10 Things I Wish I’d Known As A Young Entrepreneur

From problem-solving to knowing your limits, here are 10 tips for people starting up in business for the first time.

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From problem-solving to knowing your limits, here are 10 tips for people starting up in business for the first time.


10 Things I Wish I’d Known As A Young Entrepreneur

From problem-solving to knowing your limits, here are 10 tips for people starting up in business for the first time.

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At the very beginning, being an entrepreneur can seem exciting. It IS exciting. You have your idea; your flash of genius and you just know that it’s going to work. You’re itching to get started and the world feels like it’s just been waiting for you. But then reality bites.

The excitement is still there, but it’s tempered by real-world considerations: logistics; finances; ability; time. You’ve done all you can, but you still don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere. And it’s now that the majority of would-be entrepreneurs give up, leaving thousands of nebulous business ideas to fade away every single year.

I’ve been there. I know how it feels. It takes guts and determination and there are times you think you’ll simply never succeed, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. If I was starting again, I would certainly do things differently, and these are my top tips for any entrepreneur just starting out.

1. Keep it simple

The thing about being an entrepreneur is that you’re often buzzing with ideas. But this major strength can quickly become a major weakness, as your endless ideas pull you off down endless roads of distraction.

Ideas on how to diversify and make more money will be enormously useful later, but when you’re just starting out you need to clasp hold of a single idea and not release your grip until you’ve seen it through to the end.

Streamlined and simplified need to be your buzz-words at least until you’ve planted your business and ensured that it’s ready to grow.

2. Focus

A major problem with sticking to the above is that there is so much that will be demanding your attention. One of the key skills you’ll need to pick up quickly is the ability to prioritise. Find your focus and stick to it.

3. Believe in your idea

If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, you can’t expect anyone else to. If you’re going to start a business you need to be passionate about it.

It will eat up every available minute of your time for the first few years at least, so if you’re not feeling enthused from the get-go, you’ll struggle to stay the distance.

business idea

Your idea will be challenged again and again by life's practicalities

4. Be confident, but not over-confident

If you weren’t, at heart, an optimist, then you wouldn’t be an entrepreneur. Instead you would see all the potential pitfalls and stay safely away. Confidence can get you through all sorts of problems, giving you the strength to bounce back up and start again.

However, there’s a difference between being confident and being cocky. Don’t assume that you always know best.  Over-confidence usually comes with a lack of foresight, it makes you stretch your resources to breaking point, and miss problems that should be staring you in the face.

5. Take advice

This one really follows on from above. No matter how enthused you are by your idea, when you’re starting out there is so much that you don’t know. While it’s tempting to wing it and learn on the job, it’s far more efficacious to ask for advice from people who have been there before you.

6. Act fast

Everyone knows the saying that time is money. In a small business, it is doubly true. When you’re starting out you don’t have the resources for prevaricating and procrastinating. If you stop and over-think, the likelihood is that you’ll never get started. You need to just take a deep breath and do it.

7. Find solutions

Every business has its problems. Successful businesses find ways to overcome them. When you’re faced with a problem in the early stages the temptation is often to ignore it and hope it will go away. It won’t.

If you want a problem fixed, you have to fix it. So brain-storm, think creatively, ask for help – do anything other than ignore it.

Rodin's The Thinker

Problem-solving is one of the most important traits of successful people

8. Understand your limits

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, but the lifestyle isn’t for everyone.  If you don’t enjoy working alone, like to have feedback on your work, or have trouble handling pressure, you might want to consider another avenue.

Equally, if all that is fine, beware of your limitations within business and don’t try to do too much yourself. If you struggle with numbers, outsource your bookkeeping.

If you’re not great with words, hire a PR. If you can’t create an impressive website, find a freelance coder. A bodged-job is worse than a job not done at all, so sometimes not spending money is a complete false economy.

9. Network

When you’re starting out in business, your contacts are key, so network. Join groups, attend seminars, be active on social media. Your network can help to make your business known, and provide you with invaluable contacts.

10. Reflect and revise

Once you’ve formed a strategy for your business it’s easy to think that the job’s half done, but as your business grows its needs will change and your strategy will have to change with it.

You should be constantly on your guard for things that aren’t working, and constantly looking for ways to improve the things that are going well. The world is not static, and neither should your business be.

There is no easy path for entrepreneur success, but these tips would have made my start-up situation with Latestfreestuff.co.uk a whole lot easier. I hope they’re of some use to you.

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10 Things I Wish I’d Known As A Young Entrepreneur

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