Being new to the entrepreneurship game can be overwhelming, to say the least, scary or even downright terrifying (that’s why I wrote my book, The Entrepreneur Equation, which is a must-read for all business newbies). It’s always challenging to wade into uncharted business waters, but it can also be exhilarating and rewarding on so many different levels. So, for all of you business newbies out there (or those that are just dipping your toe into the business water), here are a few tips to help navigate these waters:
(1) Newbies Need Help!
There’s a real temptation for new entrepreneurs and business owners (and even the most seasoned business owners!) to want to do everything all by themselves. But inherent in the word “newbie” is “new”, so you won’t know absolutely everything that you need to stack to the odds of success in your favor. Not to mention that there are only 24 hours in a day and you still need to eat and sleep, so doing absolutely everything for yourself is not only unwise, it’s also going to burn you out.
So, get help! Find partners and employees that possess skills, experience and knowledge that you may lack and rely on them to fill those voids. Seek out mentors that have already achieved the business success that you desire and ask them specific questions or get their advice. With social media, it is easier than ever to network and connect with others, at a minimal time investment for both of you, so go for it! You can even get free business mentoring help from former business executives through SCORE. Getting help early on will save you from making crucial mistakes and allow you to focus on the aspects of building your business that you are best suited for.
(2) Promote, Promote and Promote Some More
You’ll spend a bunch of time and a ton of money getting your product or service offerings set, building your storefront online or off, and getting ready open shop. A lot of business newbies stop there and fall into the trap of thinking that all they have to do is open up and customers will magically find them.
But, I’m here to tell you that there’s no magic involved- you must promote your business in order for potential customers or clients to find out that your business exists. This can be done for virtually no money through social media and word of mouth. People are more likely to help out those that they know, like and trust, so start with telling everyone that you know about your business (family, friends, friends of friends- even your barista or taxi driver) and ask them to check out your business or spread the word. If you can sell first before you invest too much in your product or service, it will lessen the risk while you test demand and sell-through.
You should also seek out local media (print, radio, TV and online) for promotion. Tying your business to a big news story will make it easier for you to get that free media press that you need over just putting out a blanket press release, which will often be ignored.
(3) Oversee Everything Consistently
Everything needs to be overseen and managed, including your ROI- Return on Investment (this means your time investment, too). Newbies often pay for a service provider, offer a product or hire an employee and continue on with it just because they have done it in the past, without evaluating whether it is worthwhile or not. Throwing good money after bad is definitely not a recipe for business success, so make sure that your time and money are being spent wisely.
Likewise, oversee all work done on your behalf, even if another employee, partner or service provider is handling those tasks. This doesn’t mean that you need to micro-manage each and every little detail, but at the end of the day, it’s your business, so if your accountant makes a mathematical error, you are ultimately going to be responsible for it.
What other tips do you have for business newbies? Please share them below.
Thanks to Myles Miller of SUCCESSHQ, Eric Levy of YourNeighborhood, Mark Alyn of Mark Alyn Communications, Inc., and Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation.com for the inspiration behind some of these ideas.