You know in business, it’s either we are growing or declining. We are either trending up or trending down. The market is always changing even when we are not changing. There are going to be new people coming into the industry, launching of new products and services, basically new things in the marketplace. Constantly things are always changing. So, our businesses are either getting better or getting worse.

There is a lot to know when operating a business. And you cannot afford to stay stagnant. You have got keep the pace with trending, new information, learn more about your industry, learn about your competitors, and so on. As an entrepreneur, there are a lot of things I have learned about entrepreneurship.

  • There is no substitute for hard work

If you want to be an entrepreneur, then kiss goodbye laziness. If you want to be an entrepreneur you have got to be willing to work hard. There will be so many things to do and all of them will be demanding your time, energy, attention. I mean, those are just the few things. And it’s going to be an ongoing adventure. It’s not like you are going to do this and then rest for a while. Problems are going to pop up, there are always going to be things to solve or improve or create. You have got to be willing to work hard, or else you are not going to be doing very well in your business. Entrepreneurship demands more than 40 working hours per week. By the way, without complaining. You know, ‘why me,’ ‘why it is so hard,’ hahaha.

  • Love what you do

Perhaps you can say, ‘do more of what you love and enjoy.’ What is your reason for you to want to be an entrepreneur? If your reason is solely for the money, you may be in it for the wrong reasons. There is a chance you will give up during hard times when you aren’t making a dime. Make sure you are doing what you truly enjoy or love to do. At least fall in love with it. Because, when you do what you love, or love what you do, you will pour your heart into it. Your craft will become a masterpiece. You will stand out and become an expert on it, because you love and enjoy what you do. For instance; I love to write, but I also love to teach; and they go together I think. When it comes to writing and teaching, I don’t care if you pay me or not, I’ll still going to do it, in public or in private.

  • Become unique

Your uniqueness is your brand. As a writer and author I realized it is important for me to have my own voice in writing and uniqueness in writing so my readers can be able to distinguish me from the rest of writers and authors out there. If you think you don’t have any competition, you’re wrong. In business world, you are going to have competition. There are going to be leading businesses or comparable businesses in your industry or niche that you have to compete with depending on where you have positioned yourself. Basically all businesses have competition, and that you do better and different than your competition is your uniqueness. It is what is going to make you stand out. It will be your competitive advantage.

  • Customer is king or queen

If you have been looking at your customers or fans or followers or subscribers as just people or readers for instance; you are wrong. They are your potential assets and valuable possessions….hahaha. Without them forget such thing called revenue, or profit. Once they become your customers, they become your assets. They pay for your office rent costs, stationeries, some of your production costs, merchandise costs, other utilities costs, and pretty much your salary, so they do matter. They are the ones that make the business run, so treat them like the way you would to be treated as if you were your own customer.

  • It’s about giving value

Doing business is about giving value. People will buy things because of how they make them feel. Some people buy things because of what those things do for them; their benefits, their usefulness, and so on. Think of entrepreneurship as trading benefits for money, or shares, equity, and ownership. But keep in mind; many times entrepreneurs do not just sell products or services. They are selling why their products or services are better than anyone else. There we go again, your competitive advantage. What are your customers are going to benefit from your products or services, if we have to compare with those of your competitors?

  • Work smart

Don’t try to wear hats that you know do not fit you; perhaps they are too small, or too big. If you want to be an entrepreneur and become a successful one, it is important to determine your areas of strengths and your areas of weaknesses. Partner with those who have strengths where you have weaknesses. Work smart by focusing on your strengths and what you do well, and outsource other tasks or responsibilities to someone else. You can also delegate or hire someone if your business has cash to do it. You can’t be everything in your business; it doesn’t work that way. At some point you will need help, especially when your business starts to grow and expand.

  • Money management is must

A lot of businesses have failed or went on bankruptcy because of misuse of funds, or failure to manage money well, or shortage of cash flow. To be successful in entrepreneurship, you need to learn how to manage your money. Yes, you can hire someone else to do it for you, but still, this is a crucial area to learn, not just for entrepreneurs, or business finance, but also for personal finance. Start balancing those $$$…dollars, and you will see a little bit magic of a less stressful life.

  • Know your ideal customer

Your ideal customer is your target market. If you are a musician, you can say your ideal fan, or if you are a writer and author, you can say your ideal reader, et cetera. For example; who are you writing for? What are you trying to convey? Who will ideally want to read your writing contents and perhaps buy your products or use your services? What are you trying to solve, and to whom? How old are they, and their gender? What is their current job or ideal income? What do they struggle with that you have to offer them? In order to become a successful entrepreneur, it’s important to sell something that your customers actually want, therefore knowing your customers well is key.

  • You’re a salesperson

Remember that! You need to be able to convince someone that your business, products, and services are worth the purchase. You have got be able to negotiate prices with your vendors, suppliers, even partners, and etc. You have got to put yourself out there and make the first initiation to ask for your customers to buy your products or services from you. You need to promote your business on various platforms including social media networking services so that the people can find out about it. You have got to learn to be persuasive. Your followers, subscribers, and your email list will have your most potential and regular customers. You have got to follow up with your customers, before and after sale. After sales follow up is a great way to build customer loyalty and get people talking about your business. All of these are the skills and qualities of the salesperson. Entrepreneurs are sales people.

  • You believe in what you do

If you don’t believe about it, why make me believe it? If you don’t believe whether your product can help solve my problem, then I don’t see the point of me buying it. Honestly, I have yet to see businesses, companies, entrepreneurs who built businesses without believing in what they are doing. Because I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have lasted to this day if they didn’t believe in what they are doing. I watched this one video of Jack Ma, one of the founders of Alibaba Group, I don’t remember the title of the video exactly, but he said, during their first days and humbling beginnings, for three years they made zero revenue, but what kept him going was because he believed in what he was doing.

  • Mistakes are part of equation

Failure is part of equation. You are going to make a lot of, if not few mistakes. Guarantee; especially in the beginning. There will be so much to learn along the way. So, what are you going to do? Learn from your mistakes. You will learn to fall, and get back up again. You will learn to deal with failure and mistakes. Most of the time the idea that you will start with from the beginning is not going to work as planned, so you’ll end up tweaking it to something else as a way to be flexible with the changing marketing around you. If the first idea fails, it doesn’t mean you are failure, or you should quit; it may mean improve or try something new or different.

  • A great team means a successful business

As a team leader or couch, your success will depend on how you positioning your key team players. It is important to build a great team for your business, and then position every member according to their strengths. In the beginning you will probably be working as a sole entrepreneur, but when your business grows, you will be required to scaling up; therefore adding new members and team players in the business will be necessary. But honestly, sometimes even small businesses need a team. You cannot be everything. You probably wouldn’t have all the skills necessary to run your business successfully. So, you will need a great team to operate a successful business.

  • Invest in yourself

If you want to be one of the top five leading businesses in your industry, or to standout, or to become an expert in what you do, provide, or offer, you need to invest in yourself. You need to invest time, money, and energy into learning as much as you can about your industry, and become as skilled as possible. That could mean attending seminars and training that only top-notchers attend. It could also mean read books and articles related to your field and area of expertise, and subscribe to podcasts that you can listen on regular basis.

  • Have a vision for your business

You have got to have a vision for yourself as an entrepreneur, and for your business. This vision will determine your direction, but also should give a clear picture of your business’s purpose. For example; why your company or business exists? Where do you see it going in the future? What do you want to do for your audience and customers? What would be your ultimate end goals or long-term goals? Smart entrepreneurs use their vision statement to remind their teams why they exist to keep everyone clear on the direction of their companies and businesses.

  • Develop a solid brand reputation

Even though this may take a while, but it is mandatory. To be a successful entrepreneur, your customers, investors, and employees need to be able to trust you. You have got to prepare to build a positive image for your brand and business. As an entrepreneur, you do not want to give your customers a reason to write negative reviews about your products, services, and so on. It can damage your brand and business reputation, but also your revenue and profit.

Those are my 15 tips to consider if you want to become an entrepreneur. Even though it looks like entrepreneurship is hard, but it has great rewards such as freedom to work on your own terms, freedom to do what you love, or stand for what you believing for. But also it can be an opportunity to make a difference where other may have missed the mark, to create jobs and help other people earn income, and there we go the most famous one, financial freedom. Those are enough reasons to be thinking of becoming an entrepreneur.

Published by Helen Majaga