If you step into a classroom full of students who are in the first semester of their first year and ask what they plan to do during and after their studies, a good number will say that they will study hard, make good grades and get well-paying jobs. Others may be thinking on a larger scale and wish to own their own successful business.
While having your own business often pays off, it is essential that fledgling entrepreneurs should arm themselves with the requisite information when starting out. Below are some of the things every founder must know about business management.
Well, no business will ever succeed if you lack the required skill to steer the business. Skills can come from the talents that are innate in a person or maybe learned based on what the person wants to do. In fact, for maximal efficiency, a mix of skills is required. For example, if someone is building an enterprise in the tech space, technological skills are not enough.
Sales and marketing skills are also required as no business can survive if it can’t sell its products. People management skills are also required since the founder will have to engage more people as the business grows. In all, nothing takes the place of skills in any business development.
Basic Entrepreneurial Mindset
It isn’t just enough to have skills; you must have the mindset of an entrepreneur. What does an entrepreneurial mindset look like? An entrepreneur must be a problem solver. While the goal of businessmen is profit-making, entrepreneurs start out as problem solvers even though the profits will start coming in later. Moreso, entrepreneurs remain dogged and persistent even when things don’t seem to be working in favor of the business. A ‘can do’ attitude defines an entrepreneur.
Customers are the soul of every business. No matter how good and amazing your products and services are, if you don’t have customers, you will leave the industry as soon as you are getting in. Talk to customers to find out what they actually need. That’s what you should build after all – what they need. Your products and services must be customer-centric. You should know your market segment well beforehand – what they need and how they need it – and be ready to go all out to satisfy them.
Aptitude for Business Process Management
Every business owner must understand those factors that are most critical to the business in order to succeed. Even if some tasks will have to be outsourced in order to achieve them, the entrepreneur must realize that, ultimately, the buck stops with them and they must bear responsibility for key decisions.
Zahi Daniel, founder, and CEO of Adapt Solution puts it in an interesting way: “Many entrepreneurs start their businesses hoping to quickly outsource practically every aspect of it. But it’s not exactly as easy as it is often portrayed. Founders must be involved in running their businesses especially in terms of business process management. This is particularly important to businesses that are in their earliest years. If an entrepreneur gets the business processes right, great news, otherwise they could face trouble”
Business owners that are busy may apply the Pareto principle of 20/80 by focusing on the 20% tasks that are critical to the survival and growth of the business. They may delegate the remaining 80% to other able hands. Business executives must learn how to do things that are important before they become urgent. This way, they avoid pressure and always work with calmness.
Every business owner must be willing and ready to take feedback. Feedback may come from customers, staff members, people who work in the same industry, etc. They must also be level-headed enough to respond in a positive manner and not feel discouraged or make derogatory comments personally.
Every Founder will have to learn sooner or later that negotiation never ends. In fact, just like sales, the startup will begin to deteriorate the moment one starts giving up on negotiation. Business owners must learn that there will always be a need to interphase with partners and other experts and they should possess the ability to reach a win-win position at all times.
Collaboration may be Necessary
The first objective of every new business is survival. At times, when the owner does not have the requisite skills, they should learn how to collaborate and leverage other people who have those skills. This way, the survival of the business is ensured and pressure is distributed throughout the team.
Learning is a lifelong project for everyone but especially for entrepreneurs. You must be open to knowing new ways of doing things within your industry. If necessary, take extra courses, go to grad school, obtain an MBA, etc. Just know that your innovation becomes old the moment it is implemented and as such, you want to always strive to be on top of the game by constant learning.
Starting your own business isn’t a bed of roses and numerous sacrifices are usually involved before you achieve success. You may not start seeing your desired results immediately, but with persistence, a dedicated team, and a positive mindset, you will hopefully prevail and start to see the fruits of your labor before long.
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