(1) Start with small profits!
If your main source of income today is through employment, it means you are earning salary. Earning a salary and earning profits require 2 different sets of mindsets and skills. Do not be too hasty to earn big bucks in this world. Start small, train up your mind by doing some small sales first. The key to starting a business is to identify a current or future demand around you and use your creativity to meet that particular demand. Create a service or sell a product to start earning small profits while you are still an income earner. Once you earn small profits, figure out how to earn larger profits.
Sales contribute to about 30% of the success of a huge business.
(2) Learn from failure
Find a mentor. Mentors are not teachers. Teachers follow a syllabus but unfortunately, there are no syllabuses in entrepreneurship. You need to hear experience. Most people like to hear success stories but in this case, hear not how he succeeded but how he failed. Modelling after successes may not bring the same successes to you because the business conditions are ever changing. Instead, you can save time on the path to success by learning from those mistakes your mentor has gone through so you can avoid similar errors.
How many failure stories have you heard today? The number of stories shall determine how fast you grow as an entrepreneur. If you are not keen to hear these stories, then be prepared to fail as many times as possible in order to gain experience.
(3) Do not rest on your laurels – keep testing your products
Do not fall in love with your product. Instead, fall in love with your customers’ needs. A common mistake which people often make is to believe that his/her product is the best in the world. But if that’s not what the customer wants, you can’t sell. Try selling a high tech refrigerator to an Eskimo or try selling winter clothing to someone living in the Sahara desert.
In the long run, a product needs to be so attractive that it can sell by itself with minimum marketing efforts or campaigns. Think Apple’s iPhone. Do not be complacent. Always have the mindset that your product is always a ‘Beta’ in your mind. Ensure that you hear from your customers and focus on making your product relevant. Think Nokia and Apple.
Product contributes 30% of the success of a huge business.
(4) Get your own hands dirty
I have noticed another common mistake that new entrepreneurs make – hire someone to handle the operational part of a new business. This is especially so if the person has achieved success during employment. While money-buys-time leveraging is a good concept to have, it is irrelevant in the starting phase of a company. What is the role of the founder of the company? The answer? EVERYTHING. You need to be prepared and willing to get your own hands ‘dirty’ by handling those unglamorous, tedious, monotonous processes of your company. Do not expect an employee to see your business the way you see, or to have the same passion that you have. Alternatively, work with a partner you can trust in systemising the whole process along the way.
Operations contribute to 30% of the success of a huge company.
(5) People. People. People.
What else is key? Recruitment is THE key. You may have the best marketing plan, the best product ever designed and the best mentor in the world, but you will still need people to lead these functions or to operate them. You, the entrepreneur of your company, MUST be skilled in recruiting the RIGHT people (not necessarily the best) into your team. The RIGHT people form the BEST team. It’s the best team that wins the race in the entrepreneurship world. One wrong person in the team has the potential to destroy your company. Handle it with care. Recruitment contributes to 50% of the success of a huge company.
But Recruitment + Marketing + Product + Operation doesn’t add up to 100%, you may ask.
You are right. Many things don’t make sense in the entrepreneurship world. You need a mindset change. Start getting used to it.
Mr Linus Lin, Founder and Principal of L-intelligent Horizons Pte Ltd