“What business would you like to start?”
– I’m not sure.
“How do you plan to run your business?”
– I don’t know.
“How much will you need to invest? When will you break even?”
– I have no idea.
“Will you be successful?”
– I hope so!
Not a pretty picture, this one. Any entrepreneur reading this – and that might be you – would want to give better answers to questions like that. Thankfully, that’s not the hard part although running a business is certainly challenging.
Starting and running is a business is the real thing. Not everyone gets around to do it. Among those who do, relatively few succeed. Well-run businesses turn into legacies. They bring in profits. They are run like a machine. Business requires you to commit. That commitment can be for a lifetime. To be able to survive the vicissitudes of business, to emerge successful, and make your business work the way it should, you’ll need a lot of elements in place. To start with, however, you’ll need focus, clarity, and purpose. Here’s how you can gain it all:
It Starts with Little Things
Entrepreneurship demands a lot. It’ll require you to take the leap of faith, work with uncertainty, accept challenges, solve problems, lead people, persuade others, manage multiple tasks or projects, etc. Since it’s easier and more manageable to take small measured steps, it makes sense to put these entrepreneurial traits to test before actually wading into the shark-infested waters that the world of business is.
Begin to do little things that relate to entrepreneurship, no matter how ridiculous it might seem to you at first. Want to see how leap of faith can actually feel like? Go bungee jumping or Skydiving. Learn to deal with people as you interact with them everyday. Start your own Meetup to learn how to bring people together, influence others, and slowly lead them towards a common cause.
When working on tasks everyday, learn to become more productive. Is there a way you can manage to get things done without multi-tasking? How do you fare when it comes to sales?
The journey, as they say, begins with little steps. Learn to crawl and then walk so that you can run.
Your Business Plan is your Beacon
You can decide whether you want to create a business plan on the back of a tissue paper or write out a 108 page, professional business plan in print. You may decide to create a business plan and use it to guide your own efforts or you might want to actually show your business plan to help fetch funding for your business from banks or venture capitalists. No matter what you choose to do with your business plan and no matter how you’d like to create it, your business plan acts like your headlights in the dark, your lighthouse in rocky waters, your beacon of hope.
Write out the business plan more for yourself than for others. You could, of course, get plenty of reference and help from the internet, where major players have shared their business plan samples and guides. While you start writing your business plan, give some wiggle room for changes that are bound to creep in. Seek balance in focus while allowing for pivoting somewhere along the way.
Watching Others Pays Off
Most of us learn from others, don’t we? Hit the bookshelf and read biographies or autobiographies of successful entrepreneurs. Along with the story itself, you’ll also learn how each of these entrepreneurs managed to focus on what they wanted. You’d also learn all about how they surmount their problems on the way to their success. Additionally, you may trace out entrepreneur blogs, follow stories featured on TechCrunch on Startups or dig into the chronicles of entrepreneurship by organizations such as 500 Startups and MyStartupLab.
While reading through all of these stories, digging into information, and from the experiences of other entrepreneurs who’ve been there and done that, there’s a lot that begins to happen to how to shape your own entrepreneurial journey.
Hobnob with Achievers
Take a reality check on the kind of people you associate yourself with and you’ll know where you’ll reach in life. Talking to the right kind of people helps you to gain insights. Discussing business, brainstorming ideas, and regularly chatting with your colleagues, partners, friends, and even family helps you to stay focused. Avoid hanging out with people who don’t relate to your kind of thinking. Stop being with people who don’t share your level of ambition or don’t believe in the things you believe in. Find a mentor, attend conferences, and reach out to communities that eat, sleep, dream, and think about business.
Let the Show Begin
Start your entrepreneurial journey without investing too much. Opt for bootstrapping by choice. Find others you can work with without paying them. Begin to sell your services for a fee. Find products you can sell online easily. Practice “single pointed focus” as Jonathan Mead of Zen Habits recommends.
Experimenting with entrepreneurship is the best self-taught lesson you could give yourself. As a rule, you’d have to bootstrap as much as you can. Avoid frivolous spending on things such as an office, fancy equipment, or even people.
Take the digital route: sell products or services. If you are interested in ecommerce, use solutions available that can help you launch a store without spending too much.
All you have to do is to start. Lessons will meet you on the way after you take action.
Entrepreneurship, however, is a lonely journey with many obstacles on your way. How well you surmount your difficulties, grow out of your own self, and make your business successful rests squarely on your shoulders. Look out for inspiration, invest in yourself, and watch your own rendition of magic.
How do you work to gain clarity, focus, and purpose for entrepreneurship? Where do you find your mojo? What makes you tick? Share your entrepreneurial journey with me in the comments!