Many people list running their own business as a life goal. There is something really liberating about working for yourself and not being answerable to anyone. But it is not an easy road to walk and the statistics on failed start-ups are quite astounding. Research on the topic is varied, but some studies suggest that as many as 90 percent of all start-ups fail within the first five years. It is a startling statistic. The real question though, is what makes the ten percent that fly differently? Do those companies do anything differently? The answer, in most cases, is probably not. A lot of it is down to luck, but there are factors that are more likely to contribute to success than others. Here are a few ideas you might want to consider before going out to register your first company.
Knowledge is power and the more you know, both about the industry that you are operating in and about business in general, the more likely you will be too successful. There are far too many people who simply like the idea of running their own business and who just find any business to run. Let’s say they decide to buy a coffee shop. Good idea, right? There are plenty of successful coffee shops around and people like to drink coffee. But if you have never worked in the hospitality industry before you are already starting off on the back foot. Similarly, if you have never completed a diploma in business management or an equivalent degree then you are going to struggle with the business side of things. So, if running your own business is a goal of yours, then research, study, and plan – you simply cannot be too well equipped.
Surround yourself with the best
Following on from the above, it is important to recognize that no matter how much you know and how well equipped you are, that there will always be people who know more than you do. You cannot be an expert in everything. Rather, know what your weaknesses are and employ people who are able to compliment you with their own skillset. Richard Branson is widely recognized as one of the most successful entrepreneurs on earth, but he is quick to admit that he knows far less than the people that he employs. He is also quick to credit them and acknowledge the value that they have brought to his organization. Do the same.
The maxim goes that you have two ears and one mouth and that they should be used in that ratio, applies more than ever to business – especially a new business that is fighting to establish itself and gain market share. Listen to your staff. Listen to your customers. And listen to the market. Hear what is needed and adapt and plan accordingly. While it is important to know where you are going and what you want to do, it is also important to listen and to adapt along the way.
Don’t be afraid
Take risks. While you don’t want to be foolhardy, it is also worth noting that you are very unlikely to succeed without taking a risk or two along the way. Don’t be afraid. With risk comes reward, and that, after all, is the reason that you started working for yourself in the first place.