- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On July 1, 2014
It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur—in the last decade, technology has leveled the playing field and propelled an entrepreneurial revolution. It seems to be easier than ever to start a business, as barriers that previously existed come crashing down. As an entrepreneur, you now have more access to information that enables you to make more intelligent choices more quickly. You have an advantage over big businesses in that you’re more agile. You can target new markets quicker than a big business can, and you can turn on a dime.
But being a successful entrepreneur requires that you look at the big picture, create a plan and follow through. Here are four tips to help you get off to the right start:
1.Don’t Quit Your Day Job.
When launching your business, consider working on it part-time, especially if it is an online business. If you have a steady income, this is a great opportunity to use the income you make through your business as savings. Once you’ve saved enough to feel like you have a comfortable nest egg to fall back on, then you’re in an ideal position to consider running your business full time. Don’t risk your rent payment because you’ve got your fingers crossed and you’re hoping your business will be an overnight success story. Spend more time on your business as it grows and eventually, if all goes well, you’ll be working on your business full time before you know it (if that’s what you want).
2.Find Your Niche.
If you haven’t heard it before, let me be the first to tell you – if you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one. Most likely, you aren’t creating the next Target or Amazon, so if you really stop and think about it, you have an ideal client. And that ideal client is NOT “everyone.” Find a group of people you like to serve and that you enjoy working with. Tap into their needs (this could take some work on your part) and fill them. You aren’t one of the big guys, so don’t try to compete on their level. Dominate your target market and grow from there. Even Amazon started off by selling books. Now because of their Prime and Fresh services, they sell just about everything you can think of and you can get it at the speed of light (seems that way sometimes, doesn’t it?)
3.Have an Online Presence.
Even if you’re not planning to sell products online, the internet can still have a huge impact on your business. Having an online presence eliminates the limitations of physical location and broadens your customer base by, literally, millions. It’s also a great tool for promoting yourself and letting people, even in your own area, know that you’re there, and what you’re doing. In addition to helping create awareness, if you’re properly marketing yourself online, you can also establish and boost your credibility and find likeminded people to add to your network.
Successful entrepreneurship requires creativity, energy, and a drive to keep going when you fail. If you want to be in business, get used to failure. That doesn’t mean you should wallow in it or throw in the towel after the first bump in the road. Sometimes getting fired by a client makes room for a better client to come along. Sometimes a failed idea leads you to create a better solution or solve a whole new problem altogether. Determination and refusal to give up is what will separate successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones.
After 8 years in business, I’ve gained a lot of wisdom and made a TON of mistakes. I quit my day job too soon. Fortunately, I transitioned right into a part-time job, so there wasn’t a huge gap. But I did quit that job soon to fly solo and let me tell you, it was a major struggle. I thought I wanted to help “everyone” get organized. And I helped them alright – I worked around the clock, but was always broke because I wasn’t charging enough and wasn’t working with my ideal clients. Finding my niche made a huge impact and was a major turning point in my business.
The internet has been an amazing – AMAZING – resource in growing my business. As I said, there have been bumps along the way – there still are. I’ve made missteps and fallen off massive cliffs. And even through those painful, painful failures, I’m confident in the work I want to do.