Starting your own business is a risky thing to do, especially in light of the economy. But there are those people who seem to succeed at everything they attempt. We chatted to them about how to succeed at entrepreneurship.
Director, SW London Plumbing
Growing up in South Africa, I have witnessed a great divide between rich and poor; equality and inequality; happiness and unhappiness. Their economy has been unstable for as long as I can remember. I suppose that makes the current economic climate easier to cope with, if only psychologically.
My parents were not particularly well off for much of my youth, which gave me a good foundation, the drive to want to better myself and the responsibility needed to provide for myself.
I chose to study plumbing for one reason, really – to make money! I also liked the idea of plumbing because it is quite easy to be a free agent and not have to rely on an employer.
When starting your own business, it is important to consider what generates profit quickly and how you can keep your overheads down. This will allow you to grow rapidly. You need to be able to weather the financial storms, as it is not easy in the beginning, but the feeling once through those storms is indescribably good.
Choose an industry that in great demand; be sure that you can profit massively and quickly in that field and keep overheads down; follow through with your decisions and never give up; and treat your customers like gold – they will love you for it and spread your name like wild fire.
CEO and Founder, Addicted2Success
Successful entrepreneurs understand that failure is part of success. There is no doubt that at one point in your business life, you will experience failure. Next time you experience failure, try to look at it as a lesson that you are fortunate enough to learn from that some others will never have the opportunity to see, hear or feel in their entire lifetime, and that it will be your greatest advantage in a world full of people who are too afraid to fail.
Founder, Barrett’s Ridge Beer Bread
Quit your job. Until I had nothing to fall back on, I couldn’t seriously start my own business.
Have a plan. From how much money to spend to how you are going to answer the phone, you need a plan.
Know your limits. In the beginning I tried doing everything by myself. It is impossible and will eventually have you hating your job.
No Slacking. Even though I do a lot of work from home, I make sure that I am in the “office” by 8:00am and I work until the last email has been answered.
Be Social. Social media is the cheapest and easiest form of advertising and when done properly can really help get maximum exposure with minimum effort.
Believe. Sounds clichéd but unless you believe in your brand and your product, no one else will.
Proprietor, Oishii Japanese Restaurant
For those of us who have gone from the protected environment of an employed position, to being suddenly exposed to having to make a business success can be frightening.
To be successful you need drive, commitment and considerable self-belief. It is not for everyone, but the rewards of being your own boss; company success is your success; the opportunity to sell and move on to the next venture are great.
Stick to what you’re good at – focus on the core business and believe in it and nurture it; get a good accountant – they are worth their weight in gold; if you’re not sure, take legal advice. A once-off consultation fee could save you lots of heartache and stress; don’t listen to the naysayers, but DO do the market research; and finally, get the right team in place – a business is only as good as its people.
Director, Event Affairs
Be passionate about your product. No business will work unless you truly believe in it and there is nothing more appealing to a potential client than someone who is passionate about their product.
Have the discipline to invest all your time and money into growing your business. Share the profits of your hard work with your business to grow it into a fatter cash cow for the future.
Know what you are selling inside out. And adapt with the times to ensure your product or service does not become stiff, redundant or out of date.
If there is a glitch in your business systems, it can stunt the growth of your business. Spend time developing strong business systems and strategies in every aspect of your business from HR and marketing to finance.
Wearing too many ‘hats’ in your business can be detrimental. Delegation is key – if you can’t afford staff at the moment, outsources services to ease your workload.
CEO, Bastow’s Property Restoration
Stay in context. Nobody these days cares about how or what you do in this life. They buy why you do it. Make sure you find out why you want to be an entrepreneur and stick to that context. Commit to the impossible. Have massive goals that make you excited and frightened. They are the only goals you should have. Get energy any way you can by eating well and exercising. You need to be fit to have the drive to carry on where mortals would give up. And lastly, try to have fun. http://www.bastows.co.uk
Managing Director, Rockstar Mentoring
Attract the attention of the big guys. The CEOs, the big names within entrepreneurship who, if they position it right, might be willing to help. “I’m a young entrepreneur, I’ve respected what you’ve done throughout your whole career, I’m looking to set up a business and I would love to take you for coffee and get your ideas of how I can add more to my business.” http://rockstargroup.co.uk/
Founder of J’s Dance Factory & agency
Now on my third franchise I am learning that the building of a community of like-minded business people is invaluable. For me the start up phase was exciting, but a bit lonely. I have learnt that it is so important to look for more than financial success and fulfilment in the start up phase as while money is important, success can be measured in so many ways. Great entrepreneurs learn from so-called failures. My mistakes forced me to look for effective formulas. Great entrepreneurs are individuals who are honest with themselves about their successes and their failures and just keep getting up, determined to move forward. http://www.jsdancefactory.co.uk/
Founder of Jongleurs Comedy Clubs
The worst things about being an entrepreneur are the paradox of having nowhere and nobody to turn to for advice. There is often a “fear of failure” and always having to have 100 per cent confidence in your own abilities. The best thing about being an entrepreneur is being totally free to test any idea in a fast time frame – to learn and fail fast and iterate like your life depended on it… and sometimes winning. http://www.johndavy.co.uk
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