How to Survive the Entrepreneurial Roller-coaster
Being an entrepreneur is not easy; if it was, everyone would probably be doing it. Make no mistake, there are no shortcuts, and it will be an uphill climb. However, that shouldn’t be discouraging news for any of us.
The entrepreneurial roller-coaster comes with many challenges, but they can be overcome. I’ve noted down some of the issues I’ve seen inexperienced entrepreneurs fail to take note of. Some of them have resulted in amazing business ideas failing.
My hope is that after we’re done looking at these factors, we’ll have the tools necessary to survive starting our own businesses.
1. Treat your customers with respect.
This obviously doesn’t mean do whatever they say. Instead, listen to what your customers are telling you; even the details that don’t seem relevant. People tend to notice the little things especially when they’re being offered a service.
Your brand may have the shiniest logo, the prettiest packaging and the most gorgeous entrepreneur (you). But that won’t matter if you give people attitude and are condescending. People will remember the gentle smile, the patience and the willingness to communicate and understand.
That thing that people always say. “The customer is always right” rings true. Not every customer is an angel. But to survive as an entrepreneur requires us to let go of ego and impulsivity; to not take things personally. It requires us to be professional, to treat even the worst of the worst with compassion. In the end, you’re the real winner.
2. Build An Authentic Network.
We hear this all the time, but it’s true.
Building a network of contacts helps generate new business opportunities. Whether it’s a returning customer or someone you delegate tasks to; get to know them authentically.
If you have a team or are hiring one, build an authentic relationship with them. I know matters of professionalism are essential to any workplace. However, having a team party here and there wouldn’t hurt. It helps foster team bonding that can keep everyone feeling motivated and appreciated. And in the event you part ways with one of your staff, do it amicably; keep in touch if you can. I’ve heard so many cases of past employees giving good referrals to their old bosses simply based on how they were treated. Yeah, it’s amazing.
Your network can also extend outside the workplace, including other people in your field of expertise. Check out their work, visit their grand openings, see what they do and connect. Of course, not everyone will see this behaviour and smile in return, but I believe it’s important to be genuine.
Your vibes attract your tribe. Who knows, by networking you might end up collaborating with someone who finds your work equally amazing. A win for all.
3. Invest wisely and don’t try to do everything
Try to resist overspending on non-essential items, even when the business is running well (Especially when the business is running well). Trouble could strike at any moment and any well-meaning leader or entrepreneur should be ready for all likely scenarios.
This desire to spend on luxury items or non-essentials can be dangerous. This is why I urge young entrepreneurs to not try and do everything. If you’ve been making beauty products for the better part of two years and all of a sudden start selling hamburgers your returning clients will raise eyebrows. Not only that, your brand identity becomes compromised.
And maybe you take it a step further and start making more burgers than beauty products. It’s a dangerous game because you risk alienating your core audience, the clients who go you where you are.
This is not to say do the same thing forever, far from it. When the time comes and your business is more stable, take risks and consider entering new ventures.
By trying to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that early in your career as an entrepreneur you risk spreading your resources thin. It’s better to save those resources for a rainy day, because rainy days will come, and a small up and coming business is in far greater danger than an established one.
4. Keep up to date with your professional tools
Depending on the services you offer, I would advise keeping up to date with the technology needed. If you’re a graphic designer, for example, it’s beneficial to research all types of technologies that are being released. You may find better alternatives that help you to be more effective in your creative process.
Researching widely will help you stay in the know, and it can help you find new ways to be productive. Don’t be stagnant, make room to grow.
5. Don’t stop learning
Even as things start looking up; it’s important to keep learning new ways to improve. The world is always moving, and we should move with it.
I often believe most entrepreneurs fail to achieve success because they relax and assume everything will always stay the same. The market is always changing, even as we speak. We should push ourselves to research our competitors and to learn from our own mistakes. And most of all, not to give up.
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