Ten tips for an entrepreneur!
Being an entrepreneur and starting a business I would say is more challenging than most other jobs. Successful entrepreneurs need to operate well wearing many other hats in a daily basis. These hats include a variety of functions: sales, marketing, finance, operations, HR, etc. On top of that, creating an enterprise from scratch requires creativity, persistence and continuous learning. Take a look at some tips on being a successful entrepreneur:
1. Make sure your team shares your vision- It’s simple really great people make a great company. As your business grows, so might your team. Firstly, take the time to pick the right people which ensures that they fit your culture, brand ethos and share your businesses core values. Secondly, one of my biggest challenges was letting my business be grown by others. Yoga teachers for me which take on board who taught in new ways I had to accept and watch as they took over the reigns! Which leads me into my final point of don’t expect people to be your clones. Be open to new opinions and suggestions. It’s always good to get fresh perspectives on old ways of working. Believe me when I say you need people on your team who share your passion but bring lots of different qualities and ideas other than your own.
2. Have a good business plan- For many years I have to say I winged being an entrepreneur! No business plan as guidance, which when I look back I gave myself no guidance. Of course I had an idea of where I wanted to be and ways in which to get there in my head but nothing planned on paper. Planning plays a crucial role in any business success. A business plan is a good place to start – defining your skills and weaknesses, what you offer, how it’s unique and how you plan on growing your offering. I’m talking a swot analysis here-yes really! What’s more, try to prepare yourself mentally and practically for anything that could go wrong and how you would deal with it-which is harder than you think!
3. Be collaborative and ask for help- I swear some of my own personal ghosts were put to bed because of the support I had from those around me. I learned so much from being collaborative with other businesses. There are loads of resources out there for networking, knowledge sharing and advice. Networking is not just for new business opportunities; it can be a wonderful source of support and fresh ideas. Attend lots of events around your area, I remember going to a meeting called Inspire network a women’s only group which was so supportive. It was free and I made many new business friends from them who helped me in my journey. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice from those around you and certainly don’t be afraid! I wish I had known then what I know know but I learned that your only as good as your knowledge and what you don’t know you should ask!!
4. Look after yourself- Being in a business where mental health and well being is a focus even I often forgot you can’t burn the candle at both ends! You and your family should always come first. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle – the days of 9-to-5 are over. Switching off can seriously be hard work! However I’m not not saying that it’s all working yourself into the ground. I love my yoga practice and it is important I take regular time out to relax as it helps clear my mind to focus. Good time management has helped ensure I have enough time in my day to spend with loved ones, don’t neglect them switch off!
5. Do it all on a budget- I’m talking marketing and growth where you can initially in a start up business! Even to this day I spend where I need to but not beyond that or else I’d have no business. You don’t always need to spend spend spend try and look to use free things especially marketing around you. In the start up days of Kalma Baby I used lots of free resources to help market my business from attending events where by I talked and networked by business to using free social media platforms!
6. Never stop learning- Perhaps one of my own key pieces of advice as an entrepreneur myself. Don’t turn away opportunities to learn where you can. I’ve spent most of my entrepreneurial journey on various training courses to further my knowledge and of course keep my mind active. It’s all helped my business and enabled me to offer other services in the business. Starting your own business is a constant process of growth and learning. It’s important to enrich yourself with both practical and emotional skills. Sharpen your time management skills and teach yourself how to run your own social media campaigns. You can also work on your management, presentation and motivational skills. If you travel a lot, podcasts are great ways to inspire and educate yourself. Read heaps too!!
7. Protect your business and staff- Which you may think is obvious to an entrepreneur but you would be surprised at how many businesses fail to get the correct insurance in place or have any at all. Don’t cut corners. The best entrepreneurs don’t seek risk, they seek to mitigate risk. Small business insurance is one of the best ways to look after your empire and it’s more affordable than you think. Make sure that your equipment and premises if you have one are covered in an emergency such as a fire or theft. Look after your team in the event of an accident at work insurance is crucial.
8. Invest time in a mentor- Even an entrepreneur needs a mentor at times and may not always be right for you nor give you what you need in business but finding the right one is the hardest part. My mentors were right under my nose along I just didn’t realise it, my husband Neil, mum Karen and one of my best friends Fiona another entrepreneur. I have spent many weeks of my life with various mentors taking advice and support some were not necessarily the right fit for me or my business so don’t waste your time if they are not! Mentors can be a family member, former boss or colleague or even a trusted online source or blog. A mentor is an invaluable sounding board – someone who’s been where you are; someone with whom you can have regular, non-judgmental check ins. Mentors can have a significantly positive impact on your businesses. Pushing you out of your comfort zone setting goals and making your more accountable. Generally giving you the reality check and slap round the cheek when you need it!
9. Prepare for financial challenges- one of the things as an entrepreneur I say to franchisees is save for the rainy day or the drought. Business can have a quiet spell. Have some cash flow you can invest to back you and your business . For a small business cash flow is by far the biggest challenge. Deal with cash flow by saving for a month’s worth of expenses or by getting creative with how you lower your overheads. Constantly review and be cautious of debt it’s a business killer.
10. Research and know your market- As an entrepreneur be prepared to put the hard work in initially . Another phrase I say often to my Kalma Baby franchisees. Knowing your market is key to business growth and you need to adapt to the times. Take the time to do market research and really listen closely to your ideal customers needs. Get really in tune with them to know where they’re at right now: That is different to where you would like them to be.