In honour of National Entrepreneurs Day, The Influence Agency partners Tom Yawney, Stephanie Palasti, Mike Landry, and Noah Parker share 10 pieces of advice if you’re thinking about starting your own business.
Have you ever thought of starting a business? You probably have, right?
Maybe you thought of a great idea for a product, or a new service for an under-served market. Or perhaps you dream of calling the shots, being the one to shape a company and make the decisions. If you have thought about starting a business and are thinking about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Over here at The Influence Agency, this business started in 2017. It was four people with no funding who started the company from scratch. We have seen and experienced a lot of fascinating twists and turns, and lessons have been learned.
November 16th is National Entrepreneurs Day, and we wanted to share some insights that would help prospective entrepreneurs with two questions:
So if you are interested in the answer to either question, we’ve got some good news: you are about to receive news that could change your life – or possibly serve marginal value, it’s tough to say. But feel free to let us know in the comments below.
Here are 10 Tips that prospective entrepreneurs should consider:
There are 3 typical partnership approaches to starting a business:
In any of these scenarios, an effective partnership is crucial.
If you are a sole proprietor, at some point you are going to need help. When you do, it is critical to find vendors, staff and/or strategic partners that expand on your abilities. If you are in a business partnership, you need to find partners that you trust completely – and who possess complementary tools to round out your collective skill sets. And finally, if you are funded, you better pick the right partner.
There is a reason most people don’t leave their jobs. From a financial standpoint, starting a business is super risky. Not only do you stop earning a predictable paycheck, but you must grapple with the possibility of failure. After all, stats indicate that approximately 45% of businesses will fail within five years.
Starting a business is risky business, and it’s important to be able to stare down that risk. You need to have the right mentality, and the right strategy to avoid being a part of that 45 percent. If financial uncertainty is something you’d struggle with, being an entrepreneur will be highly uncomfortable.
When you start a business, it almost never goes exactly to plan – but it’s still important to have a roadmap. It keeps you focused on the task in front of you, and as you chip away every day you’ll find that plan coming to fruition.
Operating without a plan is akin to being lost at sea. You might enjoy the view but you aren’t going anywhere. Developing a business plan that you check in with regularly is a great way to track progress and momentum.
It’s important to know how much runway you have. That is to say, how long your finances will last because it can take a while to get paid.
It is not uncommon for clients to pay net-45, 60, or even 90 days in some scenarios. Ask yourself: if you have to wait a month or three for the funds to arrive, can you still pay the bills? While you wait for client payments, the daily expenses will continue adding up.
By knowing your runway, it will help you understand how to set payment terms and chase down outstanding fees.
You need to figure out where you fit in the marketplace. Most clients will look at your costs first and your service second. Depending on where you fit, it will attract different clientele.
Many new businesses choose to compete on price by offering discounts. But that approach also attracts discount shoppers. Some new businesses set premium pricing but lack the credibility to attract that clientele. Most new businesses will need to play with their pricing to find the right range.
As a business owner, you will have lots of bills to pay. Before you pay yourself, you must contend with payroll, vendor costs, taxes, rent, hardware/software costs, insurance, etc.
So it’s important to understand your monthly carrying costs. This will help you understand what will be left over so you can budget your personal life, and ensure you stay afloat.
There is one universal maxim that applies to all businesses. You are only as good as your people. Good people can do great things.
Our advice is to always hire with character in mind. As your team expands, it will be ever important to have teammates that are open, welcoming, supportive and empathetic. Every team will face adversity and it’s not always going to be easy, but having high-character individuals will only help.
It is fun to be a part of a great team. In order to build a great team, it’s important to invest in team-building initiatives. Find ways to have fun, bring a smile to people’s faces, and maintain a sense of fun and community.
Creativity is a funny thing; it can be hard to capture, and easy to lose, but there are things you can do to help spark it.
You can build systems that allow for creativity, you can encourage it from your team, and you can appreciate it when you see it. All these things will help your team spread their wings and show their talents.
Everyone likes being in the driver’s seat making decisions until they are faced with difficult choices. Being in the hot seat can seem fun and empowering, but it also comes with huge responsibilities and consequences in relation to the group of people around you.
The reality is, when you face tough decisions, some people won’t be thrilled with the outcomes. It is impossible to satisfy 100% of the people 100% of the time. The name of the game becomes serving the greater good and communicating the decision-making process with clarity. That way, even if people don’t like the decision they can understand why that outcome was reached.
Making the decision to become an entrepreneur isn’t an easy one. We hope these tips and advice help you if you’re thinking of making the leap to start your own business.