Entrepreneurship, as you’ve probably heard, is like a game of chess. You must make your moves right and keenly anticipate your opponent’s’ moves. Opponents here mean everything from your competitors to market forces and the rest. Fail to plan for these and your end may not be far away.
While we cannot teach you exactly how to plan for every situation, we have been in the game long enough to provide some useful pieces of advice. The following are seven things we believe you should know before launching the startup if you want to take off on the right foot.
1. Owning and running a business is tough
It’s going to be a rough ride. Are you prepared for the challenges ahead? Or, are you only excited by the gains such as big profits and the fame that comes with owning a big company? Remember that you’ll be working many hours, with lots of responsibilities on your shoulders. You must be ready for that.
2. You need an established market base for your products/services
There are two broad categories of products that you can come up with; nice products and marketable products. No one is going to buy a product because it’s nice; people buy items because they are practical. Do you have a market base that would find your products practical?
3. Growth is determined by market size
You must also be practical about this. Don’t just estimate size based on gut feelings. Instead, find someone to conduct a study for you or, to minimize costs, find recent studies that speak about the size and behavior of your target market. How big is it? How fast is it growing?
4. You’re up against competition
One mistake budding entrepreneurs make is imagining that their product will just crush it once it gets to the market. That’s as wrong as you could get. Every product, even the outstanding ones like the iPhone still face fierce competition. Your job is to find out, assess, and plan for your completion.
5. Space might be limited initially. Be ready to share
Very few people start with tons of money. It follows, therefore, that you may not have the spacious offices you often see in movies and the big companies. If you’re lucky enough not to start off in a garage somewhere (like Steve Jobs), be prepared to share coworking spaces with your team.
6. Budgeting can make or break your business
Although you have access to angle investors and venture capital, it’s important to keep close track of your profitability and market forecast lest you end up in debt. Professional bookkeeping is therefore mandatory.
7. You gain wisdom on the job
Finally, entrepreneurship is one of those jobs where you can’t successfully plan for everything. No matter how good you are at it, your biggest lessons will be learned once you open your doors. Be ready to take notes.
The truth is that even with these simple yet very effective tips, you could still fail. But, at the very least, they make failure difficult.