This story originally appeared on Byte Academy.
Making the decision to start your own venture is never easy. Especially if you’re a parent, it’s all too easy to become burnt out or overwhelmed.
But many busy parents, especially, dream of ditching their commutes and managing their own time, including spending time with their kids (even if that means burning the midnight oil after the little ones are asleep).
Here are five tips for every aspiring entrepreneur to keep in mind as he or she embarks on this journey.
Entrepreneurs often assume that success will follow naturally if the idea on which the business is based is good enough. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Your business idea is probably not new. In fact, the most successful firms are usually not the first to launch a new product or service. Facebook was not the first social media company. Similarly, Yahoo was well-established when Google started operations.
If your idea is not the most important factor, then what is? The success of your business will depend upon your execution capabilities. Unless you are able to meet your commitments and deliver what you have promised, your company is unlikely to take off.
How exactly can you develop the ability to execute your ideas flawlessly? Unfortunately, there is no simple formula. You will have to come up with dozens of small ideas to solve the problems that arise on a daily basis.
In the initial stages, you can handle everything yourself. You could keep close tabs on customer acquisition, finance, service issues and even routine administrative matters. But as the company grows, this will no longer be possible. You will have to find people who are capable of handling all these areas effectively. Building an outstanding team is not easy.
Developing first-rate execution skills requires hard work and constant attention to detail. At the same time, you cannot afford to lose sight of the big picture.
Every entrepreneur knows that the business needs to become self-sustaining as early as possible. The challenge is to stay solvent till this happens.
How can you conserve cash during the early stages? Here are a few general rules that you can use:
When you start operations, there is a temptation to overspend. Your enthusiasm level is high and upon closing your first deal, you may think that business growth is assured. But it does not always work out like that. New orders may be difficult to come by. It is important that you save where you can. For example, do you really need a fancy office from day one? A simple and functional workplace could serve equally well.
However, don’t make the mistake of skimping on business development or promotional expenses. Unless you build up a base of regular customers, you may find it difficult to survive.
Some entrepreneurs, especially those in the creative fields, hold the view that they are not good with finances. They leave accounting and cash management to a trusted employee. While this can be the right step to take, you should remember to spend some time every day to review your firm’s finances and cash position. This will help you to understand how your money is being spent. You will also be able to spot cash flow problems as they arise.
Are you going to use social media to spread the word? Or are you going to use traditional methods like newspaper advertisements and a dedicated sales team?
Most businesses will try to attract customers by using a combination of different marketing strategies. Whatever means you adopt, you have to go that extra mile if you want to succeed.
The founders of Flipkart, the e-commerce giant that sells all types of products, started with a single product: books. How did they promote their business? The two co-founders used to stand outside Gangaram Book Stores in Bangalore and hand over Flipkart bookmarks to those who came out with books in their hands.
At times, despite your best efforts, the venture may not succeed. The market environment may have changed, a new technology could have been introduced, or you may even realize that you are not cut out for a certain type of business.
Take a deep breath and decide whether you want to continue. There are occasions, when cutting your losses and exiting the business may be the best way forward.
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