A smooth transition from employee to entrepreneur dissolves in a sea of late payments for the first year as an entrepreneur, but it often feels amazing even as late shipments and machines malfunction. Interspersed with the chaos are shafts of sunlight that get you up in the morning with a sense of hope and desire to go on. Money Examiners asked some entrepreneurs who are more than one year into owning their own shop to give our readers some insight into how they would improve that first year. Here is what they had to say.
1. Don’t Believe You Can Go it Alone. The entrepreneur knows there are only 24 hours in a day, but they rarely act on that information. When things start to go south, the entrepreneur robs from part of tonight’s sleep, intending to make it up tomorrow. That only makes matters worse.
What to do? Identify the crucial areas of the business in which you don’t have enough overall expertise. Recruit skilled help in these areas. Monster.com can help. Only hire people who have more knowledge than you where those areas are concerned. Yes, you will have higher costs, but you will drive growth with this bold move.
2. Take “No” for an Answer: When an entrepreneur first begins, they have a limited number of networked contacts. So they hit these contacts up again and again. So you just opened a restaurant. Even your best friend won’t dine there four times a week. You just wrote a book. The ratio of people who “can’t wait” to those who actually read it is discouragingly high. It’s okay.
What to do? Reach for a bigger world. As new people come into your restaurant, they will tell others (who you also don’t know). Soon, your dining area is teeming with folks you have never met. Doesn’t that feel great? They are there because they want to be there, and not out of obligation to a friend.
3. Be sure production matches demand. Maybe you have friends who come to the restaurant frequently or actually want a copy of the book. Make sure to have enough food and enough books to go around. If you turn one person away, they will tell ten people their troubles.
What to do? You’re not turning down a sale, so that’s no help. Examine your pipeline, understanding choke points along the way. What happens if you oversell? Make sure flexibility and efficiency are in your process.
4. Enjoy little successes along the way. There is a common misconception that an afternoon to enjoy success breeds malaise. Quite the opposite. Enjoying your journey will make the work feel easier. It sets up a positive culture within the business.
What to do? Plan an event that isn’t work-related. Host lunch when a transaction goes your way. These small things are how you recognize the little victories and for your employees to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
You are on your way to beating the odds and becoming a successful entrepreneur. Enjoy the process and the ride, because you have a good run ahead of you.