Many people dream about being an entrepreneur and finding success with their own business ventures, but few are brave enough to take the plunge. It can be an enormous challenge to start and run a successful company for those that do, and there will always be a great deal of risk attached.
A startup is rarely an overnight success, which means that it is important for entrepreneurs to be aware of how they can manage and survive during the challenging early periods of any new startup. So, if you have recently taken the plunge or you are getting ready to do so, here are a few survival tips that should help.
Earn an Online MBA
First, an online MBA is a great idea if you do not have one already. Running a successful business is much more than just a good idea, and you need to know how to plan and develop corporate strategy, lead a team, think critically, and be agile, which can all be developed with an online MBA.
An online MBA will develop the skills and confidence that is required to find success, plus the fact that it is an online MBA means that you can fit it around your schedule and learn while you build.
Work from A Stable Financial Position
It is never a smart idea to create a business when you need money, as this could lead to rash decisions, put too much pressure on yourself and the business and ultimately lead to failure (and difficult financial situations). Therefore, it is important to build from a place of financial stability, whether this is building as you work the main job, finding ways to supplement your income, or using savings to keep you afloat while you get the business up and running.
Keep Business & Personal Finances Separate
Leading on from this, you must keep your business and personal accounts separate from day one. This will make it much easier to manage your finances, ensure that there is no confusion when it comes to completing your tax return, and it should also prevent you from using business money for your personal life and vice-versa – this never ends well.
Protect Yourself & Your Business
It has always been important to protect yourself, and your business as an entrepreneur, and the pandemic has proven why. You can protect yourself by choosing a suitable structure for your business that will create a barrier between your personal and business assets, which will offer protection if you end up with business liabilities.
In terms of protecting your business, there are many ways to do this, such as:
- Business insurance
- A business line of credit
- Cash reserves
- Physical security
- Protecting your intellectual property
- Terms and conditions
Become an Industry Expert
You could have a great business idea, an online MBA, and financial backing, but if you are not an industry expert, you will find it very difficult to succeed. You need to spend time researching the industry to consider yourself an expert, which will help you build a business with the potential for short and long-term success and one that can stand out from the competition and appeal to your target customer.
You need to know what the current state of the industry is, future predictions. Who your competitors are, who the industry leaders are and who your target customer is, and this will then give you a solid base for forming a brand that can find success?
Secure Enough Funding
As an entrepreneur, you also need to make sure that you have calculated your startup and ongoing costs and secure the funding for you to get set up and stay afloat. Cash flow is the main reason that new startups fail early on, so you need to make sure that you have enough to keep you going and to get yourself set up to a high standard – it is hard to change people’s perception of your brand, so you need to be able to provide quality from day one.
There are many different ways that you can secure funding for your new business venture, including:
- Venture capitalists
- Angel investors
- Bank loans
- Personal savings
- Money from friends and family
Keep Costs Low
Following on from this, it is important to get up and running to a high standard, but you also need to keep costs low to maintain a healthy financial position until the money starts coming in. Being frugal is always important as a business owner, but you need to make sure that you are not sacrificing quality or making work too hard for yourself and your team.
A few of the best ways to keep your costs down early on include:
- Remote work
- Second-hand equipment and furniture
- Leasing equipment
- Energy-efficient equipment
- Negotiating with suppliers
- Outsourcing instead of hiring
- Automating as much as possible
Develop A High-Quality Business Plan
A high-quality business plan is also important before you get set up and running and often essential for securing enough funding for your business. In addition to funding, a business plan can also help you to steer the ship in the right direction during the challenging early period and make sure that you are always taking positive steps forward.
As you will learn on an online MBA, leadership is often about managing the issues and obstacles that inevitably come with running a business. Of course, having a business plan is important, but things rarely go as planned, and as the leader, you need to be the one that can steady the ship.
The key to this is always to anticipate the problems and issues that could arise along the way and then work out the best strategy for moving forward. This kind of planning ability can be developed on an online MBA and should help you to make intelligent decisions even in stressful moments.
Surround Yourself with Talent
The smart business owners are the ones that realize their own limitations and surround themselves with talent. There is so much required to running a successful business and not all of it can be developed with an online MBA, so it is important to identify your weaknesses and the areas that you need help with and surround yourself with talent.
For example, you might find it helpful to hire employees who can help with certain parts of the business, but you should also look to outsource and use consultants to keep your costs down.
As an entrepreneur, you are certainly going to have aspirations and want the big house and the flash car, but you need to understand that business success rarely happens overnight. Instead, you need to practice patience and commit to being in it for the long run. It can be many years until a business finds success, and this is why you need to have patience and build from a place of security and safety. Additionally, you can stay hungry and motivated by setting yourself and the business regular and challenging yet achievable goals.
It is crucial to have a clear idea in your head and a business plan to guide the way, but you must also recognize that everything changes, and you need to be flexible and light on your feet to find success. The pandemic has been a good example of this as the companies that have not just survived but thrived during the pandemic have been those that have been able to adapt and be flexible whether this is making the adjustment to WFH, adapting their offering so that they can continue even during restrictions or even completely changed their operation to appeal to consumers during the pandemic.
Be Willing to Take Risks
It is very hard to find success in the business world without taking risks, and you can be sure that all of the most famous and successful entrepreneurs will have taken risks and made many mistakes in their time. Taking a leap of faith is often essential for growth, development, and success, and this should also breed confidence as a business owner.
Of course, this does mean that mistakes are likely to occur along the way, and you simply need to make sure that you view these as opportunities to learn and not let it stop you from taking additional risks.
Use Data to Drive Decision Making
Of course, you cannot simply take risk after risk, ultimately creating damage and leading to failure. This is why you have to make sure that you are mitigating risk and making intelligent decisions using data. Data can help provide insights and identify patterns and trends that can be used to make intelligent, informed strategic decisions.
Hopefully, this will allow you find success with your risks more often than not and find the most effective ways to improve your business.
Utilize the Latest Technology
Following on from this point, it is essential that you have a strong understanding of technology and know-how to utilize it when starting a new business. New technology can be expensive, but it can also help you to succeed in many different ways and level the playing field. You need to keep up with the latest tech trends and developments and use technology to improve your business in any way that you can.
A few of the best types of tech that you should be using for your startup include:
- Cloud computing
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Green technologies
- Internet of things
Get Your Name Out There
In order to find success with your startup and to hit the ground running, you need to get your business name out there. Many entrepreneurs have a great business idea but then struggle to raise awareness about their brand, which ultimately leads to their failure, whereas even a mediocre business can succeed if it has a strong presence in the marketplace.
A few of the best ways to get your name out there include:
- Digital marketing
- Traditional marketing
- Strong branding
- Referral schemes
- Hosting events
Continue to Learn
It is a good idea to have an online MBA when you start your business, but the learning does not here, and you should commit to self-improvement as an entrepreneur. For example, you could look to improve on your weaknesses, improve your soft skills, develop technical skills or take on additional qualifications which will help to improve your abilities as a business leader and hopefully take your business forward.
Similarly, if you have a team of employees, you should try to nurture and develop their talent to excel in their role, take on additional responsibilities, and know that they will progress their career under your wing.
Look After Yourself
All of the above is a lot to take in, and it is clear that being an entrepreneur is a lot of hard work. You must have a strong work ethic when it comes to running a business, but you need to be careful and aware of the “grind culture”. This is because if you are always working and available, it can quickly lead to burnout and this can both affect your performance (and the business) as well as your physical and mental wellbeing.
This is why you have to set boundaries, make sure that you are taking regular breaks and enjoying time off. You also need to lead a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle away from work, including being social, enjoying hobbies and relaxing.
Hopefully, this post will be useful to any new or aspiring entrepreneur and help you to survive in the challenging early times. Of course, you can learn a huge amount with an online MBA, but there is a lot more that you will need to find success with your business and reach the top.