Setting up your own business and being an entrepreneur can be tough. Here Miriam Dervan, author of 'To Be An Entrepreneur: Just Get On With It’, gives us her top tips to help any budding entrepreneurs fight the fear and just get on with it.
Most of us don’t know what an entrepreneur is. We hear the word bandied around on The Apprentice or Dragon’s Den and immediately think of big businesses built from scratch and empires run by powerful tycoons.
But being an entrepreneur isn’t about wearing a sharp suit and calling the shots. It’s about having the passion and determination to roll up your sleeves, get down to some hard graft and take the risks that come with doing it by yourself.
Ultimately, all you have to do to become an entrepreneur is stop dreaming and start doing. Here are some tips I learnt while launching mdevents to help you fight the fear and just get on with it:
Get yourself a mentor
Have you been told you should take your ideas or skills and apply them to a business of your own? Many of us have, but few of us actually act on it.
Whether that is due to fear or lack of faith in our own abilities, the truth remains - if we don’t try, we will never succeed.
Of course it’s not as simple as that and there will be many points along the way where we falter. In the very beginning, having faith in your idea may not be enough.
So to give yourself an extra boost, find yourself a mentor who can help guide you and offer advice during times when you most doubt yourself.
Don’t believe me? The figures speak for themselves. Businesses whose leaders have a mentor are 70% more likely to survive their first five years than those that done.
Have the confidence to make decisions
Decision making is probably the riskiest part of any job but it’s also one of the most important. In business, you don’t have time to procrastinate.
Really the key to decision making is confidence. To make decisions, you need to have the self-belief within you - and when you start to step out and put that into action, it’s amazing what can happen.
In the initial stages, invest in yourself and work on building your confidence. Look for small wins that will help build you up - this is a much more positive way to spend your energy than worrying about what may or may not go wrong with your business down the line.
Develop a business plan, but don’t obsess over making it perfect
To help you in your decision making and to straighten out exactly what your business has to offer, what you wish to achieve and how you are going to go about achieving it, have a business plan.
Not having a business is plan is one of the key reasons startups and small businesses fail, so it’s definitely worth taking some time to develop your plan as thoroughly as possible.
However, don’t use this as an excuse to procrastinate. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it absolutely shouldn’t be rigid.
Your business objectives will evolve as your business does, so be prepared to be flexible and apply all those valuable lessons you learn along the way.
Think about your future. Be ambitious about what you want and give yourself something constructive to aim for.
Don’t be afraid of the hard times
You will undoubtedly face hurdles as your business evolves. Don’t let this put you off the journey before you’ve even begun.
The hard times are what make you stronger, so don’t shy away from them. That said, there are positive measures you can put in place before you start out, which will help protect you from any catastrophic situations further down the line.
One the best pieces of advice I was offered was to get to know your market inside out. If you know who your audience is, and are aware of any significant changes in behaviour and expectations, you will be able to adapt to meet these.
Running a business is a journey that needs to flex and change as the world around you does. Never be afraid of what is happening today and beyond. It could change your business for the better in ways you never knew possible.
Always keep an open mind, look outside the box and try not to fear what may be lurking around the corner. Make it work for you.
Miriam Dervan is the author of 'To Be An Entrepreneur: Just Get On With It’ (£12.99, Panoma Press)