7 Keys to a Successful Entrepreneurship

Owning your own business has long been an important part of the American Dream. Every year, thousands of people take a chance at entrepreneurship and launch their own business.

Many experience remarkable success. Small businesses account for 64 percent of new private sector jobs and almost 43 percent of all private sector payroll, according to the Small Business Administration.

But the failure rate also is high, with about 80 percent of all new small businesses failing within 18 months. The reasons range from not knowing the target customers to not differentiating product or services from competitors and or not properly managing cash flow.

How do successful entrepreneurs avoid the snares and pitfalls of business ownership? The following tips can help steer you to the right path.

Get Educated

People wouldn’t try to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer or high school history teacher without receiving the proper education and training, but many entrepreneurs rush into business ownership with no knowledge about the details involved. Many colleges offer programs on entrepreneurship. Some, like Touro University Worldwide, offer online bachelor’s degree programs with a concentration on entrepreneurship. Nothing will substitute for taking the time to acquire the skills and knowledge needed for business ownership.

Know Your Market

Not understanding how your product or service adds value to customers is one of the serious issues that plagues unprepared entrepreneurs. Much of this can be solved by drawing up a detailed business plan. It’s time consuming and sometimes tedious, but having a detailed plan on who your potential customers are and how you plan to reach them is critical to success. If you’re looking for a place to start, the Small Business Administration offers free tools to build a business plan.

Have A Financing Plan

Not having a financing plan represents another significant pitfall for entrepreneurs. This can prove especially troublesome for those who worked in the corporate world and had a paycheck deposited into their bank account every two weeks. Nevertheless, it doesn’t work that way when you own your own business.

The time gap between the expense of creating, marketing and selling a product and getting paid for it can be many months. This cash flow issue likely helps explain the high failure rate within 18 months. Before launching a business, have a very detailed plan on how you will cover expenses until the money starts flowing in (and be very conservative about both income and expenses). Wishful thinking about money will land you in the 80 percent failure rate category.

Communicate Well

There’s a reason communication comes up whenever leadership or business ownership is discussed. Communicating your plan and goals to your managers and employees – as well as clearly communicating the value of your product to customers – is another critical component of entrepreneurial success. The best product in the world will gather dust in a warehouse if people don’t know about it. Also, the best business plan cannot be properly executed without everyone involved knowing the business strategy and goals.

Focus On Sales

In a free market economy, sales people work on the frontlines of business. For many entrepreneurs, it’s an area where they do not excel. If sales skills do not come easily to you, then it’s important to hire someone with success in sales. Sales are the lifeblood of any business. You not only have to sell products and services, but also sell your business concept to investors. You need someone on your side with expert-level skills in this area.

Stay Flexible

People tend to focus on the success of business people, not the years of blood, sweat and tears that were behind that success. Successful businesses are constantly testing new products or making changes to existing ones. They invest heavily into those that do well or quickly change course when failure happens.

This area also includes the concept of failure management. Business does not favor those who dwell on past mistakes. It favors those who strive for continuous process improvement and who put mistakes behind them quickly. Apply any and all lessons learned to your next product rollout.

Manage Stress

Stress is no joking matter. It can lead to variety of health issues and result in you not managing your company well. Find ways to manage stress with exercise and a healthy diet. For entrepreneurs, it’s also smart to make friends within the entrepreneurial community and to surround yourself with people who have an upbeat, positive outlook. It also helps to read a lot about successful entrepreneurs, if for no other reason than it keeps your spirits up and your eyes on the goal.

Focusing on these areas can help you better manage the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. Of everything mentioned above, getting an education is likely the most important – a good degree program will cover all the other issues mentioned and give you the best chance for success in your business.

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