1. Persistence. To me this is one of the key ingredients to success. You must be committed to the process of building your business and have the fire, hunger, and passion for creating something. Coming up with ideas is easy. However, making money from an idea is difficult. It usually takes several failures before you can become a successful entrepreneur. Stay motivated and keep thinking of what you are doing this for. Concentrate on what your goals are and where you will be in the future.
2. Find A Problem And Solve It. Problem solving is the key to good business, and it is problem solving that brings value to others, hence why solving a problem, hopefully a big problem, is always than ideas and dreaming. Finding problems to solve is a good first step and then coming up with innovative ways to solve them should be next. A startup can only be successful when it solves a real problem.
3. Be Evolutionary. A question you need to ask yourself is; why is this business model unique – what makes it different? A successful business should be evolutionary, which is actually better than revolutionary. It is very important to understand the difference. I will write on this subject separately in the future but for now know that the best business ideas are evolutionary ideas – they take it to the next level.
4. Focus On Technology. Advances in technology usually create new entrepreneurial opportunities. Keep your eye on the latest trends and be prepared to act on new technology. Many successful entrepreneurs recognize emerging consumer needs and develop new market opportunities.
The iPhone and iPad are great examples of this – they have created new markets for thousands of “app’ developers and accessory manufacturers.
5. Don’t try to do it by yourself. Get people around you that you trust and will offer you support. Collaborate with other smart people and entrepreneurs that have experience. If they have succeeded, they have probably also failed and know what steps to take and what to avoid.
6. Pay Attention To Your Corporate Culture. Make your business and doing business with you fun. Start-ups are hard work, but should also be fun. Surround yourself with people that are passionate, positive, and have fun working with you. Start off with a good team and pick people who share your vision and ideas and are committed to seeing your venture through.
7. Learn To Lead. Lead by example by driving the business and creation process with your knowledge and hard work. Your communication with the rest of the team and your focus and hard work will inspire the others. The business environment is constantly changing, but the leadership component remains steadfast. It’s also important to identify and develop leaders in the organization. The success of this leadership has a direct impact on a company’s future.
8. Don’t Repeat Mistakes. To be a successful entrepreneur you need to expect and accept mistakes. You shouldn’t go out of your way to make them, but sometimes it takes mistakes to succeed. Mistakes here and there are ok, as long as they are not often and you learn from them. The worst mistake is the one that gets repeated. Surrounding yourself with people that have already made these mistakes can give you a huge advantage.
9. Understand your market. Competitiveness today is no longer defined by the quality of your product or offer. Although quality is still desirable, more importantly it’s how it meets the needs of your market or how it effectively solves your problems. You also have to have the ability to adapt quickly. If you aren’t able to adapt to market changes and innovations, someone else will.
10. Delegate. Don’t try to do everything yourself or even a little bit of everything. Have the people you hire specialize in certain tasks so you can focus on what you do best. By specializing in tasks you will be more efficient and get more done. There's no question that delegation is a skill that's critical to business success and any kind of life outside of the office.
11. Manage Risk. You need to know just how much you can afford to risk. Also get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If you can’t bear the idea of losing it, the risk is too great. An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some comfort level. Manage your finances well and pay yourself and your team just enough to get by until you have established a stronger financial position. This also shows investors that their money is being managed wisely and you are worth the risk.
12. Stay Cool. Things go wrong when you run a business, and you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. While it can happen to the best of us, keeping your cool will make it easier to find success, and keeps everybody focused on the task at hand.
13. Focus On Distribution. While having a great product or service is important, if you can’t get it into the hands of people to use, it’s useless. Distribution should be a key objective in any startup business. This is where a mentor can be very valuable to have. If you don’t have the means to get your product or service to the masses, find someone that does.
14. Innovate In Increments. Too often we think we have to improve in a dramatic fashion. All it really takes is consistent, incremental improvements. Try to do something better each day, and you will find that these small improvements compound in a big way over time. Following this rule will not only improve your chances of success in business, but many aspects of your life.
15. Time Is Money. Yes, that’s right I said it, but it’s certainly true. The world has changed and business and technology moves faster then ever, so the faster you can adapt to your market and develop new products and serves, the greater your chances for success. It takes a strong work ethic and a lot of time to get a business off the ground. It will take you a lot of time and focus, but remember to manage your time wisely.
Please feel free to comment or add any other suggestions below. Thanks.