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.
Don’t Forget These Important Points When Starting a Business
Now that so many people are starting businesses these days, you may feel like it is not such a big thing. After all, you can do it from the comfort of your own home. However, if you want to make a success of your company, there are a few points that you will need consider. Here are just a few of the main ones.
Don’t Overcomplicate Your Concept
The best businesses tend to focus on a particular niche and they don’t overcomplicate their initial concept. You may feel like you need to have a complex idea to get anywhere in business, but you are actually better off keeping it simple. If you try to do too much, this can be very difficult to market and customers won’t understand your business. And when you are choosing clients to target, go for a refined group to begin with.
Write Out a Checklist of What You Need to Do
Everything tends to become so much more simple when you note it down on paper in a bullet point list. This should start with writing your business plan, leading up to the point when you form your company with the likes of Your Company Formations Ltd. Following on from this, you should map out how you see the first weeks and months going. Having a clear plan helps to clarify the huge task that you have in front of you.
Overestimate Your Expenses
When it comes to your expenses, you should give yourself some room for manoeuvre. The odds are that you will spend more than you initially think, so it is always worth preparing for the worst with regards to your business costings. The last thing that you want to happen is to realise that you don’t have any money to go further, and you have to wind up your company before it has really gotten started.
Establish Your Support Network
Even if you plan on running the business by yourself, you still need to have a support team who will guide you along the way. These people don’t necessarily have to be business associates, though it does help to speak to people with experience and a clear idea of what they are talking about. A close group of family, peers, friends or mentors will prove to be invaluable to you as you are going down the difficult path of launching a business.
Generate Income Quickly
Cashflow is essential to all businesses, but especially newly-established companies. Your business needs to start generating money as soon as possible to ensure that it stays afloat. Rather than diving headfirst into running your own business, it may be wise to have an alternative source of income in case everything doesn’t go according to plan straight away.
Even though starting a business is easier than ever before in theory, there are still plenty of factors that you need to consider, and these are just a few of the main ones.
How To Appear Professional For Your Small Business
As a small business owner, you want to make as much progress as quickly as possible to ensure that your company has a good amount of success. There are a few things you can do to help this along. You can develop your leadership skills, focus on your marketing campaign, even spend hours working on your website. But the thing that will help your business more than any of these will is being professional. When you are a small fish in a big pond, you need to work hard to get your breaks, and you rarely get second chances to prove yourself. Below are three ways that you can prove to your customers and clients that you are professional and worth investing in.
This has nothing to do with trying to be attractive. In business, appearance is all about how you present yourself. If you have a client meeting and you arrive dressed in scruffy trainers, jeans, and a t-shirt, the chances are that your meeting will be incredibly short (if it goes ahead at all). Dress to impress. A suit, whichever gender you are, is always a safe choice. Make sure your shoes are clean and polished too. According to the latest research, that whole ‘seven seconds to make a first impression’ might have been about six seconds too generous. You need to make sure that you look like the kind of person who is trustworthy, dependable, and reliable enough to do business with.
Once you’ve wowed your clients and customers with your professional appearance, it’s time to deliver. You will have certain expectations to meet, and you need to ensure that you surpass them. Utilise all the technology and assistance at your disposal to do your job well. From using a blank invoice template to outsourcing some aspects that could be done quicker offsite. There is a huge array of options to help you work quickly and efficiently to meet your deadlines. If you have made promises to your clients or customers that you fail to keep, you stand the risk of losing all face and creating a bad reputation. Be realistic with what you claim to be able to achieve. If you encounter unforeseen obstacles that slow you down, be sure to pass this information on to your client to maintain transparency. They will appreciate your honesty.
Fairness and level-headedness are attractive qualities in an employer, business partner, customer, and supplier. Whatever product or service you are offering, you want to be known as someone who is fair. By being fair to your employees, your customers, and even your competitors, you create a reputation for being a business with good ethics that can be trusted. Getting bogged down in petty competitions with other businesses or being unduly harsh to your staff can make you seem like someone who is unprofessional and allows their emotions to take control of their actions. Someone like that cannot be trusted to work with in the long-term, and you will lose business because of it.
Hopefully, these tips have helped you to realise the importance of cultivating an appearance of professionality for you and your business. Follow this advice, and you stand to create a good reputation that will push your company to further success.
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.
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