19 Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs Crossing uncharted territory is always challenging, especially for young business minds, so treat these tips as a checklist to keep improving yourself and your company.
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Young people have become more business-minded than ever — millennials and Gen Z members are impacting the world in areas like ecommerce, tech, gaming and food, to name but a few industries. While that's good news to aspiring business owners, running a successful enterprise requires a gamut of qualities, like passion, grit and patience. I've found that the following can help foster these, as well as arm budding entrepreneurs in other ways.
1. Keep improving yourself
If you want to become successful, strive for personal growth. Read more books, take relevant courses, practice time management and work on your people skills. Furthermore, work towards better health, because when that suffers, so does your business.
2. Do what you love
Some say that the best business ideas are those that brings a lot of profit, but what use is that if you don't love what you do? A passionate mindset gives you the energy and drive to keep going despite the odds. Work won't feel like work at all.
3. Learn to assess risk, and results
This is one of the most valuable tips for new entrepreneurs. And sure, there are risks that won't pay off, but whether they do or don't, the experience and lessons learned will become assets.
Related: 5 Ways Entrepreneurs Learn to Manage Risk
4. Believe in your ideas
A fledgling business owner is presented with virtually countless opportunities to imagine and innovate, but in studying successful launches around the world, you find a common denominator: belief. Before others can invest in your business, you need to believe passionately in it, and in yourself.
5. Surround yourself with positivity
The people you interact with greatly influence your thoughts, beliefs and energy, so make an effort to be in the company of those who have a positive approach towards life — whether they are friends, family members or other business owners.
6. Overcome fears
Whether it's anxiety about what others think, about disappointing a customer or investing properly, don't let fear stop you. Three tips: First, identify that fear's true cause; second, play out a worst-case scenario (spoiler: it's usually not so bad); and finally, embrace strategies to address it (perhaps mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises… you name it).
7. Walk your talk
People don't just pay attention to what you say, they observe what you do, so model the behavior you want to see. Furthermore, allow others (that includes team members and clients) to hold you accountable by asking for their feedback.
8. Trust the process
Got a plan that will move your business forward, then depend upon it, even if the progress needle may not be moving as quickly as expected. That further means focusing on what you can control, taking one day at a time and learning through each experience.
9. Build a strong team
A great business is almost inevitably built by having the right team. First and foremost, hire members that possess relevant skills and are truly good at what they do. Even more important, perhaps, is that they should demonstrate a willingness to learn.
Related: The 5 Crucial Phases of Building a Team
10. Learn from mistakes
Don't look at failure as an enemy; the most successful companies have failed in some shape or form, yet focused energies on doing better. When you make a mistake, it helps to ask yourself meaningful questions like, "What was my goal? What lesson have I learned? How will I prevent this in the future?"
11. Know your customers
Honing in on your market's needs and expectations enables you to create a product or service that truly satisfies, so gather as many details as possible about a target audience. This should cover demographics, lifestyle choices and buying habits, among other factors.
12. Appreciate feedback
Make certain that you use insights from team members, customers and colleagues — good or bad. In the of case of complaints or other critiques, it's vital to learn how to manage them gracefully, then apply their lessons. This isn't personal; thank the person who provided the feedback, then act on it.
13. Spend wisely
As a young entrepreneur, you're likely considering the myriad of things you need to spend money on, including tools and technology, office space, staffing and marketing campaigns. Make sure to set a strict budget, but one that includes an emergency fund.
14. Study your industry
Many new owners fall into the trap of making wrong assumptions about their industry, then offer the wrong product and fail to connect with an audience. Whether you're still starting out or are in the process of growing, always keep an eye on trends.
15. Go the extra mile
Businesses that go beyond customer expectations are more likely to have repeat sales. It's that simple. This can be done by working closely with a customer support team to identify common pain points of your product or service, as well as doing particularly rigorous competitive research (including what people love and don't love about your competitors).
16. Manage time
With the limited amount of hours you have each day, it's important to make a list of priority tasks. And while you're working, focus on the immediate task only; multitasking sounds industrious, but it wildly increases the chances of making mistakes, which — ironically enough — leads to wasted time.
Related: 10 Time Management Tips That Work
17. Always have a backup plan
There are legions of potential shocks to a business system, large and small; cybersecurity issues, conflict with clients and problems in your personal life, to name but a very few examples, can make you lose focus. This is why, to every extent possible, you should prepare for such events. Preparation is coin of the realm.
18. Find a mentor
There's no better way to navigate the challenges of running a business than getting sound advice from someone who is qualified. A good mentor should have a track record of success, be passionate about what they do and not mind you peppering them with questions.
19. Partner up
Partnering with an entrepreneur who's been in the game for a while can benefit you in many ways. You'll access a wider audience (something especially needed if few know your business yet), gain new perspectives and stay inspired.