The following is a guest blog post:
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and you’re ready to hustle your way to the top of the business heap, there’s a lot of pathways to get you there. Here’s five smart ways to get ahead in the race to entrepreneurial success.
1. Know what you’re in for
Depending on how you kick-start your empire, you’ll need some basic business knowledge. Be realistic about your expectations and the skills you’ll need to run a startup. Are you ready to be across things like accounting, marketing, people management, contracts and investor management?
2. Skill up
Back up your entrepreneurial spirit with real business knowledge. As you grow as an entrepreneur, your businesses are likely to become more complex. Be ready with an online MBA. Find universities offering flexible study so you can get a solid foundation in practical business know-how without slowing down. The global economy is moving quicker than ever and there’s always more to understand. Be a lifelong learner and stay ahead of the game.
3. Find the right business for you
You can approach this in a few ways. Start with something you’re already good at and find a way to monetize it. Maybe you’re a great artist? Even if it’s not part of your bigger business plan, selling your work might fund your next move.
Another option is emulating another successful business. Look critically at the business and think what you’d do differently. Don’t be a copycat or steal anyone’s intellectual property, but if there’s a great idea out there, make the most of it.
The oldest method in the business book is also the simplest. Find a problem and solve it. See the local kid selling cold drinks on hot days when traffic backs up at the bridge? He’s seen a problem and he’s solving it. Start on a small scale and refine your business model. Remember, the higher the stakes, the bigger the risk.
4. Get some experience
Keen to keep learning and growing your business knowledge as you study? Or want a way to break into an industry before you disrupt it? Try some work experience or look for volunteer opportunities. Think of it as free training rather than unpaid work. You do need to have boundaries – you aren’t there to do the work of a paid employee – but don’t rule it out as a chance to see an industry from the inside and make some great connections. When it’s time to make a splash as an entrepreneur, you’ll need your networks to have your back.
5. Just start
There’s a lot to be said for minimum viable product (MVP). Coined from the lean startup methodology, it’s about getting something to market, even if it’s not perfect. Release your product, learn what works and what doesn’t, make it better, release it again. Repeat. If you wait until everything is perfect, the ship’s likely to have sailed. Start with what you have, let the market test it, build it and keep going. Entrepreneurs never stop starting!
Successful businesses are not born overnight. Even Steve Jobs started in the garage. It takes hard work and time to build something worthwhile. Follow our top five tips and you might just get there a little sooner.