There are many experts that can teach you how to be a successful entrepreneur, but how many can tell you what not to do? Since it’s much easier to fail, then to succeed, let’s start there.
You are probably within the target audience of “under 30” so appreciate the resources and insight that is available to you which were unimaginable 25 years ago. As someone who is “unemployable”, you may be a consummate entrepreneur for your entire working life. But what you have in your favor during your younger years- energy, optimism and enthusiasm- can be damaged by lack of mentorship, focus, and guidance. Those are critical ingredients and ones you must seek out.
Are entrepreneurs born that way or are they or can they be made? Some think that most were born with this innate drive to do their own thing and have a difficult time keeping a job. That is many times is true, but there is so much opportunity available today with technology innovations and the speed that it changes, so many are created due to seeing a need and filling it. “From adversity comes opportunity”, so always be aware of the needs and how you can fill them.
Here are some observations of things that are often done badly. Do you recognize anything that you may have been guilty of trying?
“I have an idea!” you exclaim.
It “seems” brilliant and I will dive in head first and make it work no matter what. Great intent, but unless your idea truly is brilliant it may be a waste of time, talent, money and resources. UNLESS you do your homework first. By all means explore every possible outcome and plan for the worst while hoping for the best. Don’t let your consummate optimism get the better of you and always think that this “new idea” is the Big One that will lead you to fame and fortune. Many tend to leap before they look and it is advised you not do that.
“This idea that I have is huge and will absolutely succeed.”
A sub-set of the last one. I will find an office, hire staff, and ready myself for the onslaught of business that is sure to come. Uh, duh! Hello? Start small, build into it. You are better off busting at the seams and pressed for room rather than have wasted space and overhead sucking you dry. Today you can do so much with so little it boggles the mind. Smart phones, anywhere, anytime web access, availability of on-line resources that in years past had to be sought out, are all available without incurring needless expenses.
“I have to quit my job so I can put more time into my project. I have great faith that I can make it work.”
Maybe. Rarely is it fruitful to leave your career to venture into a new idea until that venture proves itself. Depending upon your path, your brilliant idea may be congruent with your talents and position or they may be totally different. Regardless, before you throw caution to the wind, make sure the timing is right, and that approach is more critical today than ever before.
“I can do this on my own and I really don’t need any help, direction or a business plan.”
To coin an overused cliché, “Those that fail to plan are planning to fail.” It may sound old fashioned and outdated, but a solid, well thought out business plan has never been more vital. At the least it will hone in your concept, marketing plan, and as important, help you determine whether your assumptions are possible, probable or way out of line. There are scores of free services available and the better you lay out your map, the better the odds of reaching your destination.
Are some of these common sense or over simplistic? Possibly. You may find that common sense is not that common. By all means try new things, but be sure you get a foundation based in wisdom, education, and mentorship.
Norm Bour merged his company with, and is now part, of the OPIS Network which offers 360 degrees of business services, including their revolutionary OPIS Strategies 90-day business transformation program. His web site is www.asknorm.com and Norm will be back on the radio in November as part of the SBradio network.
Category: Startup Advice