Hi, Ken Lear here.
Being an entrepreneur can sometimes be a lonely road. It’s certainly one that takes a lot of courage to embark upon, especially if this is your first time building your own business. But there’s a lot of advice to be had about how to be successful as an entrepreneur. Here are the seven best tips I’ve found.
Seek out a mentor
When you’re thinking about going into business for yourself, it’s crucial to find someone who can help you learn the ropes. They can help you build a plan for starting and growing your business. “Surround yourself with others who can support you on your journey to entrepreneurship,” says business consultant and life coach Nancy Sinclair Brook.
Starting and growing your own business is a long road, and it involves a lot of “sweat equity,” so to speak. Nothing will make up for the hours you spend hustling to get your business off the ground. But remember, “Hustle is an act of focus, not frenzy. Hustle is about subtraction and addition. It’s not about doing more, it’s about focusing on the things you need to do, in order to move your business forward,” according to New York Times best-selling author Jon Acuff.
Don’t be afraid to fail
As much as we hate to admit it, failure is a part of building a business. You can learn from failure or you can give up. But having a failure does not make you a failure. Jim Estill, CEO of Danby says, “Fail often, fail fast, fail cheap,” and that people and companies that fail, ironically, end up winning more in the long run.
Go with your gut
Business magnate, investor, and philanthropist Richard Branson says that more often than not, he goes with his gut to determine what projects to take on and how to grow his business. It seems counterintuitive in some ways, but it works for him and many other entrepreneurs. “Engage your emotions at work. Your instincts and emotions are there to help you,” Branson says. “For me, business is a ‘gut feeling,’ and if it ever ceased to be so, I think I would give it up tomorrow.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the more elevated and abstract details of your business, but that leaves you less connected to your customers. Webinar specialist, consultant, and author Jon Schumacher says, “Focus on these key areas: 1. Who is my ideal customer and where do they hang out online? 2. What are their wants and pains and what product or service can I create to help build them?”
Rely on the three P’s
“New entrepreneurs need to rely on the three P’s…Practice, Patience, and Perseverance,” says serial entrepreneur and parent entrepreneurship consultant Mary Kathryn Johnson. “Keep PRACTICING what you know and what you learn. PATIENCE is the absolute hardest part of entrepreneurship—all good things come to those who work smart, not just hard. PERSEVERANCE is my most prized skill.” Basically, be patient, work hard, and keep your eye on the prize.
Don’t neglect the rest of your life
It’s easy to fall into the trap of working at your new business all day and all night, but if you don’t take care of—and enjoy—other parts of your life, you’re setting yourself up for burnout. Business coach Kelly Thorne Greene says, “Don’t just create a formal business plan (unless you want investors), but create a usable life and business plan. Take the time to identify your core values, priorities, goals, and action plan for your life and business. It’s absolutely possible to have a successful business and live a life you love.”
For additional insight about leadership, entrepreneurship, and managing a successful organization, be sure to visit the Ken Lear Q+A page!