A lot of people want to be entrepreneurs. After all, who doesn’t want to be Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk? The fact is most entrepreneurs struggle just getting started because they lack the courage to take the leap. And, for those brave souls who do take the leap, turning courage into success is not always easy.
It’s been over 20 years since I took my first entrepreneurial leap of faith. I remember how scared I was, mainly of the unknown. With close to a dozen business ventures now, including one that’s been ranked seven times as one of the fastest growing companies in America, I’ve learned many lessons along the way. But especially important – I’ve learned that progress is more important than perfection.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t get stuck by letting perfection stand in they way of progress!” username=”influencive”]
Getting stuck will kill your progress and could potentially kill your business before you’re able to reach your full potential, or in some cases, before you even get started. Watch out for these four roadblocks that cause many entrepreneurs to get stuck on their journeys:
1. You Have a Purpose – but No Plan!
Purpose is essential, but having an actual business plan and strategy is crucial for turning an idea into a business. Not sure where to get started? The Small Business Association has a free resource to help you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and put together a plan. Know of a successful business you’d like to emulate? Search for their founders on LinkedIn or other social outlets. Read their content, ask questions, comment on their work and learn from those who have been there before you. Or better yet, meet with other entrepreneurs one-on-one. Finding a mentor can be one of the most powerful assets in business.
Conferences are also a great way to meet and learn from other entrepreneurs who have already done what your looking to do. The DO BIG THINGS Conference with Donald Kelly and Travis Thomas is one such conference that is designed to help startups and small business owners break through.
2. This is NOT the Field of Dreams
If you build it, there is no guarantee they will come. So, what is your plan for getting the word out and creating awareness? A marketing strategy isn’t a luxury – it’s a must have. Depending on your specific industry, this may include traditional marketing avenues like advertising, PR and/or direct mail. But regardless of industry, you’ll need to incorporate digital marketing into your strategy. Leveraging social media like LinkedIn, content marketing, email marketing and possibly digital advertising (Google Adwords, social advertising, etc) will figure in prominently. Convince and Convert offers a great resource to help you get started with a content marketing strategy, but you might want to consider investing in the consult of an experienced marketing coach or consultant to help you craft a marketing plan that aligns with your business strategy and overarching goals.
3. You Still Have a 9-to-5 Mindset
A new entrepreneur needs to say good-bye to the 9-5 mindset and start operating more like their local 7-11, because you will always be open! One of the biggest reasons many of us become entrepreneurs is for more flexibility. Without a doubt, entrepreneurship can often mean that you work from home or even exotic locations (if that’s what you’re going for) or even allow you to attend your child’s school concert or soccer game. But the “price” of that flexibility, especially in the early days, is that you’ll have to invest as much of your time as possible into your business. Success will certainly require sacrifice, so while you may miss some family or school events, the rewards can be incredible. The first few years after my daugher was born, I missed a lot. I worked long hours and burned the candle at both ends. It certainly wasn’t easy.
Not long ago, someone asked me two questions. 1) Was it worth it? My response… absolutely. 2) Would I do it again? My response…without a doubt! That company went on to do over $80-million in annual revenue before I sold my equity to pursue other ventures, but without that willingness to sacrifice along the way, I might be sitting here telling you a story of just another failed startup.
4. You’re Afraid to Burn the Ships!
When Cortes came ashore to conquer what would become Veracruz, he ordered the men to burn their ships. Win or lose, there was no turning back. As harsh as this action sounds, entrepreneurs need to have the same passion and drive to turn their dreams into a reality. If there is an Option B, or Option Z, when things become too tough, you will likely bail. Cut the cord on your backup plans and go all in on your entrepreneurial journey. If you’ve got an Option B in the background, it will distract you and hamper your efforts. Don’t let it.
The fact is, we all get stuck from time to time no matter how many business ventures we’ve started. What’s critical is to understand why, and more importantly, how to get unstuck. Are there more than four areas to get stuck as entrepreneur? Absolutely! But tackling these four, and understanding that progress is more important than perfection, should help guide you throughout your journey.
Let’s connect! Get my book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful LinkedIn Users” or find me on Twitter at @askdennisbrown