Entrepreneurs turn innovative ideas into business realities through grit and a deep understanding of market trends. Millions of Americans find running their own business to be uniquely rewarding. These 10 secrets are commonly cited as crucial to launching and growing a new venture.
1. Don't Fear Failure
Entrepreneurs come from all walks of life, but nearly all of them have overcome failure at some point in their careers. Billionaire Elon Musk has had more than his share, which include early rocket launch failures, near bankruptcy of his company Tesla in 2008 and numerous production setbacks of his Tesla line of cars. Failure is also a fact of life for startups, which have a success rate of around 10 percent, according to Forbes. That may be one reason Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, said, "Do not be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start again."
2. Look for Inspiration
Feeling stuck? Art museums, biographies, overseas travel — all have the potential to inspire new ideas. The trick is to escape from your day-to-day environment. A 2015 article in Inc. recommends painting, writing poetry or playing an instrument to release your creative muse.
"Engaging your artistically creative side can help you find inspiration for creative business ideas," the article said.
3. Learn From the Mistakes of Others
This is a good follow-up to accepting failure. Setbacks are a reality of starting a business, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from them. A 2017 article by Business Know-How listed seven common mistakes small businesses make early on, including poor management, insufficient capital, wrong location, lack of planning, overexpansion and no social media presence.
4. Get Gritty
Grit is what drives individuals to soldier on, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
Harvard professor Sarah Lewis said, "Grit is not just simple elbow-grease term for rugged persistence. It is an often invisible display of endurance that lets you stay in an uncomfortable place, work hard to improve upon a given interest and do it again and again."
5. Invest in Yourself
Billionaire Warren Buffett famously said, "The best investment you can make is in your own abilities."
The advice extends to pursuing graduate degrees, taking continuing education courses, reading or simply saving time to devote to your emotional well-being. If you don't take care of your personal needs first, you are more likely to burn out on the job.
6. Take Vacations
A paltry 62 percent of Americans took a vacation last year, according to Gallup. Travel offers an opportunity to unwind, relax and recharge. Escaping from the workroom also has tangible health benefits, according to Project Time Off, which recently cited a study that correlated lower risk for cardiovascular disease and mental health issues with adequate vacation time.
7. Take Risks
Most humans are risk-averse. Launching a new venture is inherently risky, and, for entrepreneurs, many important choices require balancing reckless and overly cautious decision-making. Do your research and consult trusted advisors. But at the end of the day, believing in your dreams and starting a new venture requires a leap of faith — and taking risk.
8. Surround Yourself With Talent
No one is right 100 percent of the time. Good leadership requires taking informed advice from several sources. When forming a startup, this ties into the choice of initial hires. Business News Daily gave seven tips for improving the hiring process in a 2017 article. Their top advice includes developing well-thought-out job descriptions, combing candidates' social media profiles, allowing more time during the interview process and fitting personalities and not just qualifications to specific job openings.
9. Establish Company Culture
Establishing work culture shouldn't be a passive process. Blogger Neil Patel shared this advice:
"There may have been a time when company culture wasn't important, but with social media and the 24-hour news cycle, your company and employees are always under scrutiny," he said. "Set a positive company culture from day one and you'll be more likely to work with people you enjoy and who inspire you as well as attract great customers. Many entrepreneurs are working with family, from home, and even across borders. It's important to set and know what you want your company culture to look like."
Going for a jog or swim might not be top of mind for busy entrepreneurs, but it should be. Besides the obvious health benefits, workouts are proven to lower stress and increase cognitive function. If carving out two hours for gym time seems unrealistic, set smaller goals like biking to work, climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator or walking 30 minutes during lunch breaks.
Along with these outside-the-box ideas, starting a business requires a solid grasp of marketing, finance and other business skills. The online Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship from the University of West Florida provides graduate students with a curriculum that seamlessly integrates business and behavioral disciplines into one comprehensive degree. The program, taught by UWF faculty, can be completed in as few as 16 months.
Learn more about the UWF online MBA program with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship.
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