Start It Up: 6 Tips for Prospective Entrepreneurs that You’ll Rarely Hear
by Eric Jackson
If you’re thinking about starting a business, talk to a million business owners and beware that not one of them is going to tell you business is easy. In fact, it’s a bit like the vaudeville plate-spinning act. The moment you get one plate spinning again, three more need your attention. It can seem like a cruel joke at times, no matter the stage of the business life cycle.
What you’ll find here are some pieces of advice I have occasion to pass along. I hope you find them useful.
Start-Up Tip #1: Side Hustle
Before you quit your job and throw yourself into building a new business, try your business as a Side Hustle. If you feel like you don’t have the time or hate the idea of working extra hard, I’d question whether you’re ready to start a business at all. Better to find out while you still have income than before you hit the reset button.
Start-Up Tip #2: Keep Good Company
One of the best sources of startup mojo is the counsel of the business owner who has “been there, done that.” Anyone who has successfully started and run a business is a wealth of real-world knowledge. In my experience, successful business owners feel a kinship with those who are compelled to start a business. Many, when asked for advice, are ready and willing to give you their hard-earned knowledge.
Start-up Tip #3: Fail Fast
“Why would I want to fail fast?” I don’t mean that you should try to fail when you start a business. What I actually mean is that you should test your business ideas before committing too much time and energy to the concept. If you already have customers, ask them what they think of your new process or product. In my experience, your existing customers will be more than happy to give you feedback. They want you to succeed!
Start-up Tip #4: Know Your Lane
Know your strengths; improve them. Know your weaknesses; hire for them. Peyton Manning didn’t practice tackling. This concept means hiring people who are better than you. Give them the responsibility, accountability, and authority to do their job, and they’ll make you look good. And if they don’t, fire them quickly and move on to the next person who can get it done.
Start-up Tip #5: Prepare to Learn
If you’re not ready to learn and grow, entrepreneurship and starting a business is going to be painful. You’re going to paint yourself into corners because you didn’t learn enough. Read books about business. For less than $20, you can learn business concepts you couldn’t get in business school for 5,000 times the cost…and that is NOT hyperbole.
Start-up Tip #6: Stay Paranoid
That light at the end of the tunnel might actually be a train. I was in the printing industry in the late 90’s and saw a picture I didn’t like. Instead, I sold my share of the company to my partners and dove head-first into building a website development firm. And if Keystone was still only building websites…that wouldn’t be pretty either. Keep your head on a swivel for that thing that could take you down.
Starting a business is never easy, but once you’re up-and-running, Keystone would be happy to help market your company.