Being a successful entrepreneur is tricky. It requires the exact mixture of dedication, resources, brains, planning (and perhaps luck).
It is estimated that over 50 percent of small businesses fail during the first four years. Not only that, but as many as 75 percent of venture-funded startups never return cash to their investors.
Lately, Africa is “buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit,” according to CNN. Many young people are starting businesses. The continent is leading when it comes to women starting businesses.
Though it’s good to see the spirit but what’s important is that we convert this enthusiasm to business success. Else our efforts, hard work, money, time and everything go futile.
Let me share 5 important lessons today that can be learned from failed entrepreneurs.
Not saying this will promise you 100% entrepreneurial success but you’ll be better equipped to deal with day to day business challenges.
Read on –
1. Make Sure You Understand the Market
Too many entrepreneurs create startups or small businesses without doing sufficient market research and getting an accurate picture of the market situation beforehand.
First of all, you need to make sure there is a demand for your product. Regardless of how unique the product is, there has to be an audience of buyers who you can target.
Take the Segway, for example, which was making headlines when it was being announced in 2001. What happened to changing the way people walk?
Sure, the Segway was innovative, but was there really a market for it?
Another thing you have to focus on is on the competition. Chances are that you will not be the first person to come up with your business idea.
Far too many businesses fail because they did not accurately estimate the competition they would be facing. Research the competition and discover your USP (unique selling point).
What makes you different than the others? How will you stand out? What is your message going to be and how will set yourself apart from the mass?
Part of researching the market is having a solid marketing and advertising plan for how you will spread the word about your services. An SEO tool can help you with your online marketing research.
2. You Need to Have Your Finances Worked Out
Another reason entrepreneurs fail is due to a lack of funding.
Many entrepreneurs fail to estimate their true expenses. You need to make sure that you have enough startup capital to cover your expenses, such as payroll and advertising.
Many fail to take into account that having steady cash flow is essential for the success of any business. It’s easy to make errors when predicting how much cash flow you will be bringing in.
Another common mistake is to invest beyond the stipulated budget in developing your core product. Remember the priority should be to make a decent and workable product and not beautify it with needless features.
ReVision Optics is an example of a startup that had to shut down due to a lack of cash flow and funding.
3. Have the Right Mindset
Staying motivated at the beginning isn’t hard. You have dreams and goals you are working for.
However, when things start taking longer than you expected and success seems to constantly stay just one step ahead of you, it’s easy to get frustrated.
You invite negative thoughts to conquer your mind which eventually reflects on multiple fronts. This includes your health, lifestyle and relationships.
When going in, it’s important to set your expectations straight. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and there will likely be times when you feel as if you simply aren’t going anywhere and it would just be better to give up.
However, in the long run, success comes to those who stay dedicated to their work (but also flexible enough to try out new strategies). 36 publishers rejected Arianna Huffington’s second book before it got accepted.
Find ways to stay motivated, even when things seem pointless. Remind yourself every day of what your goals are and why you are doing what you do (it could be to be able to see your family more, to have the freedom to travel the world, etc).
Setting smaller goals that are easier to reach is a great way to stay motivated.
Another thing you have to keep in mind is that you may have an early peak only for business to slow down again soon after. This is normal and you simply have to stay on the path you were going on.
Source – Cbinsights
4. Have the Right People
Having the right people is essential for the success of any startup. You can’t do it all alone.
When we talk about having the right people, we mean both mentors to guide you and employees who work for you.
Having a mentor and guide who is more experienced than you to give you advice and keep you motivated when you’re feeling down will help you stay on the right track. Seeing their success will help you stay motivated as well.
If you can’t find someone more successful than you, at the very least surround yourself with other entrepreneurs who share your goals and are also working hard to be successful.
When it comes to employees, it’s crucial that you vet them properly. Having the right team is a must if you want your business to run smoothly and efficiently. You can’t do well without your team delivering high on productivity.
Your employees should be hard-working, dedicated, and should share your goals.
5. Make Your Customers Your Priority
You have to make your customers a top priority. It’s easy to get caught up in planning new features for your products, but you have to make sure that you are listening to your customers.
Collect feedback and take note of what your customers really want. Of course, always provide high-quality customer service with quick response times.
Wrapping It Up
Being a successful entrepreneur requires a resolve of steel.
By taking into account the above lessons, you can increase your chances of success.
Sam Zaman – Sam Zaman loves to write on technology and related stuff. E-commerce, mobile and internet marketing equally drive her interest. Likes gardening and experimenting with new recipes. An avid reader and absolutely mad @bout donuts. She has long been associated with Mofluid