- Do something you love
It is so important to become an entrepreneur at something you love and feel passionate about. Just think back to the days when you were in school. What subject did you have the most interest in, you naturally excelled, and what subjects did you have little interest in, where you typically had to push yourself harder to achieve a good grade? If it didn’t work for you in your school days, it definitely won’t work for you in the business world.
- Show me the money!!!
To start a business, you need money, and there isn’t any way around that. The only other option is to keep a full-time job and start a business part-time. Doing this, of course, very much limits your availability to your business and can stall your career from flourishing. As a general rule of thumb when you’re starting out your business it’s good to have a minimum of 6 months worth of income, plus whatever you need to invest, to start the business, such as computer equipment, landscaping equipment, machinery, office equipment, etc. The majority of businesses will see failure within their first 2 years and the reason behind the failure…MONEY…either not having enough to start or to grow. It’s a great idea to do a business plan before you start your business. Doing this helps shed light on what investment you need to get started along with a number of other things.
- Listen to Customers, listen to customers
This can’t be emphasized enough. Your customers are the best resource for feedback because they will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about your business. Listen to every one of them and adapt to what suits your customers. It could be something as simple as wording they find confusing. Every day, work at building a business that caters to your customers’ needs and wants and don’t take their feedback or criticism personally. Be thankful that a customer has taken the time to give you feedback. You will learn what is working and what is not.
- Know your strengths and especially your weaknesses
Even before you start your business, have a list of what you excel in and what you don’t. Ask your friends and family to be honest with you and tell you what they think you do not excel at. You may be an incredible landscaper, but administration is not your strong suit. There isn’t a single entrepreneur, regardless of the level of success, who doesn’t have shortcomings. The best thing to do is to recognize your own limitations and hire people who can supplement those skill sets, in order to advance your business much faster than if you were to try and do it all yourself. You can hire someone temporarily, part-time or as needed to assist you in these areas.
- Don’t go crazy spending the money
As your business begins to take hold, you may begin earning more than what you previously earned working for someone else. Don’t start spending money on personal items, but instead reinvest the money into your business and hire the people who compliment what you need to assist you. Far too often, you see new entrepreneurs who begin to see some level of success and start spending money on travel, toys, and some form of bling. Don’t fall into that trap, as owning a business has its highs and lows, its growing pains, its emergencies and its failures. The only way to soften whatever blow comes your way, and trust me it will come, is to have financial security behind your business to get you through.
- Work Smart and Hard
It is true that to be successful, it takes hard work and that is something that will never change, but it is also important to put your resources towards the things that you do best and to not become someone who micromanages every detail of their business. In micromanaging, you will slow down your ability to excel and most likely leave areas underserved for customers to complain about. As an example, if you are able to take $50.00 an hour out of your business, it doesn’t make very much sense for you to do the invoicing when you can hire someone to do this for $20.00 an hour.
- Take calculated risks
To be an entrepreneur, you have to be able to take risks and to have some sleepless nights. All of this comes with the territory, however, if you take time and think the decisions through, you can be surer that risks you are taking have a higher probability of being successes rather than failures. Do your research, understand the implications from every standpoint you can think of including liability, rewards, costs, resources, staffing and anything else you can think of as being part of the equation before proceeding. Any plan that is not carefully thought out can not only be damaging to the new project or idea but can also hurt whatever you have already built. An entrepreneur doesn’t gamble if the odds are not in their favour. Move on and find something else that is more favourable to you and your business. There will be good and bad opportunities that come your way. Learn to understand the difference.
To be a successful entrepreneur, have a plan, goals, mentors and support, but above all, be good to yourself. Take care of the people who work for you, respect your customers, have insurance, and always have money set aside. You will have amazing highs and disastrous lows, but take it all in stride. Learn from your mistakes, pick yourself up and move forward. Don’t see entrepreneurship as a cliff you’re teetering over the edge of, but rather as a staircase you’ll step up and down, just as you would in life overall.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our staff for additional information and assistance.
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Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions that you speak to a qualified professional.
Laura Harvey is an entrepreneur herself as the owner of Ontario Business Central Inc. Her passion has always been about supporting the entrepreneurial spirit and advancement within Canada.
Laura authors in-depth blogs for Ontario Business Central assisting entrepreneurs and business owners to start, manage and grow their businesses. She has almost 30 years of expertise as a corporate specialist and 25 years of being an entrepreneur. Laura has the unique position of supporting a community that she also belongs to. She walks the walk right along with you.
You can find Laura on Linkedin and Twitter.