Some people are afraid of the entrepreneur journey. Maybe they don’t think that their idea is good enough. Maybe they think they need to take one more class, webinar, or job position to become skilled enough. Actually, I’m here to tell you that you have enough already. If you are considering striking it out on your own and leave the corporate rat race behind, keep reading and see how the following resonates with you.
There are several trade-offs with being an entrepreneur, but for those who embark on the journey a vast majority that I have communicated with have said that the journey is worth it. Here’s advice from my fellow entrepreneurs.
Own Your Time
Entrepreneurs want control over their time and schedule. They are not interested in allowing businesses and corporations dictate the hours that they work or the schedule they keep. Although starting a business takes extra hours to gain traction, the schedule is still set by the entrepreneur. Parents who want to attend their children’s activities can make plans to accommodate the events and build their workday around those times. Those that are tired of rush hour commutes may determine that working at home or with an easier commute is worth the risk of building a business of their choosing.
We’re not going to kid you about this. Being an entrepreneur, especially in the start-up phase, takes hard work. There is risk involved, and there will be long hours. However, the trade-off is that you are building something you own. There will be days you really have to hustle to bring in that new account or keep your cash flow balanced. In the beginning of your adventure, you will be responsible for many tasks that you would like to hand-off. Bookkeeping may have to be completed at night after a full day’s work, for example. You might need to learn technology skills that you ‘d rather not focus on, but until you’ve got the cash flow, it stays on your desk. Think of these times as temporary inconveniences for permanent improvements as you travel the entrepreneur journey.
Mike Michalowicz has a very valuable profit building system called profit first. Learn it and incorporate it into your business. When revenue starts to flow into the company, take out a small percentage for profit, a slightly larger percentage for your pay, a percentage for taxes and the rest is left to cover operating expenses. For example, if $1000 comes into the business, set aside $50 for profit, $100 for salary, $50 for taxes and use the rest to cover operating expenses. By the way, each should be deposited into separate bank accounts so that you aren’t tempted to spend set asides on expenses. This habit teaches you to build profit from the beginning and let it grow for that “rainy day.” The same rule applies for the other buckets of money. The percentages will change as your business grows, but the important lesson it to build profit first and don’t fall into the habit of running a business with nothing to show for the effort. First and foremost, you’re in this entrepreneur journey to make a profit.
Networking with other professionals is an extremely valuable activity. Although it may seem that attending various networking events and participating in professional organizations is simply another task to add to an already busy workday, the payoff is worth it. Through networking, you build connections and relationships. These relationships can lead to referrals which build your business. So, after a long day at the office, clinging a glass of wine with other business professionals will be rewarding as you make friends and build the business.
An important aspect of the entrepreneur journey is surveying future trends. Being able to predict and plan for changing conditions in the marketplace keeps your business relevant and profitable. Obviously, you set the direction and goals for your company. By envisioning where the company will develop in the future, you establish where and how the company will make its money. How do you predict the future? The answer is through solid market research. Learn what the consumers want, deliver that product or service and encourage a marketing environment around that market.
You’re busy running your company, yet there is ample reason to celebrate your wins. Celebrate your wins with your team members. Celebrating reinforces what success looks like; it motivates all involved that will carry them through to their next achievement. By celebrating together, the bonds among the workforce are strengthened. Celebration doesn’t have to be a lavish affair, it could be an after-hours get together, or hand-written notes to the individuals involved, or recognition in a newsletter. Success can range from hitting a target on the way to meeting an annual goal, bringing in a new client, or implementing a cost-saving procedure.
The entrepreneur journey is tough, and celebrating is one way to keep going. Lift your focus from the tasks on your desk to survey future trends and don’t forget to build your support networking. We have written a book that provides everthing you need to know to navigate your business-building journey!
ENTREPRENEUR TO CEO: FROM BUSINESS STARTUP TO THRIVING ENTERPRISE charts a course through the five stages of transitioning from one leadership role to the other. We break down the sequential movement through this five-phase process. From building a solid foundation, managing dialy operations, and onboarding the best talent–to scaling your business, stepping into mastering strategy and time management–and even preparing to sell and exit your enterprise, you will learn what you need to expect and know in order to increase your odds of success on every level.