Starting a business requires a lot of courage or a bit of madness. Challenges are plentiful, the possibility of failure is very real, success is uncertain, and many entrepreneurs will ironically end-up working 80 hours per week to avoid a 9-to-5 job as an employee. And yet launching a business, becoming one’s own boss, and perhaps even making a few millions, is a dream shared by more and more people! But do you have what it takes?
Onirade shares with you 3 absolutely essential secrets to becoming a successful entrepreneur:
1. Developing the right attitude
Starting a business is no trivial exercise. Even before you are officially launched, you will have to face all kinds of setbacks and challenges. This is inevitable. You will have administrative issues with the registraire des entreprises, your mobile application will not work as intended on the first try, the bank will refuse your loan application, your co-founder will decide to leave the project, PayPal will block your account… Here’s to damper your great enthusiasm of the beginnings!
This is why you should develop your self-reliance. Whichever problem arises, you must have faith in your ability to overcome it, and even to turn it to your advantage. Above all, do not allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself! There will be times when you feel like the universe is conspiring against your project, but everything comes down to attitude. The reality is that all businesses go through this; hence you should see each failure as an occasion to learn and do better. And don’t forget to keep your sense of humour! Any hardship hitting your project will seem a lot less dramatic if you can take a step back and laugh at yourself. Taking your setbacks too seriously often amounts to giving them an exaggerated importance and to let your motivation vanish.
With the right attitude, you will no longer be a spectator, but an actor. You will take your future into your own hands, confident in the knowledge that events coming your way are not as important as is the manner in which you react to them. The deck is not stacked in your favour, but your attitude is often what will allow you to triumph over adversity, where others will give up.
2. Knowing to shut up
If you have a business project in mind, you will probably be filled with excitement and at the same time a little apprehensive about putting your idea into effect. You will be tempted to talk about it around you, to your family or your friends. Resist the urge! Most people in your entourage are likely to dissuade you, by projecting their own insecurities onto you. We live in a world filled with envy, and the fashionable egalitarian ideas mean that a great many people will not want to see you thrive, because your success would put those who did not have your boldness in front of their own mediocrity. And those who sincerely love you may simply try to extinguish your flame to protect you from it. So learn to shut up!
Even if you are lucky enough to receive support when you do your entrepreneur “coming out”, you should remain cautious. After listening to your business project, your friends will certainly offer you unsolicited advice and suggestions. Take these with a grain of salt: your friends probably don’t know what they are talking about. If you were a doctor and had been talking about some illness, would you accept your grandmother’s theories about the appropriate cure? Only you really know your project, your vision. That is why you should talk about your project with fellow entrepreneurs alone, and accept advice only from successful business people.
3. Putting your goals in writing
So you have resolved to start a business… but where to begin? The size of the project can be daunting, so it is better to deconstruct the process into smaller steps and to outline a clear path for your business. This way, you will avoid false starts and procrastination. Decide right away on a date to launch your business, then identify all the steps that you will have to take in order to get there.
These steps should give rise to a number of tasks, and each of these tasks should be given a date for completion. Start by listing everything that comes to your mind; you’ll refine that list over time. Then, on Word or Excel, create a table of these tasks to undertake, in three columns: one for the due date you set, one for a brief description of the task itself, and a last one for additional notes or hyperlinks. Once done, you can use the “sort” command to organise the table in chronological order of the tasks to perform, so you can focus on one at a time. Assign specific dates to each task, and spread them across a realistic timetable.
If needs be, you may have to revise your timetable. It’s normal to underestimate the time required by a task when starting a first business! What matters is that, by putting your objectives in writing and giving them target dates, you stop daydreaming and spring into action. One step at the time, you will move closer to your goal. As Confucius said: “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”