There’s no doubt that 2020 will go down in history for all the wrong reasons. But there’s one headline that we’re seriously happy to see: one in five Brits have started their own business since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Not only that, over a quarter are planning to do so in the future.
While the path to running a successful business doesn’t always run smoothly, those willing to put in the hard work and dedication can expect to reap the rewards: autonomy, flexibility, financial freedom and fulfilling your passion. The list of benefits is endless.
If you’ve taken the leap, congratulations! Here are some top tips for entrepreneurs to live by.
Tip 1: Trust Your Gut
Steve Jobs. Richard Branson. Oprah Winfrey. Jeff Bezos. They’re all well known for the emphasis they place on trusting their instincts. In fact, 62% of business executives say it is often necessary to rely on gut feelings and soft factors.
While the numbers don’t often lie, there are times in an entrepreneur’s life when going with your gut can help you make decisions that have far more impact than those that rely on facts alone.
Trusting your intuition takes time, but it is a skill that can be nurtured and strengthened. It allows you to take more risks and make faster decisions. Something that’s critical when you’re making so many in one day.
Tip 2: Fail Fast, Fail Often
Of all the tips for entrepreneurs to know about, there’s one that comes up time and again: it takes failure to succeed in business.
There’s a reason venture capitalists tend to invest in entrepreneurs who have suffered multiple failures and avoid the ones who haven’t experienced adversity. Failure is the ultimate test and highlights what needs to change in order for your business to thrive.
Embrace your mistakes and reflect on what went wrong. Learning from them means you won’t make the same errors later down the line. Create an action plan and build something bigger and better next time.
Tip 3: Stay Organised
You probably knew this one was coming.
Working for yourself presents a number of challenges, most notably staying on top of everything and learning to juggle various tasks.
Having systems in place from the start will help ensure you’ve set yourself up for victory. Here, delegation and automation are your friends.
On the online side, try leveraging the power of technology to automate repetitive tasks like email marketing, invoice chasing and diary invites. With so many online tools available, there’s really no excuse!
But sometimes offline organisational tools are just as handy. Step one is just to grab a paper notepad and make a list of the tasks you hate doing and take up far too much time. Whether it’s answering the phone, scheduling social media posts, customer service or bookkeeping, analyse the list and identify the tasks that don’t need to be completed by you.
These are the ones to delegate or outsource, freeing up your time to focus on growing your business. Alternatively, look to hire a Virtual Assistant to stay on top of the admin for you.
Tip 4: Never Stop Learning
Effective business owners never stop learning. It’s no coincidence that CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of 4 to 5 books a month.
Even at the height of accomplishment, there’s always room to grow. No industry or sector stands still for very long so expanding your knowledge and treating every experience as a learning opportunity will help future-proof your business.
Tip 5: Hire The Right People
Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. As Jim Rohn famously put it: we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. In short, the people around you matter.
Hire people who will challenge you, who will work hard, who can think big, who have positive attitudes and who are inquisitive. Your business will thank you.
Don’t aim to be the smartest person in the room on every topic. You need people who raise the bar to help you grow.
Tip 6: Shout About Your Business
One hurdle many business owners fail to overcome is learning how to promote themselves. It can be a daunting process to put yourself out there, but there’s no place for coyness in the business world. If you’re naturally an introvert, take some time to research some public speaking or networking courses.
Create an elevator pitch to include your mission, goals and customer benefits. Present it to your friends and family and ask for feedback. Continue to tweak and refine it until you’re confident it will hook customers in from the get-go.
Tip 7: Find A Mentor
Every entrepreneur needs a business mentor. The internet can only get you so far.
A study by global financial service platform, Kabbage, found that 92 percent of small business owners agree that mentors have a direct impact on the growth and survival of their business. A separate study by The UPS Store found that 70 percent of mentored businesses survive more than five years, double the rate for non-mentored small businesses over that same period.
With their years of experience and incredible network, mentors can act as a great sounding board for your business. They don’t have an ulterior motive and they can offer a fresh perspective, identifying any areas to improve or flaws in your business model. Best of all, they tend to offer their services free of charge so you don’t need to worry about escalating costs.
Tip 8: Look After Yourself
The days of 9-to-5 might be over but that doesn’t mean self-care should go out the window. While you may struggle to put yourself first, try to get into the routine of treating your health like a customer or client. Carve out ‘me time’ in your diary and stick to it. Break up the day by heading outside for some fresh air or ensure that you’re finishing off the day with some exercise.
There you have it: our tips for entrepreneurs to help feel prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. And one final piece of business advice? In the words of Susan Jeffers, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.