Things entrepreneurs wish they had known before starting a business

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Emma Savory reveals seven things that could have made life easier for first-time entrepreneurs

Setting up a business is something many people dream about but only the minority have the confidence and resources to do.

The seven steps below are things that entrepreneurs wish they had known before they made the leap of faith – from funding to time management and even learning how to fail ‘successfully’.

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1. Running a business has to be your priority

Being your own boss is the most appealing idea when you are sat at your office at 8am wishing you were still in bed.

However, at the beginning of your business’ life, your work hours will escalate and entrepreneurship will be a 24/7 job. You will have to temporarily wave goodbye to the fun things you did after work and swap them for internet courses on ‘learning how to market your business’.

However, with time your business will become more self-sufficient and your expanding staff numbers will mean that a lie-in might be possible, just maybe.

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2. Stop researching, start doing

Dreaming/researching/brainstorming/planning are all well and good but become pointless when you never act on it. It gets to the stage where you need to put down the manual and start physically creating your business.

Building a business is always going to involve risks, regardless of how much you research and try to prepare for it. Evidently, the more you physically do the more you will achieve.

 

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3. There is no time limit on success

Many entrepreneurs have admitted that when they started their businesses they believed they could tackle the “two-year rule” and set up their business in half the time.

This initial optimism needs to be balanced with reality as this rushed time frame can lead to poor decision making and long-term problems. Everything that involves people and technology will almost always take longer than expected.

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4. Know your strengths and outsource your weaknesses

Constantly spending time trying to eradicate your weaknesses will waste time and money. Know what you are good at, what you can learn relatively simply and most importantly when it is time to freelance or recruit specifically qualified people.

There is so much operational work involved in running a business. To allow you to focus on the future of your company outsourcing is crucial.

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5. Money comes and goes

For most start-ups running out of money is just another step in the process. Entrepreneurs give up their jobs to start up a business and some end up working a part-time job just to pay for their business. This is not giving up.

Getting through money problems is the biggest hurdle you can make as a business owner; the realisation that at one time you had 10p and you are now earning thousands is not a small feat.

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6. Failing is the key to success

The founder of IBM famously said “to succeed, double your failure rate”. Failure only becomes detrimental to the business when you don’t learn from it. It will teach you the most important lessons, allowing you to start really building your business.

The entrepreneurs that are too scared to fail will be too scared to succeed also. Nevertheless, many entrepreneurs say the best advice is to try and fail quickly, resources are wasted when you can’t accept that an idea or strategy isn’t working and move on to something else.

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7. Give you and your business a rest

Even entrepreneurs need sleep. Despite many giving all their time to their business initially, retrospectively many entrepreneurs claim that working weekends is a no no and stopping work a few hours before you go to sleep is entirely necessary.

Giving yourself this time off, whether it’s to see family, to exercise or reclaim your hobbies, will lead to working smarter and more efficiently. Top tip: super productive Fridays lead to guilt-free weekends.

 

Looking for more advice? Find more here.

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