make sure that you have a solid plan. Having a solid plan and path to follow are essential in giving your business the best chances to succeed. Developing both a business plan and a marketing plan are crucial steps to take.

3. Follow your plans and take your business seriously. Having a plan is essential, however futile if not implemented.  It is also important to take your business seriously as that will be reflected in everything you do. From how your company is presented through your website to the way you interact with existing or potential clients.

4. Use and grow your connections. Use any contacts you have to promote your business and attend any networking events that will allow you to promote your brand and to identify new leads.

5. Have a mentor. There is something incredibly rewarding about having a great mentor. Not only they will empower you, they will also be able to guide you and provide advice on how to deal with difficult situations, how to go about new deals or tactics you wish to implement to grow your business amongst many other topics. Make sure you find a mentor that you feel comfortable with and with whom you can talk openly about your business to help you grow it.

6. Be persistent and don’t lose focus. When being an entrepreneur it is easy to feel despair when a project doesn’t go according to plan, or when we lose a customer that has received much of our attention and time. Although these scenarios may make you feel defeated, never lose focus on the overall goals of your business.

To help you regain focus, go out for a walk, a run or do anything else that helps your mind refocus and see things in perspective. Remember that entrepreneurship is a journey and there will be many bumps along the way. The key is to keep focus and not to forget the big picture.

8. Promote, promote, promote yourself and your business. Yes, that is right never stop promoting yourself. Always carry with you business cards and remember to give one to prospects, people you meet at networking events, friends and anyone who you think may be in need of your services in the future – or anyone they know-.

Don’t be shy to talk about your company and what you do. If you do, you are probably losing opportunities without knowing it.

There are many other ways to promote yourself and your business. We will cover this topic in more detail in a later post, so keep an eye for this in the blog.

9. Give back. Yes, I know this may sound strange when you starting your own business, but giving back can be done in many different ways, and it will make you feel fantastic about yourself and the value that your business provides.

You can give back by sharing some of your knowledge and wisdom with others using your blog, you can give back to the community by making a small donation to a charity that means something to you or that aligns with the mission of your company or by opening doors to others in the form of offering volunteer positions at your company once this has grown sufficiently to add enough value to that person’s professional journey.

10. Never stop learning.  Learning should be also part of the DNA of every entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is a journey and along the way, you will be facing many different situations that you did not expect. Some of them will be extremely rewarding, some other not so much. Whichever the situation, the key is to have an open mind and to question things, what you are doing, why you are doing it, if there is a better way?

And don’t forget to keep up skilling. Now more than ever, there is an incredible amount of online resources that allow anyone to up skill in their area of expertise, from any location and at any given time.

I hope that you found this article useful and I look forward to your comments.

Ester