Starting a successful business is one of the hardest things to do in life. You’ve probably heard about all of the statistics bemoaning the challenge—based on where you look, the number of new businesses that fail will likely be cited somewhere between 70-95%. But that number is flawed, as it includes plenty of half-hearted attempts and people simply unprepared for the commitment it takes to make any business go.
With access to thousands of successful entrepreneurs, we here at MightyCall posed a question to our community: “What should people know before they start their business?”
Below is the list of the most common answers, designed to give you the knowledge you need to start your business off on the right foot.
1. Manage your expectations
No matter how good your idea is, not everything will go as perfectly as it does in your head. Your business is not going to change the world in a month, or even a year. It’s entirely possible that you won’t see a profit (considering the money invested) for the first three years.
No matter what happens, it you want your business to succeed, you need to keep an even head, and the easiest way to do that is to manage expectations.
Had a lackluster month? That’s normal.
Not gaining traction on social media? Keep going.
Mistakes and disappointments are par for the course, so stay strong and don’t get pessimistic if things aren’t going the way you want them to.
2. Consult as many professionals as you can
This is a 2-in-1 point.
- Firstly, get all the information you can about the field you’re about to enter. The best way to do that is to consult people in that industry, whether they’re soon to be your competition or not. Scout out every inch of their website; sign up for their newsletter; try your hardest to get them alone to pick their brain. Everything you learn will help prepare you for the journey.
- Secondly, there are some essential people you’ll need to help you along the way: lawyers and accountants. Their roles will fluctuate based on how well your business is doing and what stage it is in, but the knowledge they have is a gift.
Accountants will help you manage your money and budget effectively.
Lawyers will teach you the laws and regulations you’ll need to work in your sphere. Without consulting one of these, you’re only making your fight harder.
Don’t trust Google or an app with information as specialized as this, go straight to a professional.
3. Know your target customer and why they’ll buy your product
This is marketing 101, but nearly every entrepreneur we asked noted this. If you don’t know who is likely to buy your product, you’re setting sail without a rudder.
Knowing as specific a target group as possible will help you focus on the details that make your product stand out to that group.
Standing out is essential too. No matter what the reason, there needs to be one why that ideal customer will come to you instead of a competitor. It can’t just be about price either, because that rarely is a successful long-term strategy.
Whether it’s something about how your product is made, who your workers are, or what your brand image is, you’ll need a strong idea of this before opening your doors.
4. Watch your money like a hawk
This may not be fun, and hopefully you’ll have an accountant to help out here, but no matter what your financial situation is, you should know every financial aspect of your business to the cent.
If you want to properly utilize the limited funding you have—and it will be limited—you need to weight the pros and cons of every business-altering decision. Is it better to splurge on rent to get a better location, or use part of that money to hire someone to make the best website possible? You’ll probably face a conundrum like this at least once a week and being on top of your books will help you maximize your money.
Additionally, knowing the full extent of your finances will help you live your life. Aside from the money you spend on your business, you’ll need money for food, rent/mortgage payments, and everything else in your personal life.
5. Be an expert in your sphere
Often, many entrepreneurs will tell you that they learned most of what they know from hands-on experience. If your business succeeds, you will too. However, today there is simply too much competition in nearly every market imaginable to go into something blind or under-informed.
You don’t need to know more than the entrenched competition—although you should know everything possible about them—but you need to know more than all of the other people trying to break into your industry. The more you know, the better chance you have at making the best product/service possible.
6. Know that your business can succeed
A few people noted the idea of a “test run.” While depending on the specifics of your business plan, a practical test run may not be fully possible, it’s a great way to get an idea of both your potential place in the market and how to improve your product.
A big part of the test run boils down to personal and financial security. It’s essentially knowing when it’s time to give up your day job and commit to your business without having your finances crumble to the ground. Whether you can sell your product on weekends, attend an important conference, or secure funding to give you the time you need to get your company going, you need to have some peace of mind that what you’re doing can put enough money in your pockets to make it a career.
7. Be ready to work, and work, and work
If you’re starting a business, you have to be passionate about whatever it is you’re doing, because you’ll spend more time working than anything else, especially in the early years.
According to most of the entrepreneurs who answered, 50-hour weeks are about the minimum that you’ll be pulling for the first few years.
The situation with your family, your friends, and your finances, to name just a few, will all have to inform your decision to start a business.
Can you handle a 60-hour work week?
Can you handle seeing your friends half as much as you’d like?
These aren’t pleasant things to think about, and too many aspiring entrepreneurs are surprised when these things pop up, but you’ll need to firmly answer them if your business is to survive.
We know all this sounds tough, but MightyCall has your back. Every aspect of our system has been designed to help small businesses and their owners.
To help you on your journey, we want to give you a special discount to get started.