You’re an entrepreneur, and you don’t even know it yet! If you often figure out creative ways to solve a problem or fix a challenge, you’ve got the uncooked skills for being an entrepreneur. And if you too are inspired by the ‘Be Your Own Boss’ fad, chances are you have already taken the first few steps in the direction.
Everybody will tell you to do your homework, spend time in preparing and becoming an expert, refining your idea, and network like crazy. However, as any entrepreneur worth his weight will tell you, the real challenge begins once you set shop: by setting up processes, understanding your market, giving structure to verticals, taking risks, doing things you’d never thought you’d do, and at the end of it all, challenging yourself to do better.
Here, I have listed a few decent tips for young entrepreneurs who are already on their journey to becoming a bigger and better version of themselves, who have dared to bet on their dreams, and who are willing to work for a change and vision that they believe in.
Starting out the venture is the most exhilarating part, but, as the business progresses, even the most successful entrepreneurs face bouts of turmoil. It’s impractical to avoid these situations, but you can use these tips to sail through them.
Always make it a point to impress. Impress your customers, your potential investors, your employees, yourself. Never promise or claim something that you already know you will not be able to deliver. You are as good as your word, and it might be tempting to suffix adjectives like ‘biggest’, ‘largest’, ‘fastest’, or ‘best’ while describing your organisation. But, refrain from using them unless they are objectively true.
A leader is as good as his or her team. Remember, as an entrepreneur and manager, you need to make sure the work is done, and not do all the work yourself. Erroneously, asking for help might be equated with weakness or ignorance, but seeking clarifications, knowledge and information from experts, mentors and from your team will give you invaluable insights. Find a trusted mentor who knows the industry you are working in. Set up a fund-raising team to take care of finances.
Be open to changing the initial idea, concept, approach, partner, model, and works after testing it on ground. Until you hit the nail on the head, there is no harm in experimenting, and unless the stakes are high, experimentation will actually be a great learning ground. Be receptive to changes – suggested by employees, customers etc. It is very easy to get defensive and ‘this-is-my-baby’ mode, when someone suggests a critical feedback, but being honest, brutally so even, with yourself is the only way you can survive it.
Pick your battles
Once you have a set course for your destination, pick the battles and obstacles worth fighting. Do not lose sleep over petty operational challenges, instead focus on stabilising the main drivers of your idea and concept. You cannot afford to go around convincing everyone who doesn’t believe in you, for right now, others don’t see things your way.
Someone very wisely said that startups don’t fail, they commit suicide, for their founders give up too soon. Give yourself and your idea time to manifest itself. Disruptions, no matter how big, do not happen overnight. The golden rule of starting things from scratch is that it will take time, and the struggle will be manifold, but equally essential to the process.
Find a stress-buster
You might not be doing every task yourself, but that doesn’t stop you from constantly worrying about it, does it? It is given that taking care of everything will get too much, and will get to you, maybe more than you anticipate it. You need to be able to find ways to disconnect and get in touch with yourself, to avoid being derailed from the path you set on, and to prevent yourself from getting too absorbed in the pieces to miss the bigger picture.
It is easy to be thrown off-course and into chaos by the challenges that are thrown while running a company, but the only sureshot way of avoiding falling into the trap is maintaining elaborate plans – both micro and macros, and reviewing them periodically. What’s more, get more heads in the review stage to change and evolve them according to how your performance has been, and to identify where you have done good, and where you need to work harder. Remember, you just need to identify how to manage your energies, and time management will effortlessly align with it.
Don’t be afraid to work hard. Pick a time you feel your creative juices are high. Keep a record.
Golden Rule: Make sure you are all in, and love it.
Use the to support your work – not as a distraction. Have a sales pitch ready – and at the back of your hand. Be humble – keep your attitude in check; don’t lose your edge. Keep the critics at bay – but pay attention to what they say.
Don’t be an entrepreneur because you think you can’t work for someone else, or you want to be a millionaire by the time you are 25, or simply because you think running a startup is more fun compared to working as an employee. Or because you want respect simply by standing out.
You can’t rush or force yourself into being an entrepreneur, without a solid idea or before the time is right. Many young entrepreneurs today trick themselves into believing that what they are doing is absolutely ground-breaking, whereas in reality they are too high above the ground to realise that they have merely repackaged someone else’s idea and concept and are trying to piggyback on someone else’s method.