As a women entrepreneur, I have had experience in building businesses from the bottom up. It is hard work, and there are times when an entrepreneur experiences rough patches, but with perseverance, thoughtful planning and self-belief, the results can be very rewarding. Here are tips to navigate through the rough times and create a smooth sailing future.
Starting a new business can and will be really difficult. There is a lot to think about and much planning to be done to get a business off the ground. There are long hours involved in business start-ups as you begin with limited staffing—it might just be you—and there are always unexpected situations that arise. It can be a steep learning curve, but journal your business progress, noting what you have learned through experiences, and over time the decision-making will become more precise and you can begin to progress toward your goals.
You will lose focus. Working with intensity and prolonged concentration can be very challenging. In a new business, there are a lot of details in a variety of operational areas. It can become overwhelming, brain-draining and confusing. Don’t be surprised when you lose focus on such occasions. Just take a break to get your head cleared, and start again.
Know your inner compass. Knowing what values you own and what passions you hold are important during times of uncertainty as you grow a new business. You know what business practices you can embrace and what is outside your comfort zone. Stay the course of your inner compass, aligning your values, passions and goals to create your sense of vision.
Build in time to plan. When building your own business, you may be in a hurry to achieve success, and each day you may find yourself handling one urgent situation after another. Step back and ask yourself, “Am I running this business, or is the business running me?” Building in time to plan future projects and assess your progress is essential to growing a successful business. Planning your work and working your plan allow forward progress and less stress.
You are going to make mistakes. No one owns a crystal ball that can accurately predict the future ups and downs in our business economy. You can assess a given situation and create plans, but not everything you do will work correctly. Mistakes will be made. Own your mistakes and learn from them. Such a perspective allows you to gain wisdom and become a more successful entrepreneur.
Ask for help. Take advantage of those around you who can help you with your business. It is exhausting and foolish to try to do it all when it comes to running a new endeavor. There is a lot of expertise needed to successfully launch and run a new business. You may know your business niche, but what about legal issues, financial considerations, government regulations, and marketing strategies! There are experts in those areas who can help you. Don’t try to do it all by yourself.
Maintain your network of friends. Having a support network is critical to keeping a balanced perspective and guarding against early burnout. Your friends are your best allies and can offer honest feedback as well as sharing in life outside of the business.
Maintain a sense of optimism. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. They also are optimistic. When times get tough, remember why you started this business, and remember what the strengths are that you bring to this new adventure. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Trust yourself. Self confidence is an important characteristic for entrepreneurs as they start their new business ventures. If a challenge arises, trust your instincts, thinking processes and problem solving capabilities. Believing in your own expertise will allow you to continue putting one step in front of the other moving toward your goals. Using your trusted network of friends will also keep your instincts clearly checked.
Give back. Entrepreneurs are the heart of small business development, and it is a gratifying feeling to be able to help others who are beginning where you once were, giving advice to make their journey a little less treacherous. Sharing your wisdom is a nice reminder that you have successfully negotiated the difficult waters involved with business start-ups and now enjoy the calmer waters of the business journey.
Download Ten Tips for Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur as a pdf