If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you’ve probably already done quite a bit of reading about being an entrepreneur and living the start-up lifestyle. You know that you’re going to have to put in some hard work, and you know that you’re going to have to learn to delegate if you’re going to be your company’s CEO. However, there are a few things that are rarely covered in advice columns and blogs about business start-ups. I wish I’d known these four things when I started my first business.
DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO STATISTICS
When you are putting your business plan together and showing your potential investors that you’ve done the math, you can look at statistics and market trends. However, there are some statistics out there that you really should ignore. For example, did you know that 95% of new businesses fail? At some point in your journey to start a business, at least one person will come at you with statistics like these—the ones that are meant to scare you into keeping your 9-to-5 job and never starting your own business. Ignore them.
You already know that you’re taking a risk, so why freak yourself out with naysaying statistics? Stick to the numbers that will help you reach your goal. Pay attention to industry and niche-specific numbers that will help you see where you can fail and how to avoid it. Ignore the ones that do nothing but scare you.
MANAGING PEOPLE IS HARD – AND YOU’RE GOING TO BE BAD AT IT
You need to understand that effective management doesn’t come naturally to most people. The fact that you really care about making your business a success doesn’t help you, either. At times you’ll get stressed out and try to micromanage things that your employees can handle on their own. You’ll get too passionate about a project, and you’ll be too harsh about a missed deadline.
Take a deep breath and be patient with yourself. Be aware of how you interact with your employees and partners, and read a couple of books on effective management philosophies. Being a great leader takes practice, and it’s going to be difficult for a while. Just show some patience to your employees and to yourself, and it’ll get much easier over time.
HIGHER-PAYING TASKS SHOULD TAKE PRIORITY
Whether we’re talking about tasks you delegate to your employees or those that you fulfill yourself, you should prioritize your time and your company’s time based on tasks’ profitability. Look at what you have to do for your business and determine what’s going to make you the most money. A $10/hour task should never take priority over a $1000/hour task.
YOU’RE GOING TO FAIL – AND THAT’S OKAY
Finally, failures are going to happen. Your first business idea may not have a big enough market. You may learn the hard way that throwing money at problems won’t necessarily fix them. You might have a bad partnership that doesn’t work out. As long as you don’t quit, your failures will become stepping-stones that get you to a successful idea, brand, and business and the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. Plus, if you’re too afraid to fail, you’ll never take any meaningful risks, which means you’ll never be able to grow your business the way you need to.
In my experience with building businesses and teaching others how to grow theirs, these four things stand out. Most new entrepreneurs don’t learn them until much later on, and they can help you avoid a lot of mistakes and achieve success a lot faster.