A business mantra that you may have heard of is “failing faster”. This can be interpreted in many ways and it’s often misunderstood by students and budding entrepreneurs who are trying to get their big break in the world of business.
For some, failing faster means to quickly cut their losses and get out of a business while it’s sinking. This is a good interpretation of the saying, but it’s not the full story. Yes, it’s important to get out of a business if it has stopped growing before more of your time, effort and money are invested, but failing faster holds a deeper meaning and it’s even more important than ever for new entrepreneurs to grasp the concepts behind it.
What is failing faster?
Picture it this way; what is the number one source of knowledge that people rely on to grow themselves as well as their business? Tech-savvy people will say the internet, and they would be partially correct. The internet is indeed a database of knowledge that collectively contains far more information than any library in the world, and there are thousands of articles, journals and case studies to look at for inspiration and help. Older business owners are likely to say from other people. Industry veterans, figureheads and mentors are all perfectly good examples of good sources of information and guidance. Yet, there’s one thing that remains certain; all of these sources are derived from one simple method of acquiring knowledge: experience.
This is why failing faster has the most potential for building up your knowledge. The more things you expose yourself to, the more likely you’ll be able to learn from your own experiences and thus, build a better brand and develop yourself as an entrepreneur. It’s important to note that experience alone won’t turn you into a successful business owner, but it plays a major role in applying whatever you have learnt in a real-world scenario.
How do you fail faster the right way?
There are a number of different ways to fail faster without harming your own chances of success. The first would be rapid manufacturing. Ideas don’t always work out, and some companies can spend months or years working on a project that is ultimately scrapped because the fundamental idea was flawed. This is a huge waste of time and resources, which is why rapid prototyping of a product is needed to get it into the hands of consumers to gather feedback and suggestions.
The goal isn’t to get it right on the first try, but to have a product that can be talked about and tested before you invest more money and resources. Imagine if you spent the entire evening baking a large and extravagant cake, only to realise that you used the wrong type of flour in the end and created something inedible. It would’ve been wise to test it first by using fewer ingredients and tasting it before you decided to invest more money and time into it.
The same concept applies to business. If you want to have a better final product, then you need to fail faster and get your ideas out there in a timely manner so that you can grow them steadily instead of trying to surprise the industry and consumers with something.
So You Want to be a Female Solopreneur: 4 Things You Need to Do First
Becoming a solopreneur is one way that many women create careers that earn them income outside of a traditional employment situation. Solo entrepreneurship is popular and growing. According to The Balance, 41 million people in the United States count themselves as solopreneurs and many of them are making serious money — more than $1.2 trillion for the American economy in just the last year to be exact. This kind of success can happen for you too.
While getting to be self-employed often starts with a dream and a concept, your solopreneur career can also revolve around a unique skill set, but you also need to do a few other things.
Create a Bridge
First, you need to create a bridge. Most women will not be able to quit their jobs and then make enough in self-employment to pay the rent next month. Bridges solve the issue. For some women, they will have enough severance pay or savings to make ends meet until they start to earn enough income to pay the bills. Others will need to take a bridge job — one that involves working fewer hours than you are currently so you have time leftover each day to work on your business.
Build your Brand
Next, you need to build your brand. Writing blog posts, maintaining a social media presence and networking are critical. After all, when you are a solo entrepreneur, you are your business. In general, plan on creating a website and generating some content that is optimized for search engines. You will also need to create a profile on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. On these platforms, you have one job — to demonstrate your knowledge about your industry. This content needs to be sharable, relatable, and authentic, and a little visual magic doesn’t hurt.
Buy Better Technology
You will also need to take a look at your technology. You will need a domain name and hosting for your website to start with, but that is just scratching the surface. You are going to need a good computer as well as a variety of different softwares and apps to help you organize your work. Additionally, you are going to need a phone. Solo entrepreneurs are often on the go. You need a mobile phone that can keep up. Look at powerful smartphones like the Apple iPhone 6s. The screen is large enough that you can actually do some work directly from the device, the camera is powerful enough to take photos you can use professionally and Touch ID keeps your phones secure while making it easy to open apps.
Invest in Services
Finally, invest in services. Your iPhone 6s needs to be on a network with a high-quality carrier; dropped calls simply are not professional. You also need to have enough data to actually take care of your business needs, so look for a carrier that doesn’t charge extra fees as your business takes off and your usage increases. Cloud computing services are also important. The right software will capture and categorize your expenses, manage your projects, organize your files and make running your business that much easier.
If you are thinking about becoming a solopreneur, now is the time. Just make sure that you take the right steps to make it happen. Anyone can say that she is in business for herself, but you have to act like you are running a business to be successful. Take the time to plan, prepare and invest in your vision. Your future as a solo entrepreneur depends on it.
Building Your Personal Brand Through Your Business
For every young entrepreneur, there is an element of prestige with business ownership that can be very attractive. Your career and your ambitions define you. You might have a great brand and a great product that you’re profiting from. But is it you or your product that has the most interesting story to tell? Chances are, as a young up-and-coming entrepreneur, you are your brand, and you’re the one that customers are most interested in.
Your business and product brand are recognisable, and your name goes with them both. This is why you should be actively marketing you as much as your products or services. Your business can help build your personal brand and vice versa. It’s important to stay connected with those that are interested in your entrepreneurial activities. After all, you’re not likely to stick with this one business forever without exploring more opportunities in the future.
So how can you push your name as a brand? Start with your social media. Entrepreneurs like Issa Asad have used social media to build their profile or persona. With extensive knowledge of this type of marketing, it’s worth reading as many posts as you can about how to refine your own techniques. What is your area of specialism? Make sure that able to write regularly on the topic, becoming a voice of authority.
Your voice of authority natural increases your share of voice for your business interests as well. This can, in turn, boost your customer base and share of the market. Customers will get to know you as an authoritative voice. This increases the trust in your brand and products. Of course, it also makes you more accountable for it too! Blog posts alone won’t take you far, though. You need a full marketing strategy.
Look to authoring white papers, and network with the journalists and writers in your industry. Offer to help them out with upcoming stories. Provide quotes quickly whenever asked. Look to other media to talk about trending topics relevant to your specialism. Podcasts, YouTube videos, and guest posting can all help to increase the reach of your name and your brand. You might even publish an eBook.
Of course, meeting your customers and your peers is essential to building a brand. You don’t need gimmicks like merchandise, but it’s been proven to be helpful for some! Attend conferences, exhibitions, seminars and talks. Meet and greet whenever possible. You can structure some question time as well so that customers can really get to know you.
Charisma, charm, and personality are essential if you want to build a personal brand. Don’t forget – your character might be just your public persona. Sometimes it’s good to have that distance. Trolls can be quite hurtful if you take their comments personally. But if it’s your public profile that’s getting slammed, you can rest assured it’s not personal.
Building up a brand for yourself takes as much time, effort and precision as any other marketing strategy. But there are plenty of benefits of doing this for the young entrepreneur with potential.
You Can Be A Solo Entrepreneur And Still Have a Support Network
There’s a myth that is widely circulated in the business world. It’s the one about the entrepreneur, the one that says he or she did it all on their own, that they were a guru (/genius) that made their company a success through their own sheer will and talent. The story falls apart when you dig into the real stories of these entrepreneurs, for one good reason: no one can build a business on their own, even if they’re the only employee. The good news is that you’ll be better served if you embrace the support options available to you.
Friends and Family
Your friends and family will be an invaluable resource on your quest to make it to the top. There’ll offer support in a number of ways. They’ll offer the encouragement you’ll badly need at times (nobody gets to the top without getting a few bruises); they’ll be able to provide guidance and advice on decisions you’re having difficulty making; and they’ll be on hand to help out with all the small, menial tasks that go into running a business.
Bring in Outside Help
You don’t know everything. You can be an expert in 70% of the tasks that need to be taken care of, but you’ll never be able to do everything all on your own. You won’t necessarily have to hire an employee (though don’t underestimate how beneficial this can be), but you will need to bring in outside help in some form. Your best option will be to outsource the technical, expert stuff to the professionals. Some things are too important to be left to people who can’t-do it to the highest standard (i.e., you).
There won’t be too many first-time entrepreneurs who have built a company all on their own, using their own money. And really, even if you could, it’s probably not the best idea to sink all your cash into a new enterprise and leave yourself short of money in other areas of your life. You can look for investors, though be aware that you’ll be losing some control of your company if you down this route. Alternatively, click here for more info about small business loans. Just as with most other details relating to your company, the financial health of your business is one thing you don’t want resting solely on your savings.
We’re in the golden age of startups, and as such there are plenty of other people out there who are in precisely the same boat that you’re in. While some of these will, on paper at least, be your “competitors,” you’re all in the great game, Lean on each other, give each other support. Everyone wins!
It’s Not a Compromise; It’s a Necessity
In the end, your company will be much healthier if it’s not just you calling the shots. Bringing others into the fold will allow you to see the bigger picture, and let your company grow in new, exciting ways, not just the robust direction you have for the company.
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