If you ask anyone on the street what the definition of an entrepreneur means, they might say something like this: entrepreneurship is all about starting one or multiple businesses and taking financial risks in the hope of generating profit. Knowing this we also know that starting a business is risky and most people start one because of two reasons:
- The freedom that entrepreneurship provides: being your own boss, quitting an awful job, being able to travel and retire early.
- The money that entrepreneurship can make you: the expensive lifestyle, the supercars, the hotels the mansions and so on.
So there’s no doubt that as soon as you become successful as an entrepreneur big rewards will be waiting for you both financially and emotionally, it’s a beautiful thing, but then you also have to think about everything that comes before all that success which isn’t that cool or trendy.
The game of entrepreneurship is actually very ugly in the first years of starting a business. It’s no days off, long working hours, many weaknesses exposed at the same time, all while you have to juggle many tasks and responsibilities at once and you might even have a family to take care of.
Entrepreneurship is about stepping out of your comfort and security and jumping headfirst into an abyss of risk, extremely hard work, discipline, and odds that are constantly against your favor.
But there are a few things that you can do before starting your career as an entrepreneur, to raise your awareness of how hard it is, to prepare yourself, and to develop the skills to improve your chances of survival in the business.
Maybe you’re working as an employee and you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur. Well, this article will also help you decide if entrepreneurship is actually a thing that you’re willing to do to achieve your goals.
So if while I’m going through this list and you realize that there are certain things that you’re not willing to do entrepreneurship might just not be for you.
Remember that all things I’ll share with you are things that you can practice. You might have a natural talent for some but you can learn and master any of these aspects so without any further ado let’s get into it.
7 Things to do before starting a business
1. Understand your market
Depending on the niche that you’re thinking about getting into you have to study certain things, you have to do market research and it isn’t enough to hire someone to do it for you. You can’t take shortcuts here.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll be in positions where you have to make decisions that will impact your business so you really have to understand the environment you’re working in.
Before writing a business plan or a strategy you need to know your niche in the industry.
The business has often been compared to war and in war, before a soldier starts attacking an enemy base he will gather all the information that he’s able to gather and study it in detail until he knows all that he can know about the structure of the enemy base.
The number of enemy soldiers, their night guarding shifts, their weaknesses, and more. That’s the same thing that you have to do, study your area of maneuver: what is your competition doing? what direction are they taking? what can make your business successful? what could make your business fail?
The more you know the more you can predict and adapt as a business and this is why you need decent researching skills.
There’s a lot of folks out there that have no idea how to find the information that they need and sometimes the first two results on a google search are just not enough.
So practice, research, and know it all about your industry and niche before starting a business.
2. Write a strategic business plan
So now you have all the information about your industry and you want to proceed with writing your business plan.
Your business plan isn’t just a document you show to the bank for them to lend you money. It’s your mission, your goals, your strategy, and your business model.
Clarity is very important in business because it can get very overwhelming very fast and keeping your mind clear and sharp is very important in these stressful moments.
Your business plan is a reminder of what you’re supposed to do and focus on. When you’re confused just pick up the strategy wrote and decide if what you’re doing is taking you closer to your goals or not.
3. Learn to motivate yourself and others
If you’re planning on having a team and managing employees you have to develop leadership skills and being a good motivator and getting people hyped up is part of being a good leader.
To really learn how to motivate people you first need to learn how to motivate yourself. Also, self-motivation is an important part of success.
I know this will hurt some of you but youtube motivational videos are not self-motivated. They can get you fired up sometimes but they aren’t enough to take you out of those dark dark moments when everything seems to be going against you.
The only person that knows everything about you is yourself so only you can get yourself out of certain situations and feelings. You know your mission, you know why you’re doing what you’re doing and you know what’s the exact problem that you’re facing.
So no videos or podcasts will ever be enough even if they’re awesome don’t rely on them to get motivated.
4. Practice money management
Entrepreneurship involves dealing with money, you can’t escape it and it’s a very important part.
You’ll have ups and downs all the time with your finances so having some extra cash that you can use in those emergencies is always good and could save your business.
Saving isn’t about keeping money in your bank account it’s about investing, but you do need some emergency funds that you can rely on in case something goes extremely wrong.
Money management is a skill that every responsible entrepreneur has and in a nutshell, it’s about having the discipline and knowledge on how to manage your own money.
Money management is a skill, and like all skills, you can learn and master it. You can use the buckets technique to practice this.
Here’s how it works: Create some imaginary buckets, for example, four.
- The first bucket is your expenses, here’s everything that is required for you to live: It could be about fifty to sixty percent of your income for example. Don’t confuse this with things that you don’t really need like your Netflix subscription and so on. Only include important survival-related stuff like electricity bills, food, and essential items.
- So now we have a bucket for all essentials the second bucket contains all your emergency funds. It’s a small percentage of your income that you save every time you get paid. It could be something like ten percent, at this point you still have thirty percent of your income and two buckets left.
- The third bucket is the one that contains all your investments and could be the equivalent of 20 of your income. Investments are all those things that you acquire that put money in your bank account also called assets. Assets come in different forms but it could even be stock market investments real estate or anything that can make you money medium term.
- The fourth and last bucket is the one that you use for your entertainment and fun. We only have ten percent left so that’s what you’re going to use for cinema tickets, concerts, random stuff that you don’t need.
Now, this is just an example of how you could learn and manage your money before starting a business.
5. Learn how to sell before starting a business
If you’re an entrepreneur you’re selling a product or service or at least you’re trying to your targeted audience. When it comes to selling it’s not only about selling the product or the service itself, it’s also about selling yourself and your ideas.
When you’re having business meetings when you’re talking with the bank when you’re employing someone you’re selling your idea, your vision, and your business model.
To learn how to sell, you have to practice. Selling is about telling them what they want to hear, you have to know their needs and try to provide a solution to their problems and a product that satisfies as much as possible that specific need.
As the CEO of your business, you’re a very important figure that takes very important decisions. So you should know how to sell which will also improve your decision-making.
Imagine starting a marketing campaign do you really think it will go well if you have no idea how to persuade people and sell them an idea or a product.
Practice selling by asking questions and being understanding and showing care to the client.
6. Get a mentor before starting a business
Before you start becoming an entrepreneur it’s better if you already have a network of entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs, this is because you are who you hang around with, and what better way of learning how to do something than learning from those that are already doing it.
Look for a person you enjoy that you can consider a mentor who is growing or is focused on growth.
If you get the chance you might even want to work for them Remember that no one owes you anything so don’t expect entrepreneurs that don’t really have time to give you their time for free.
So provide as much value as you can, get closer to that CEO you admire until you can actually ask for their time and advice. Also, this motivates you to the point where you’ll be excited to face your business demons.
7. Work ethic and focus
You either work on one thing and do it well or focus on hundred things and fail at all of them. It’s better to stay focused and as an entrepreneur, you’re probably wired so you just can’t help but take advantage of every opportunity and try many things at the same time.
This is okay when you’re for example looking for your passion or still figuring things out but when you decide what you want to do you have to ignore everything else in this situation your business plan will help you a lot.
Another thing that you need to get right is work ethic. There’s a lot of work involved. I’m talking 80 to 100 hour weeks and this can really be brutal if you’re not used to it.
So examine yourself and test your limits how much can you work and still function under pressure and boom that’s it if you practice these seven things you’ll position yourself in a way that will help you become unstoppable in business.
The most prepared ones will win, so don’t take it too easy and remember that entrepreneurship is an ugly game in the first years. It is perfectly fine if you don’t think it’s something for you.
So what do you think is entrepreneurship for you or do you prefer a more secure life. Let us know in the comments below.