Amplify success with these four impactful tips.
Are you currently writing a business plan for a company you’ve dreamed of launching for years? Or are you already in the launching phase of your entrepreneurial endeavor? Congratulations on embarking on the journey of being your own boss and enjoying all the freedom and excitement that comes along with it. As an entrepreneur, you will be able to work however you want and experience so much fulfillment in watching your enterprise grow. In my 10+ years as a software developer and as the co-founder and operating partner of CiteMed, I have discovered some impactful tips that would help any entrepreneur.
Take a Sales/Market-First Approach
A big piece of advice someone once gave me was: Learn to sell and learn to build. These are the quintessential skills for a startup founder, and while fundamental, they are surprisingly overlooked. I spent years of my youth laser-focused on building things, and then forgot to go out and try to sell them! The most useful ideas in the world will remain unknown unless you learn how to sell them as well as you can build them.
Focusing on sales and finding the product market fit relentlessly. Many businesses get too caught up in tweaking things, without going to market and trying to get better at selling what they already have. By taking a sales/market-first approach, you save time (and earn more) by refining your pitch on the fly with prospective customers.
You can boost your selling skills by reading books written by successful sales experts, listening to podcasts, and taking online courses. On top of this, check to see if there are any sales seminars in your area or online that you can attend. These events can give you the opportunity to network with others that you may end up partnering with in the future.
The goal is to never stop learning, as there are always new ways to enhance your sales tactics.
Find a Mentor ASAP
From finances to marketing, there are countless things you must think about when starting a business. Trust me when I say this: Having a mentor will take so much stress and confusion out of your entrepreneurial journey. I have spent a lot of time and money seeking world-class entrepreneur mentors. While none of mine are in the same industry, their insights have shaped the company we have become today.
The biggest impact that mentors have had on me is that they relentlessly focus only on the things that matter. As a business owner and operator, we tend to fall victim to tunnel vision and spend our days putting out fires frantically. All the mentors I have had over the years forced me to step back and look at the big picture. Where was our company going? What did our customers want (and pay for)? How well are we running our company? I have since always put aside time each quarter to reflect on the ‘big’ questions of our business.
You can find a mentor by attending networking events, trade shows, and conventions. Also, I recommend getting involved in local entrepreneurship and business associations in your city.
Focus on High-Impact Projects & Tasks
My biggest failures have always centered around taking on too much. Too many new ideas, new projects, new companies, etc. Ultimately, I think I just matured as an entrepreneur and started to find the true value of time and focus. Your time is your most precious asset as an entrepreneur, and you need to constantly try and spend it on the biggest-impact tasks. This almost always means picking one massive idea, and staying the course without distractions.
I think the biggest myth is around hard work. People feel that if they just work hard, things will happen. Instead, I say yes, work hard, but you should be relentless when it comes to analyzing what you are doing and determining if it’s furthering the growth of your business. You need to start thinking in terms of your time. Are you doing tasks repeatedly that are worth less than your time is valued? If so, you need to hire more people to do them. That’s how the growth begins.
Be Aware of the 3-Year Rule
Assume that it’s going to take you much longer than your projections to build a profitable company that pays you what you’re worth. Some people call it the 1000- day rule, which states (especially if you’re not venture funded) that it will take you at least three years to grow your business to the point where it pays you more than the salary of what you were making before. We all see exceptions in publications and on the news, but these are the outliers. Be prepared to grind it out for years without a big payday. If you can do that, you can build virtually anything into a successful operation.
I bring this up because I have seen so many new business owners quickly lose steam and give up on their entrepreneurial endeavors after the first year. They expected to launch their business and immediately see massive sales and huge profits, but then got burned out and discouraged when this didn’t happen right away. By going into entrepreneurship with the expectation that it will likely take years to build a profitable enterprise, you will stay motivated and persevere through any difficulties you may face.