Let’s face it, being an entrepreneur is tough. It’s a risky endeavor, but comes with the dream of big rewards. Below are seven tips to be a successful entrepreneur. I can’t guarantee your success, but I can help steer you in the right direction. The rest is up to you!
1. Get the Cash Flowing
We all know that cash is king. Without cash flow, your business will not be successful. The first step to generating income is to sell a product or service that people want to purchase. Entrepreneurs are known for being dreamers and trying to sell their new big ideas. However, if there’s no market for your product or service, you will not be able to generate the cash flow your business needs to survive.
2. You Need a Profitable Business Model
Great, you have a product or service that people want to buy. Now it’s time to figure out a business model that works. Can you make a profit? Will the income you generate selling your product or service be more than the costs of running a business? If not, your business won’t survive for long. When running these projections, a good rule of thumb is to always overestimate your costs and underestimate your income.
3. Marketing is More Important than Mastering
You have a product or service that people want to buy and a successful business model. Now get out there and market yourself! I’m guilty of this one, spending too much time planning. Fear settles in and I spend lots of time trying to feel more qualified. Be confident, get out there, and sell your product. Funny thing, you actually learn more while you work on a customer’s engagement and interact with your clients. Not to mention, this helps get the cash flowing sooner than later.
4. Spend Time on Revenue Generating Tasks
If you’re coming from Corporate America, you’re used to being paid for sitting at a desk from 9-5. Let’s face it, your paycheck was deposited into your bank account regardless of how much you created or the results of your work. Entrepreneurs need to change this mindset. Now, your paycheck is directly related to the value you add to your customers lives. Wasting Time = No Paycheck. You need to be focused and spend your time doing revenue generating tasks.
5. Continually Look For Ways to Keep Costs Low
You have your marketing strategy down, are closing more deals, and spending your time wisely doing revenue generating tasks. Congrats, you have cash is coming in the door. Don’t forget to keep track of where your money is going. Keep track of what you spend, where you spend it, and see if there are ways you can cut these costs. The more entrepreneurs make, the less frugal they tend to become. Keep in mind, the more money that goes out the door means less money in your pocket. So keep a close eye on those pennies!
6. Measure Your Results
Unless you measure and track the results, there is no way to tell if what you are doing is actually working. As business grows, you might add a new department, change your product line, try a new advertising campaign, etc. Did this new department increase your profit margin? Did the new product line help convert more leads to buyers? Did the new advertising campaign bring in new customers? Without tracking and measuring the results of these changes, you have no idea if these programs or strategies actually worked. Meaning you could be wasting money and not even know it. Or on the flip side, you could have stepped into a gold mine and not even know it!
7. Learn From Other Successful Entrepreneurs
Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be. No need to spend your time reinventing the wheel. You can learn from their mistakes and from their successes. Take that knowledge and move forward with your own business! Consider hiring a business coach or find a mentor. Find someone who has done what you want to do. They can give you tips and hold you accountable for your own goals.
Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and Virtual CFO solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, home brewing, quilting, and hanging out with her family.