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Eight tips for aspiring entrepreneurs

By Alexandra Gavril - April 6, 2020

Thinking of starting your own business but not sure you have what it takes to succeed? While a good business idea is always a good start, you will need much more than that to grow and achieve your goals.

Here are eight useful tips for any aspiring entrepreneur that’s considering venturing into the world of business.

1. Find something you’re passionate about

We all have things that we are most passionate about. It can be anything from technology, design and writing to gardening, interior design or wine tasting.

Thinking of turning that passion of yours into a business? That’s always a good idea and one that most experts recommend. Why? Because when the work that you do is something that suits your passion, you’ll be much more motivated to learn more about it, keep going when things get tough, do better and aim for success.

So, if you want to start a business, make sure it’s something you truly love and believe in.

2. Do it better than it’s being done

Sir Richard Branson is one of the world’s most recognizable billionaires and the founder of Virgin Group, which comprises of more than 400 companies in various fields. He’s also written more than a dozen business books, including his autobiography called “Finding My Virginity” where he talks about the challenges and up and downs throughout his more than 50-year career as an entrepreneur.

In an interview on 30 Days of Genius with CreativeLive, Branson shared some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business of their own:

“The best businesses come from people’s bad personal experiences. If you just keep your eyes open, you’re going to find something that frustrates you, and then you think, ‘well I could maybe do it better than it’s being done,’ and there you have a business.”

“If you can improve people’s lives, you have a business. […] People think, ‘well everything’s been thought of,’ but actually, all of the time, there are gaps in the market here and gaps in the market there, ways of improving things.”

So, if you want to start a business but don’t yet have an idea, think of a problem that you have or have experienced that’s related to something that’s near and dear to you. Then fix it and turn that solution into a business.

3. Do your homework. Start with a simple Google search

So you came up with an amazing business idea that you’re passionate and so excited about. You do a Google search (which is a must, so make sure you don’t skip it) and there’s no business doing exactly what it is you plan to do.

You then share your big idea with a few friends who all say, “oh, wow, that’s a great idea. I’ve never heard of anything like that. I’d definitely buy it.” That gets your hopes and excitement even higher.

Here’s the thing: if you can’t find a similar business on Google, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it hasn’t been done before. It’s possible lots of other people have tried that idea, only to find it doesn’t work so they went out of business.

In fact, sometimes seeing similar businesses succeeding is a sign that your idea works.

Whether there’s no business like yours, or hundreds, it’s important that you use your Google search as the starting point for the next piece of advice.

4. Know your industry and customer

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur is try to get into an industry you don’t know much about or to build and sell a product or a service to a customer you don’t know well.

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to know everything there is to know about the market you’re trying to get into, as well as your ideal customer.

Why is this so important? Because it doesn’t matter how amazing your idea is if no one is going to pay attention or care.

Bottom line: you can’t successfully launch and grow a business if you don’t have the right strategy. And the right strategy doesn’t exist unless you get to know your customers, competitors and industry very well.

This is vital information you need to determine how best to reach your target audience, get them to care, trust and buy from you, and hopefully fall in love with your brand.

You can learn how to conduct competitor research in this guide.

5. Validate your business idea early

Have a fantastic idea? Great. But if you don’t do anything with it, you aren’t going to be as successful as you want to be. And how can you if you don’t put it out there to see whether or not your customers want it?

Don’t wait to get started. Don’t wait until you have more experience, more money, or the perfect version of whatever it is you want to sell.

It doesn’t need more polishing. It doesn’t need to be perfect. In fact, it’s never going to be perfect. What it needs is to be out there for people to discover and try and share their feedback.

In simple words, you need to validate your business idea to ensure that there’s market demand for the problem you’re trying to solve, and that your audience is as excited about your idea as you are.

Read this post for useful tips and advice on how to easily test the waters for your new business idea without spending lots of time or money.

6. Surround yourself with experts

Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you need to do everything yourself. On the contrary, it’s knowing you can’t and shouldn’t have to. We live in a world where forums, groups and experts in absolutely everything are just a Google search away.

So, if you want to grow your business, focus on that. Join groups, forums and organisations to get answers, guidance and information. Hire experts with the right skills you need to help with other aspects of your business.

There are also a wide range of tools you can use to make your business life easier. For example, a website builder like the one offered by 123 Reg lets you create your own business website in a matter of hours, and you don’t need any technical knowledge.

7. Manage energy, not time

In today’s world, being an entrepreneur no longer means working hard, long hours, but working smart. It’s no longer about doing more but about focusing your time and energy on the essential things that can help move your business forward.

What does working smart mean exactly? It means learning to be productive so your time and energy are well-spent on the key things that can grow your business. It also means outsourcing tasks that professionals can take over and maybe even do better than you.

Check out these two articles to find out:

8. Always believe in yourself and in your vision

The secret to success isn’t actually a secret. If you want to succeed, you need to believe in your abilities and in your business idea. If you trust that you have what it takes to succeed, no matter the challenges and obstacles ahead, then you will.

Just make sure you’re persistent and find ways to motivate yourself to keep going when things get hard because they will.

Wrapping up

Entrepreneurship is hard. There will be lots of ups and downs, just like everything else in life. That’s why it’s important that you prepare yourself for all the challenges you might face along the way. Hopefully, you find these eight tips useful as you launch your own business. Good luck!