Whilst launching a startup can be an exhilarating experience, getting it up and running can be anything but a dream.
The truth is, it’s really hard work starting a business and there’s nothing all that glamorous about it. Forget the fancy offices and fast cars, although that level of success is attainable – it can take decades to achieve.
During the early stages of a startup, every aspect of your business’s success will fall solely on your shoulders. And, if you start losing sight of the bigger picture during this challenging phase, you’ll find yourself questioning every step of the process and possibly giving up altogether.
This early stage will definitely be taxing on your mind, body & spirit, and is not sustainable for long periods of time. It’s imperative that you focus your energy on completing this phase sooner rather than later, get the business to a point where you can hire help, free up some of your time so you can work on your business, and not in it.
Launching a business is essentially an adventure in problem solving. – Richard Branson
Your days won’t be easy, especially in the beginning. You can expect to wear many hats to master each and every process from the ground up until you have the means to outsource or delegate. Don’t be alarmed, you will figure it out because if you don’t, it just won’t get done.
In life you need either inspiration or desperation. – Tony Robbins
Here’s the truth…
There will be great days when you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world and bad days where you’ll want to crawl up into a dark corner. It’s bit like being on a roller coaster in the dark, you feel alone, scared, there are ups and downs, you haven’t got a clue what’s coming up, but all the while you feel surprisingly exhilarated and excited by the unknown.
Yes, entrepreneurship isn’t easy but it’s not all that complicated either. One thing is for sure, if you work hard with passion and purpose, it will definitely be more fulfilling and rewarding than working for others.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. – Steve Jobs
If, at any stage you start to feel overwhelmed, confused or even stuck, take a deep breath, step back for a minute and allow yourself some space to think and process the situation. You will get clarity, it will come to you, and you will figure it out.
Also, keep in mind that so many have been where you are today and are more than willing to offer advice and practical solutions. Get out there, network and create crucial connections with like-minded people who can inspire and support you on your journey. (Follow LINK for upcoming networking events).
You will never know enough. You will always be forced to make a decision without fully understanding what is coming. As a founder, that is just something you have to get comfortable with. – Aaron O’Hearn, Startup Institute
The most important thing is to never forget why you decided to become an entrepreneur in the first place. This will help you stay focused on the bigger picture and keep you moving forward on your chosen path.
Whilst the entrepreneurial journey is an exciting one, the road to success can be a long and winding one. Most startups are a reflection of the founders’ vision, therefore, entrepreneurs must bring their own unique set of skills to the business, whilst learning to adapt to their evolving business in order to achieve the dream.
An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create. – David Karp, Tumblr
So, what’s the magic formula for a successful business? Unfortunately, there is no ‘perfect plan’ or ‘simple blueprint’ to ensure a successful outcome, and every business will face its very own particular set of challenges. However, there are a few practical startup tips highlighted below which may assist entrepreneurs on their journey.
For a startup, preparing a business plan is like creating a winning strategy in many ways. It’s an opportunity to look at both short & long term goals, and figure out the most effective routes to success.
With a thoughtfully documented business plan you will enter the marketplace prepared, ready to run your business effectively and ready for the challenge.
Not all businesses need an official business plan. However, all startups should have some sort of plan mapping out the vision and how to achieve the goals.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe. – Abraham Lincoln
I hate entrepreneurs with beautiful business plans. – Barbara Corcoran
On Taking Risks
Launching a business is a risk in itself, and many entrepreneurs leave the security of a job to venture into the unknown. Why? Simply, because they’re an entrepreneur.
Risk-taking is almost one and the same with entrepreneurship, and it shouldn’t steer you away from pursuing your goals. Entrepreneurs must take risks no matter how big or small they may be and see them as necessary steps on a greater path.
There’s no way to avoid them, therefore, the question is not whether or not a risk should be taken, but which risks are worth it taking and which are not?
Playing safe is very risky. – Seth Godin
The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks. – Mark Zuckerberg
Business is a money game with few rules and a lot of risk. – Bill Gates
A good mentor can add enormous value to any business, especially for those in the startup phase. The entrepreneurial journey can be a challenging and unpredictable one at times, and having someone to advise or guide you along the way can benefit your venture tremendously.
Therefore, when selecting a mentor, try to pick someone who has experience and connections within your field. Focus on finding someone who has started a similar venture to yours, and who understands the ins and outs of the industry.
Also, clarify your expectations and be clear on the role you want your mentor to play in your business to ensure that you find the ideal person to assist you with your professional goals.
Leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders. – Tom Peters
My mentors were my mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles… I grew up in a very entrepreneurial and adventurous family that instilled in me the idea I could do anything I desired. – Heidi Ganahl
A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within yourself, and helps bring it out of you. – Bob Proctor
Networking can be nerve wracking, but building a wealth of contacts is invaluable to both your career and your business, so make the most of it.
Firstly, ask yourself what your goals are in participating in a networking event so that you can select groups that will help you get what you’re looking for. Some events are based on learning and others on making business connections, choose what’s right for you.
Plan for what you want to achieve, think about the connections you would like to create during the event and beyond the event. However, keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust, relationships, and seeing how you can benefit one another.
Networking is one of the most valuable uses of time in terms of return, and not just in monetary terms. Sometimes, it’s not about who you know, but who knows you.
Everyone should build their network before they need it. – Dave Delaney
The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work. – Robert Kiyosaki
Networking is an essential part of building wealth. – Armstrong Williams
Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of time, effort and dedication, especially during the startup process. As a business owner, you’re not only responsible for setting targets, staff, finances and the day-to-day running of the business, you’re also accountable for every little detail in between, as the buck always stops with you.
It’s a fact, starting a business is hard work and takes years of commitment to achieve results, which is why many entrepreneurs just give up. Therefore, building personal staying power by taking time out is equally as important as working hard. Good health is your most important asset, and it’s necessary to reset the body and brain each and every day.
Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of pressure on entrepreneurs to adhere to this so-called work-life balance theory, which can add more pressure to an already hectic situation. So, let’s focus more on how we can create more harmony in our life on an more personal level, so that we can keep up productivity whilst enjoying ourselves, and avoid reaching breaking point.
Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live. – Jim Rohn
To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. – Buddha
He who has health, has hope; and he has hope, has everything. – Thomas Carlyle
Unfortunately, many first time entrepreneurs fail in startup ventures because they don’t truly commit. Even though it sounds simple, we all know staying committed to a startup isn’t the easiest undertaking at times.
The success of your startup depends on your ability to dedicate all your efforts to the growth and success of your business. Commitment is essential and entrepreneurs must know if they are ready to truly commit, if not, they must rethink their venture.
Stay committed to your journey and don’t give up. You’re an entrepreneur, enjoy the process, there will always be successes and failures, it’s all part of the experience. If you’re not committed to your startup, don’t expect anyone else to be.
Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day. – Jim Rohn
Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill
Don’t be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. – Richard Branson
Hope you enjoy the following insights from some of our most inspirational leaders.
Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you. – Tony Hsieh, Zappos
You jump off a cliff and you assemble an airplane on the way down. – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Co-Founder
Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it, the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me. – Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post
Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. – Michelle Obama