There’s this false perception that the moment you start your business, everything will turn around, and you can live the life of your dreams. Sadly, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Going into business for yourself is no small task. But if you’re going to take the plunge or have already done so, you may as well be prepared. So, here’s a sneak peek into what you can expect from the real world of entrepreneurship.
Forget the Fancy Titles, They Won’t Matter
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re the founder or co-founder of a startup, you can forget those snazzy titles because you won’t need them because entrepreneurship forces you to wear so many hats.
For example, in the weeks and months immediately following your company’s launch, don’t be surprised when you’re the one who mops the floor, cleans the windows, handles customer complaints, and cleans the bathrooms. Of course, that’s in addition to crafting proposals, making presentations, drumming up new business, and recruiting new members of the team. So, don’t be surprised if you’re still doing manual labor two or three years after launching your business.
Given the grittiness of early stage entrepreneurship, a less ostentatious title may be in order. Perhaps something simple, along the lines of Principal, Founder, etc. would be apt. Of course, the good news is that this is not a permanent situation. As time progresses, you will gradually be able to focus on executive level tasks. However, remember the younger your business, the less likely it is that tedious things will get done unless you do them yourself.
Entrepreneurs Have Many Bosses
The phrase ‘be your own boss’ sounds romantic to anyone contemplating a new business venture. However, the reality is the notion that you’re solely in charge is misleading. Indeed, if you have 50 customers and 10 employees, then you have 50 bosses.
While it is somewhat evident that a customer could be your boss, you’re probably wondering why anyone would see their employees as bosses. It’s simple, your ultimate job is to serve. Furthermore, since your team is often the closest to your clientele, they’re in a better position to identify new trends. Hence, business people that ignore their staff do so at their own peril.
Prepare to Pinch Pennies Until Your Business Takes Off
One of the biggest surprises that new business owners face is the amount of time and effort it takes to not only earn revenue sufficient to cover operating costs but to turn a profit. Of course, if you go in expecting a few lean years, minimizing business and personal costs from day one should come as no surprise. What you’re seeking to accomplish is to put yourself in a position where you never find yourself unable to cover the necessities that it takes to run a business.
Another thing you may want to do is adjust your income expectations. For instance, if visions of dollar signs flashed in your mind at the thought of launching a business, you’ll certainly want to scale it back.
In fact, whereas in your former ‘day job’ your earnings may have been above or at par with your peers, as an entrepreneur you can expect to earn far less than those that you left behind in the 9-5 world. And even when the income does pick up, you could find yourself so busy that you don’t have time to enjoy it.
Your Closest Family and Friends Will Say You’ve Gone Mad
Everyone loves to talk about entrepreneurship. Come on, who doesn’t enjoy fantasizing about living the good life? However, how many of us are as excited about ‘doing’ as we are about ‘thinking’ or ‘talking’? Therein lies the problem. When friends, family, or significant others hear you lay out your business plans they politely file it in the ‘fantasy’ category of their mental filing cabinet. So long as your dream remains a lofty idea, they’re all too happy to share words of encouragement.
However, the moment you begin carrying out your plans your closest confidants will begin uttering phrases like, ‘Are you sure this is what you really want to do?’, ‘You haven’t quit your job yet, have you?’, or my personal favorite, ‘I hope you weren’t planning to ask me for money, were you’?
The fact is most people are afraid to leave the safety of a ‘guaranteed income,’ never mind the fact that nothing is promised in life. But that’s just the way it is with anyone who isn’t acquainted with entrepreneurship. Most lay people just don’t understand what it is that entrepreneurs do on a day to day basis. And if you’re in a nebulous or obscure field, those around you will understand even less. So get ready for the weird questions and snide remarks from those you love, mark my words–they’re coming!
Looking the Part
As any successful entrepreneur will tell you, when it comes to doing business appearances matter; this is especially the case in early stage ventures. Hence, no matter how bad you feel inside, when talking with employees, vendors, etc., you must always relay a sense of success. However, this is not about going out and buying expensive toys just for appearance’s sake. Instead, this is a matter of projecting confidence and not skimping on the essentials.
So, remember that if you need someone to talk to about the challenges of running a business, it’s always best to speak with another business person. But you’d want this person to be completely objective and unbiased, which means it’s best to talk to someone who shares no connections with your business. Otherwise, you risk the possibility of your frustrations being leaked to your staff members, landlord, or other key individuals.
Lonely Travels Ahead
In the point above I highlighted the importance of conveying success always and only sharing your challenges with a select group of individuals. What was not mentioned is how lonely you’ll be as a result of doing so. Make no mistake, at the beginning there will be days when you’ll yearn for another person to talk to that understands the struggles of being an entrepreneur.
Even if things are going well in your business, you could still spend most of your time in solitude given the hectic lives that entrepreneurs lead. For example, if you were accustomed to seeing and speaking with your parents once a week before going into business, you’ll be hard-pressed to spend a solid day out of each month with them, after striking out on your own.
You Must Learn to Adapt
As entrepreneurs, we tend to be control freaks. However, when you’re running a business, there are many external factors that are beyond your control. For instance, one of the businesses that I run is a commodities trading company. So, when the gold market crashed in April of 2013, I was scared. However, the situation forced me to quickly evolve and expand into other areas until the situation returned to normal.
Keep in mind, none of this is meant to dampen your spirits as it relates to your new venture. Instead, this is intended to be a handy guide to set the tone for the interview I’m about to share with you. Recently, I was privileged to sit down and have a conversation with Jason Saltzman, CEO of Alley and Startup Contributor for Entrepreneur Magazine. Here’s how the conversation went, I hope you enjoy!
via Business Articles | Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2irNHNS