6 Successful Ways to Grow as an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship can be exciting, daunting, exhilarating and terrifying – and that’s just the first day. For those who’ve embraced the thrill of striking out on their own, there’s often a steep learning curve to follow before you can truly feel as if you’re on top of things. Innate qualities may mean an easier transition to running your own business, but most of what makes a good entrepreneur can be learned. Our six tips can help you focus on the areas that present the biggest challenges to have you working smarter and feeling more in control.
1. Identify your challenge areas
Knowing your strengths is easy. Facing and fixing your weaknesses can sometimes create inaction in all of us. In order to grow, it is important to make this change. How? Pinpoint and build up the areas that are challenging you. Explore various sources for help including mentors, online resources and workshops.
2. Revisit your priorities regularly
When you’re new to the game, it can seem as if there are a hundred things you should be doing to improve your business, all of them equally urgent. Strengthen your brand, market your business, take training courses, attend networking events, seek out cross-promotional opportunities…the list is endless, and trying to cover it all is a common trap.
Take a step back and revisit your business plan to clarify your goals. Then consider your available resources, both financial and time-based, to see what you actually have room for. Commit to one or two things that you think take priority, and shelve the rest. The focus and clarity will do more to help you grow as an entrepreneur than trying to juggle all the balls at once.
3. Know when to hire and when to outsource
When you’re in bootstrapping mode, you’re usually doing it all by yourself. Product development, marketing, finance – you name it, chances are you are it. But as your business grows, that approach becomes untenable and you’ll be faced with a decision: do you hire staff to handle those functions, or outsource to freelancers?
If you’re hiring for a function that your business will always need and will help to generate revenue, it makes sense to hire in house. You can ensure they’re on the same page as you and have the security of knowing that they’ll always have the time and resources available to do the work needed. If it’s a sporadic job, on the other hand, such as an event coordinator, or you don’t yet have the budget to guarantee ongoing regular hours, then a freelancer might be a better bet. The rise of the gig economy means that there are plenty of talented individuals who’ll be happy to work for you on a one-off job or an ongoing casual basis.
4. Your reputation is 24/7. Protect it
Especially in the early stages of your business, it’s really all about you. How you handle yourself in your professional life is important, and that includes across social media and promotional events as well as within business hours. Maintaining your personal brand will help you build trusting relationships with people and build up goodwill against the inevitable missteps we all make on the way.
5. Learn from the mistakes of others
Learning from your own mistakes should be an automatic response. Learning from mistakes that other people made, not so much. In today’s age where information is readily available at the click of a mouse, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t learn from other’s mistakes. It’s all documented on blogs, books, lectures, courses, videos and forums. Walking through the minefield of life will be a lot easier when you have a map with the mines you should avoid. Not to say you won’t trip, but you’ll be far more aware.
6. Habit beats inspiration every day
Inspiration gets you started, but habits keep you going. If you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to begin developing the right habits immediately. Being the right person is just as important as hiring the right person. Build your habits now, and they’ll be there to take over for you when inspiration fades.
What do you think?
Nobody said being a successful entrepreneur was going to be an easy road. The earlier you get comfortable with the harsh truths of entrepreneurship, the sooner you’ll be on the path to business success. What were some of the key learnings and opportunities that helped you or someone you know grow as an entrepreneur?
This article was written by Jelena Milutinovic and Tanya Ashworth-Keppel on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Addicted 2 Success; Business Collective; Entrepreneur; Forbes and Inc.