In business, there are some realities that only become clear after working in the industry for a long time, sometimes years or even decades. Here are eight business realities you can learn from experience if you’re willing to commit the time and effort to understand them and make them work in your favor.
1. A business idea is easy
Anyone can have a great business idea, but turning that idea into a successful business is much harder. In other words, ideas are worthless unless you execute them. The most successful entrepreneurs and businesses understand that they need to execute ruthlessly and repeat after me: ideas are cheap. Execution is everything.
So my advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Pick an idea, any idea, and figure out how to make it happen; design your product or service so that you can get feedback quickly from potential customers; then take action on what you’ve learned.
This process might be called business development or market research or validation, but in reality, it’s just good old-fashioned execution.
2. Work will pay off
It’s easy to get discouraged when you are not seeing results. But before you get too down on yourself, take a step back and think about what you are working towards. Sure, it would be nice if that new business idea of yours was up and running today, but in reality it will take time to get there. To stay motivated, look at your long-term goal as well as your short-term goal and remind yourself why it is important to keep trying.
Give yourself some credit if things weren’t going right, you wouldn’t be trying so hard!
3. Passion isn’t enough
It’s a common misconception that you need passion to get ahead in business. Passion can help of course but it can also work against you if you are too emotionally attached to your idea.
The perfect balance is between staying true to your vision and also being flexible enough to adapt quickly when things don’t go as planned. It takes a lot of hard work and long hours (think 80-hour weeks at times), so make sure you have what it takes before taking on such a demanding challenge. When starting out, ask yourself: Am I willing to dedicate every ounce of energy for years on end?
4. Build your skills and experience
Don’t stop building your skills and experience after you get hired most employers expect you to do some additional self-study, even if it’s on company time.
This can mean enrolling in a class, reading about trends in your industry or volunteering for an extracurricular project that uses different sets of skills. By adding to your toolkit as an employee, you ensure that you’ll have a more diverse range of options when considering leaving to start your own business.
That said, ” don’t jump ship before giving your new gig at least six months”
5. Prepare yourself to succeed long term
While starting a business can be thrilling, most new businesses fail within their first three years. It’s important to understand why that happens and how you can avoid making those same mistakes. Start by learning what industry experts consider five of today’s biggest business realities:
- It’s not all about you;
- Set clear expectations;
- Be ready for change;
- Treat your customers well;
- Plan for change on purpose.
While each of these issues requires its own focused solution, understanding what they are and why they matter is an excellent place to start your preparations for success.
6. Get a mentor
Mentors are often some of your business realities you’ll learn from experience. In fact, mentorship is probably one of the best ways to gain real-world business experience and knowledge.
Having a mentor who’s willing to share their hard-earned lessons can make all of the difference in growing your business. This could be an incredibly valuable opportunity that only comes around once or twice in a lifetime, so don’t wait too long! Identify mentors as soon as possible and start learning today.
7. Don’t forget the paperwork
It’s easy to forget about all of those pesky administrative tasks when you’re knee-deep in product development, but if you don’t have everything in order legally (including a trademark, or patent filing), your business could be at risk.
Even worse, if you make mistakes along these lines while trying to grow your business too quickly, it can kill morale and result in a massive layoff. When it comes to paperwork from contracts to project proposals take time to get things right from day one.
8. Get ready for cash flow issues
No matter how much research you do or how great your plan is, your business is going to hit some major bumps in the road at some point.
You will run into problems, make mistakes and come face-to-face with an array of unexpected circumstances that throw a wrench in your well-crafted plans. If you’re prepared for these realities, you can keep them from derailing your business entirely. Here are eight of those unavoidable business realities to get ready for.