Article Contributed by Mila Payton
It is not very difficult to undertake an unsuccessful business. Lack of devotion or abilities, as well as the factors out of your control can create a situation in which business success could be categorized as a miracle. In some other times, failure to spot and exploit a unique market opportunity can cost your business the success. In any case, I think we could all agree that the secret of unsuccessful entrepreneurial undertaking is not exactly something we are eager to find more about.
Surely, being a successful entrepreneur isn’t easy. Even though the oft-repeated claim that 9 out of 10 startups are destined for failure has been disputed as of late, the simple truth is that starting and maintaining a successful business isn’t a walk in the park, and that having a great idea does not guarantee a profit at the end of the day. By studying all the success stories of years past, however, you’ll be able to get a glimpse at what lies behind a truly successful undertaking, and possibly even find if there’s a way to apply these time-tested strategies to your own situation:
Be sure you have what it takes
There’s no denying the fact that the business world isn’t exactly the most forgiving industry. When money is on the line, people tend to give it their all, and occasionally the less savory aspects of mankind also pop to the surface. That’s why it’s essential that you have what it takes personality-wise, including traits such as self-discipline and the ability to separate feelings from reasoning. The people who are able to navigate the complicated landscape of the modern business environment are the ones that are ultimately destined to succeed.
Spend ample time on the planning stage
Each and every single company that exists in the world today started out as an idea in someone’s head. But an idea, no matter how brilliant or world-changing, can’t guarantee success all by itself. The importance of a well thought business plan is paramount to any company’s ultimate success, and too many would-be entrepreneurs unfortunately gloss over this step. A good business plan should be short and concise, but it should cover all the basic angles of your idea, including the products or services you’ll be offering and the customer base you hope to tap into.
Figure out your financing
With the advent of the Internet, many novice entrepreneurs have sought to establish the idea that you can start a business with little or no capital. While in some rare cases this might turn out to be true, as a rule of thumb starting a business will involve some initial costs. Whether these come in the form of an outside investment, a crowdfunding campaign or a bank loan is your choice, but always remember to take into account all the variables associated with each type of funding before you commit to any one of them.
Assemble a great team
The next step lies in finding like-minded people that share your goals and enthusiasm. Don’t automatically assume that just by paying someone you’ll be able to get the best out of them, as people are complex creatures driven by all sorts of factors aside from monetary compensation. In order to truly gain their trust and loyalty, you’ll have to inspire them and make them feel like your dream is also their dream. Of course, things like distributing a cut of the company profit or offering shares to particularly notable individuals can’t hurt either.
Learn from others
Especially in the early stages of setting up a company, good leadership can often be a real difference-maker. Most of the companies that rule the world today have benefited immensely from the visionaries that have helped put them on the course to success. But being a good leader isn’t something that you necessarily have to be born with – it’s something that can be acquired, just like any other skill. That’s why it can be quite useful to find a mentor, someone who is willing to show you the ins and outs of the trade before you jump head first into it.
Focus on your customers
Customers are the lifeblood of any industry, which means that every company that plans on sticking around for some time will need to develop a good relationship with the very people who are ultimately responsible for its continued existence. Now, contrary to the popular saying, customers are not always right, and it’s definitely true that you can’t possibly make everyone happy at the same time. But all successful companies take the time to listen to their clients and then make adjustments according to their wishes and suggestions.
Keep macroeconomic factors in mind
When first setting up a business venture, it can sometimes feel like the entire world revolves around your office. There are so many things to do and so many aspects to pay attention to, that it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening outside of it. Things like international trade agreements, business cycles, inflation and the occasional national disaster are bound to impact world economy in one way or another, which tends to have a trickle-down effect on everyone involved. To give just one recent example, the recent Brexit debacle in the UK has changed the game for local companies who are used to doing business with the EU. In order to prevent such events from blindsiding you, try to remain connected with the outside world, even if your attention sometimes feels like it’s being pulled in a million different directions at once.
Understand that failure is part of the process
Finally, most experienced business owners will tell you that running a company is a marathon, not a sprint, one that’s filled with plenty of ups and downs along the way. Failure in some form or another is to be expected, but that doesn’t mean you should give up at the slightest sign of turmoil. Instead, view every failure as a learning experience, something that you’ve successfully internalized in order to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Just looking at these strategies that are associated with successful entrepreneurial ventures, and which differentiate them from less fortunate undertakings make us realize that making business a success is far from easy. Nevertheless, always keep in mind that every situation is different, and that even the concept of “success” can vary quite a bit depending on each person’s own set of expectations and desires. So be patient and continue to follow your dreams, and sooner or later you’ll be able to reap the benefits of your work.