At 138 pyramids, we cross paths with new entrepreneurs every day, each with exciting new ideas and tackling different industries. Across all the businesses, two things are clear. First, starting a business is undoubtedly a challenge, both personally and professionally. Secondly, while every entrepreneur’s experience is unique in its challenges, it is important to benefit from the experiences of others in order to steer clear of common mistakes. To support our entrepreneurs, the team at 138 Pyramids has compiled the top 10 points entrepreneurs should keep in mind.
- Assuming Success
When setting out to start your business, it is crucial to embrace the chances of failure, and look at them as challenges or opportunities of growth. The determinant of future success is how you deal with the “challenges” and channel them positively.
- Sharing your Idea
Knowledge is power, and at no time is that more true than when starting your own business. Know your product, its added value, the costs of relevant items, your target group, and how you want to reach them. To achieve that, your homework must include running your concept/idea by everyone you can, the fear of someone else taking it doesn’t exist because it all depends on implementation.
- Brand identity is the key
Branding is increasingly important. Entrepreneurs need to go beyond developing a product, and focus on developing a brand. A brand is about keeping your promise; once we make comments (especially when we market on social media or other) the smallest of commitments establish integrity which creates the brand. The latter creates loyal customers and ensures sustainability of sales even among the fiercest competition.
- Accept Advice and listen to your mentors
You. Don’t. Have. All. The. Answers. And there is nothing wrong with that! Entrepreneurs would be smart to remember that a business cannot run on their expertise and experience alone, and it is important to benefit from the knowledge of others. The creation of teams with diverse experiences is of great value that your mentors can help with from the start.
The life of a start-up entrepreneur isn’t all glitz and glamour. The “bootstrapping” phase requires you to think of every single expense. Start by lowering your fixed costs as much as possible, and while getting the right people in your business is key, that is no reason to rush into hiring. You will soon realize that full-time hires are not always necessary at the early stage of the business. Part-time hires, free lancers, interns, and sub-contractors may be more than capable of providing your business with what it needs. So take your time, and think through before you give someone that elusive “you’re hired” or making that next purchase, this goes for every expense possible as luxury can come much later.
- Focus on growth and creating value
Always think about how to grow your company by increasing its revenues and profits, not how much you can take from it, may entrepreneurs commence by thinking:
- How much will I sell the company for (i.e. the exit before even achieving anything). This is a common mistake as exits have numerous forms & reasons, which we shall address in more detail in a separate blog.
- How much salary shall I as founder make?
- Your sweat equity (i.e. your work within the company is the real added value) directly impacts how much you can grow your company & that is the future valuation in multiples down the road. Hence, take a pocket money not a salary at the beginning.
- Manage your time and set your priorities
While networking and business relations are important, you need to have contractual instruments and systems in place. Focus on closing, and implementing, key account contracts. Most importantly, don’t engage in any competing businesses, whilst you are building your company dedication and focus pay back well in growth.
- Don’t do it alone
Two brains are better than one – and no time is that old-age adage more relevant than when starting a business. You need a partner, and the synergy that effective team work brings. It is easy to get stuck in your ways, or focus on one specific area at the expense of another. Bringing in someone you trust is crucial to broaden your horizons and increase your exposure with the idea that you complement each other and being clear from day one as to the roles of each partner.
Although, many partnerships fail, yet it is namely due to not having clearly outlined from the start, the short & long-term plans and vision. We can speak loads on that subject and shall also cover in separate blogs.
- Think with Your Head and Your Heart
Passion is such a fundamental part of starting your own business, and while that type of fire is needed, a successful entrepreneur needs to balance emotion with logic. Be in love with your idea, but also have the figures to back it up. Start off with a clear P&L and cash flow plan. Set your targets and KPIs. Do the math, so that the idea you love so much can turn into a full-fledged business. Not every business that one is passionate for shall be profitable, so the math and knowing the market need before you commence is crucial.
- Be involved in your daily activities (hands-on) and don’t play “the Boss”
As a start-up founder, you will surely have enough on your plate. But it is important to remain invested in the day-to-day operations of your company, and act like a member of the team for as long as needed to assess the progress. The best business leaders are the ones that know the ins and outs of their business. After all, you can’t fix (or grow) what you don’t know.