There has never been a generation in which entrepreneurship was so readily supported, and even envied. The position we were left in following the recession all but forced the hands of many to start their own careers. However, the transition coincides with many obstacles; some that may be too intimidating for the less ambitions. But I can assure you that the move is well worth it for those that are prepared.
1. Take Calculated Risks
First let me preface this step by saying there is a significant difference between an unsubstantiated risk, and one that is meticulously calculated. Under no circumstance would I advise taking a risk that wasn’t worth it. Essentially, there comes a point when the odds are not in your favor, and your business resembles nothing more than a gamble. While there is always the off chance a big risk could pay off, it may not be the wisest business move. The key is to make calculated risks, thus increasing your odds of realizing success.
Let’s be honest, the best entrepreneurs understand that every investment they make coincides with some degree of risk. Having said that, I would be remised if I left out investing’s number one rule of thumb: The greater the risk, the greater the reward. While many business owners share a similar sentiment, the best leaders are more than aware of the differences between a calculated risk and a foolish one. As an entrepreneur, it is up to you to decipher between the two.
Better yet, do your homework. Even the most successful entrepreneurs of our time wouldn’t admit to being risk averse – they are simply more inclined to do their homework before moving forward. Truth be told, the only thing that separates them from the rest of the pack is preparation. So before you go off and make your next groundbreaking decision, be sure to understand what you are up against. Conduct your own research and determine whether or not the move you were thinking about making is the right one. The best decisions you will make as a business owner are predicated on one thing: due diligence.
2. Have A Plan
It should go without saying, but having a plan is the single most important step in becoming an entrepreneur. Otherwise, you run the risk of veering off track and potentially falling short of all of your goals. Not only that, but a well-devised plan of attack will enable you to visualize success, prepare for what is to come, and hone in on what works best for you future as an entrepreneur. I would also like to point out that a lack of a plan demonstrates at least a slight degree of ignorance. In other words, you may not be ready to become an entrepreneur if you neglected to implement something as important as a plan.
3. Promote Personal Growth
Running a sustainable business is as much about personal growth as it is about business growth, or at least that is what I truly believe. In fact, I could argue that personal growth is an essential component to every business plan. How else are you expected to take on the additional tasks that come with running your own business if you neglect to grow as an individual? To that end, the more resources you dedicate to growing as an individual, the more prepared you will be to run your own business. To make the jump from a typical worker to entrepreneur, I recommend increasing your skill set.
Make a point to learn something new with every opportunity that presents itself. Perhaps that means reading more books, or even breaking out of your comfort zone to establish meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals in your industry. Recognize what areas you need to improve in, and start from there.
In the end, the expansion of your career is dependent on the progress you make as an individual. Your skills will define how well you do as a business owner, and how far you can take things. If running a successful, sustainable business is your ultimate goal, your first priority should center on personal growth.
4. Emphasize Team Synergy
As a real estate investor, I quickly learned the importance of having a reliable team at my side. At the very least, their presence enabled my work ethic to match my goals and aspirations. Of particular importance, however, was the support they gave me to grow as a person. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the great team I have the privilege of working with.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t become an entrepreneur without a team; it simply means that surrounding yourself with the right people can go a long way in establishing yourself in the industry of your choosing. However, having the right team in place requires more than a vast knowledge of the industry and complementary skill sets. The best teams in any business landscape are founded on one thing: everyone working towards the same goal.
Again, a proper team will propel your business to the next level, but you can’t get there unless everyone is on board. Be sure that everyone on your team is comfortable with your strategy moving forward, and – more importantly – that they believe in it. Don’t be afraid to ask anyone if they have fears or doubts. Not everyone may be as certain as you that the plan will work, but they need to believe that it can. Talk through any pertinent points that are brought to your attention, and address them accordingly. Team synergy can go a long way, but it is up to you to make sure your team has it.
5. Remain Focused
Do you remember the plan we discussed previously? Well, now is the time to refine it. If you are looking to make the transition to full time entrepreneur, chances are you have had time to come up with several ideas that can help your prospects of becoming a business owner. While I commend your proactive approach, now is not the time to lose track of your ultimate goal. It is entirely possible that some of your ideas are timely and beneficial to your current position, and I even commend your enthusiasm, but your focus must be fine tuned at the onset of your entrepreneurial endeavors. I can assure you that exhausting all of your ideas too soon will only serve to convolute your attempt at becoming an entrepreneur. Before you know it, you will have overextended yourself before making the transition. Even the largest companies with the deepest pockets can’t pursue every idea that comes to the table.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, you need to acknowledge the fact that you can’t take on opportunities without cannibalizing others. Instead, focus on what really matters and go from there.
6. Don’t Limit Yourself To Last Year’s Expectations
I can’t emphasize the importance of this step enough. It is absolutely imperative that you don’t let least year’s expectations set the tone for your upcoming transition into the world of entrepreneurship. Not only will things transpire differently when you are your own boss, but you run the risk of limiting your potential if you base everything off of numbers that are a year or more older. If nothing else, you should plan on improving upon the numbers that defined your business in the previous year. By all means, feel free to let the previous year’s expectations serve as a reference point, but you must adjust them for your upcoming transition. In other words, strive to do better than the previous year.
7. Understand The Timing Will Never Be Perfect
More subjective than any other step on this list, number seven is perhaps the most intangible. And by that I mean it is not necessarily something you can teach yourself. For lack of a better way to explain myself, it is really about taking a leap of faith when you feel you are most prepared.
There will always be more to learn, and even concepts that bear better understanding. However, there comes a point when the pursuit of knowledge becomes a hindrance to your progression as an entrepreneur. At one point or another, you need to feel comfortable with making the jump, and simply commit. Understand that the timing will never be perfect, but that shouldn’t prevent you from moving forward. Prepare yourself as much as possible and commit when you feel comfortable. Those most likely to accomplish great things do so with bold actions. As a wise man once said, “a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”