There is no “right” path to success, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship. There’s no right age, time, circumstance, college degree, etc. – and that’s what I love about it. What you need is less about the “right stuff” and more about having the right attitude.
Starting your own business is dictated entirely by your mentality: Are you hard working? Are you passionate? Can you make the necessary sacrifices? Can you face adversity head on?
So while there is no right path, I do like to say that there are five commandments that all entrepreneurs should live by:
1. Identify your passion.
People start businesses for one of two reasons: to make “a quick buck” or to fulfill a passion – like creating change or building something substantial. Passion keeps you going when your friends are out attending parties, watching television, or just hanging out.
2. Do your research.
A fortune isn’t made from an original idea alone. Thinking of ideas doesn’t make you a successful entrepreneur – executing those ideas does. You have to be able to identify and quantify a real need for your product or service. While you’re at it, you should determine who your competitors are and whether it is wise to challenge them for the same dollar.
3. Hold off on expansion.
Early successes may launch even bigger dreams – but do yourself a favor – ignore them in the beginning. Start small and stay small. You need to deal with any problems that may come up (remember problems are inevitable) and more importantly, you need to be able to change the focus of your business if necessary. Consider expansion only when your core business is running smoothly and profitably, and your assets permit you to fund the growth.
4. Set fixed goals.
Write down five or six (max !) goals for your business and consult them on a regular basis. Operating your business involves making so many decisions that you may feel overwhelmed at times. Reviewing your goals on a consistent basis will allow you to prioritize what must be done and when.
5. Have an exit strategy.
This may seem inappropriate at the planning stage, but it can guide the way you grow and shape your company. Do you plan to sell it for a capital gain? Share management duties when it reaches a certain size? Close the doors and walk away at some point? Each alternative may influence your operating decisions differently so have an idea of where you want to be in 5, 10, 15 years.
All that said, these commandments don’t guarantee success. Nothing in life guarantees that. Success is earned, and entrepreneurship is no different. These commandments guarantee you nothing except a chance at success, and that you won’t make the rookie mistakes budding entrepreneurs often make when starting their business.
Are you ready for that chance?
To Your Success,