See on Quora HERE.
In a word, educational. There is no business education like actually doing it. I ran a successful franchise, an unsuccessful e-commerce business, and now I run an e-learning business. On top of that, I’ve helped numerous startups and worked at some bigger companies. I love being an entrepreneur, but you need to prepare for some serious ups and downs. The people who are successful are the ones consistently work at it.
Here are the steps I recommend you take:
- Determine Your Strength – Business guru Peter Drucker says we have to start with our strengths, or we’ll never be successful. Read his book Managing Oneself. Use feedback analysis to understand what you’re good at. Here are two main perspectives you can start with:
- Big Picture – Are you better at strategy and planning or managing and execution?
- Daily Activities – Do you like to work by yourself or in a team?
- What Inspires You? – As I mentioned, there will be ups and downs. You need to be inspired by your business’ subject because inspiration drives two things:
- Passion – When you’re passionate, you summon courage instead of running away when the going gets tough.
- Curiosity – When you’re curious, you put in the hours of hard work necessary for success.
- Get A Mentor – There is nothing better than learning from someone who has already done what you want to do. This is why the (sadly) all-but-lost apprenticeship model was amazing. If you can find someone you want to emulate, do whatever it takes to soak them up.
- Learn From Your Competition – If you don’t have any competition, either you’re the next Great, or your idea’s no good (and I’m sorry, but the latter is much more likely!). Competition is good. Be humble, learn from them to see what’s working, and look to their customers to understand what you can do better. Read Sam Walton’s book Made in America for some true inspiration.
- Test Before You Invest – All businesses require some money to get off the ground, but you should spend as little as you can to get a prototype or minimally viable product (MVP) in front of customers. If strangers (not just your mom) will give you money for it, then it’s time to invest. If not, then you’re out a few bucks and smarter for it.
- Break Even – Once you’re driving sales, focus on your break-even point. This is where the business is making $0 (while paying its employees a living salary). Drive towards this moment with every fiber of your being, and everything afterwards is icing on the cake!
- Harvest & Adapt – This world changes quickly, so you must do two things:
- Harvest – Make hay while the sun shines (make money while you can).
- Adapt – Remain an expert on your subject and your business. Know what your customers want always, and if their demands are change, be prepared to change with them.
In a lot of ways, your business is like a child: First, you’re just planning it with your partner, then you launch and all hell breaks loose. After that, there are some hard days and sleepless nights while you work diligently away, but it all seems worth it as you see it grow. If you’re able to change and adapt as your relationship develops, it will start to run itself. Then, one day, it may take care of you.
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