The Do’s and Don’ts of Entrepreneurs
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
– Steve Jobs
Any entrepreneur could vouch for this: there is a lot to do when starting a business!
Being a businessperson may very well be one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. There are very few career paths that require the same amount of commitment, effort, sacrifice, and most of all, guts.
You have an amazing idea, you have so much passion, you talk about it with everyone you know (as well as a lot of people you don’t), but then fear stops you. “What if I can’t? What if it won’t work?” What if… what if.
I have gone out to a few of the most successful entrepreneurs in the retail industry in Australia, and asked them what they wish they knew before they started their business.
While there is no one-size-fits-all model for true entrepreneurs, it’s interesting to see that what sets them apart isn’t a list of super powers, but their actions. What makes them unique is what they do and, perhaps more importantly, what they don’t do.
I sat down with Jethro Marks, Founder of The Nile, and he told me that what people need to do is believe in themselves and their idea. “Many people will try to dissuade you from what you are doing. Don’t listen to the naysayers. The road less travelled is always going to be a bigger adventure.” He also focused on the don’ts and told me that “people say cash is king, but it’s more like oxygen. Never run out. Keep on top of your cashflow at all times.”
I also had a chat with Sarah Timmerman, Founder of Beginning Boutique and she said that entrepreneurs “should not ignore what other businesspeople are telling them – If they have been successful there is a reason! Find a mentor, take advantage of their expertise” Sarah is also a big believer in investing in the right technologies and she mentioned that she wishes that when she started her business someone told her to “invest in a software system that is cheap and hosted!”
Finally, I spoke to the one and only Tony Nash, Founder of Booktopia, who decided to share with me his top 10 advices for young entrepreneurs. Why not?
- Focus on the cash. You need money to fund your business and to grow. A cashflow plan is better than a business plan.
- Your website is as good as it needs to be to make your first sale. Don’t focus on making it perfect.
- Add anything about you and your business to your website that can build trust.
- Reinvest everything.
- Hire people who have potential. Hire people who have lots of life experience. Give people a career opportunity.
- The number one mission is to focus on what your customer wants. Always discover what they want from you, from your competition and from the market.
- Network with other businesses at the same level as you in different industries and share as much as you can without giving any secrets away. (Federica: and if I can add to this, attend Online Retailer Conference and Expo in Sydney J)
- Keep a journal.
- When you make mistakes… and you will, just learn from them and move on. No need to beat yourself up. You are in business. That is what WILL happen.
- Do whatever you can to get your customer to buy from you 3 to 4 times. If you do, they will have experienced great service, good service and perhaps a stuff up that you did your best to resolve. If you do that, they will be YOUR customer for quite some time.
I believe that we live in a time where is amazing to be an entrepreneurs. There are so many opportunities out there to grasp; we just need to find the courage to try.
So here is my advice to you, one that someday I will take for myself: STOP thinking about it, just DO IT! You can start small, and see how it goes, but you have to start somewhere!
The birth of a business is a bit like bungee jumping, the more you stand at the edge of the cliff, staring down at the unknown, the harder it’s going to get.
Sometimes we just need to be the leader of your own destiny, leave fear behind, take a leap of faith, and JUMP!
“In every success story, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision.”
Peter F. Drucker