Every potential entrepreneur has to deal with uncertainties and shocks during their entrepreneurial journey. These uncertainties more often than not tend to throw them of gear and give them reasons to doubt the possibilities of their goals coming to fruition.
In life, everything begins and ends with planning. These 15 critical tips are a prerequisite for any potential entrepreneur or an already established one who is facing setbacks.
Have a strong financial backup.
Money is the oil that keeps the engine of every machine running and in entrepreneurship, having enough money alone is not enough. One must have a sturdy financial health in order not to break down in the middle of the road. All liquidity problems must be firstly fixed.
Tolerate bad employees
At this stage of your entrepreneurial journey, you need both the good and bad employees to bring out the good managerial skills in you. Don’t be in a haste to fire supposedly bad employees; they may come against you and shake the foundation of your enterprise.
Everything rests on you
Understand that 90 percent of the problems you will face will be related to how good you are as a manager. Anytime you face a setback, look inwardly and nip the problem in the bud. You are the architect of your own success.
Value your team
As a budding entrepreneur, one must place immense value on the need to ensure that your employees are highly motivated and catered for to bring out the best in them. Ensure that your top employees are sacredly valued and your team players feel a sense of belonging and loyalty. The cost of losing a star from your team cannot be shouldered.
Learn to be assertive
The two most important words business owners and founders have at their disposal are “yes” and “no.” Learn to say them a lot. And that means being decisive. The most important reason to focus – to be clear on what your company does – is to be clear on all the things it doesn’t do.
Understand your customers
It boggles my mind how little most entrepreneurs value their customers when, not only are their feedback and input among the most critical information they will ever learn, but their repeat business is the easiest business to get.
Embrace meritocracy; shun nepotism
The first is how you run an organization – by recognizing, rewarding, and compensating based solely on ability and achievement. The second is how you don’t run an organization – by playing favorites and being biased.
Know when to zip it
Transparency is as detrimental at some times as it is beneficial at others. There are times to share openly and times to zip it. You need to know when and with whom to do one versus the other. It comes with experience.
Be discerning and courageous
This phrase is often repeated but rarely understood. It means that your own instincts are an extremely valuable decision-making tool. Too often we end up saying in retrospect and with regret, “Damn, I knew that was a bad idea.” But the key is to know how to access your instincts. Just sit, be quiet, and listen to yourself.
Safeguard your intellectual property
Most of you don’t know the difference between a copyright, trademark, trade secret, and patent. That’s not acceptable. If you don’t protect and defend your IP, you will lose your only competitive advantage.
Sharpen your writing skills
You know the expression “good fences make good neighbors?” It’s the same in business. The more effective your agreements are, the better your business relationships will be.
Treat business with all seriousness
Far too many entrepreneurs run their business like an extension of their personal finances. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Construct the right business entity and keep it separate from your personal life.
Be financially literate
If you don’t know your revenues, expenses, capital requirements, profits (gross and net), debt, cash flow, and effective tax rate – among other things – you’re asking for trouble. Big trouble.
Admit your ignorance and seek help
Humility is a powerful trait for leaders, and that goes for new business owners, veteran CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and everyone in between. More times than not, you will come to regret thinking you knew all the answers.
Behind every failed company are dysfunctional, delusional, or incompetent business leaders. The irony is, none of them had the slightest idea that was true at the time. Even sadder, most of them still don’t. Don’t end up like one of them.