When entering the world of entrepreneurship, most of us believe it’s all about having an awesome business idea. Then, a plethora of unexpected problems arise and we see we were wrong. When starting your own business, you need to have a great business plan to support you, secure your funds ahead of time, and keep track of industry trends to rise above your rivals. Most importantly, entrepreneurship is an investment in the long-run and, as such, it requires lots of patience and dedication.
Given these facts, here are a few steps you need to take when moving from employee to entrepreneur.
Keep your stability in mind
One of the most common mistakes aspiring entrepreneurs make is leaving their day jobs the moment they decide to enter the world of startups. This is never a good idea. And, stats tell us the same. For example, did you know that the majority of startups fail within the first few years?
No matter if you love your current job or not, your job brings stability into your life. Instead of worrying about your cash flow or the success of your new business idea, you can relax and enjoy the process of networking, acquiring new skills, building your online presence, and nourishing client relationships. And, once you start seeing the proof of your business’ success, you can consider leaving your job for good.
Conduct comprehensive research and keep track of industry trends
Having an awesome business idea is not enough to succeed. Your goal is to see whether it resonates with your target market. This is exactly why you need to assess the market you’re entering. Here are a few steps you should take:
Start with secondary research. Read the case studies, whitepapers, and research already done by influential people in your industry.
Conduct primary research by investing in quizzes, surveys, interviews, and questionnaires about your industry or products to see how people react.
Listen to your customers on social networks. There are numerous social media monitoring tools that let you follow your critical keywords and get notified whenever someone mentions them.
See what the most reputable names in your industry have to say about the market demands and the shifts in your niche.
Build a business plan
Once you do your research and gather the information you need, the next step is to focus on your business strategy. Creating a detailed business plan will serve as a roadmap for your entrepreneurial career and keep you out of potential troubles. Your business plan needs to answer the following questions:
What market need are you addressing?
What sets you apart from your competitors?
Who are your target customers?
How is your startup going to make money?
What marketing strategies will you use to promote your business?
When to get started?
What are the major challenges you may face?
How will you measure your business’ success?
Sure, you won’t be able to figure every detail out before you launch your company. Still, planning the basic aspects of your operations will keep you on track and help you predict your major challenges and take immediate steps to solve them on time.
Secure funds ahead of time
Once you create your business plan, you need to see how much you need to get off the ground. Of course, the simplest way to give your business a boost is to cover the expenses on your own, with your family and friends’ help. Unfortunately, even if this money can help you start your company, it’s not enough to keep it afloat over time. This is why you need to secure your startup funds in advance.
Avoid applying for large, heavy-interest loans, as they will impact your financial stability for the next decade. They usually have gigantic monthly interest rates, making your first profits seem ridiculously low. Instead, do your homework and choose less risky funding methods. For example, you could take out personal loans, apply for a government grant, or find an angel investor. Always choose funding methods that align with your business’ growth and resources.
Build your network
You can launch your business on your own, but you cannot grow it without the help of other people. And, this is where networking steps in. Your goal is to connect with the reputable names in different fields of your industry who can give you invaluable advice. Anyone, from an outsourcing agency to the industry veteran can help you improve your business tactics. This is also a great way to find new investors, attract future business partners, hire top talent, as well as build relationships with your potential customers.
Get used to working more
As an employee, you enjoyed flexible working hours, weekends, vacations, sick days, and spending long lunch breaks with your coworkers. Now that you’re pursuing your career as a business owner, prepare yourself to work longer hours to give your startup the nudge it needs. Remember, in the very beginning, you’ll probably be a jack of all trades at your company and handle the multitude of jobs, from bookkeeping to managing projects. However, this shouldn’t worry you, as your hard work will pay off once your business starts growing.
Over to you
Having a great business idea is just half the job. The other half is knowing how to monetize it. Your business plan requires lots of courage, passion, dedication, and strategizing. Most importantly, you need to mingle with the right people, listen to them, and start adopting the mindset of a leader.