It’s true: we all want to be entrepreneurs and create the next great thing that changes the world for the better. Many people believe that finding that one great idea is the hardest part of this journey. It isn’t. The hardest part about taking your great idea and changing the world is turning your passion project into an actual, viable, and profitable business. Everybody thinks they know how to do this, but very few manage to do it successfully. Here are a few tips that will help you become one of the lucky few:
- Get Out of the Garage
Or your dining room or your basement or wherever. Yes, it is possible to run a viable business from home, but if you want to ever be able to grow that business past your own solo-preneur and independent capabilities, you need real business space. Whether this is retail space, office space, warehouse space, or something else will depend on your product or idea. But one thing is for sure: nobody is ever going to take you seriously if you run your business entirely out of your own home.
- Stop Making Do
One of the classic mistakes that many new entrepreneurs make is trying to make do with as little as possible. Bootstrapping feels romantic and creative and vaguely bohemian and cool. To your clients, it looks like you are having a difficult time getting your company off the ground. So stop running your calls through that free number that you’ve forwarded to your personal cell phone. Set up your business space with real phones, actual Internet, real cloud tech, etc. This sounds expensive but it doesn’t have to be. One of the benefits of VOIP phone systems, for example, is that they are much budget-friendlier than their traditional landline counterparts (and easier to set up). Take some time to find providers and solutions that you can afford. They are out there.
- Hire Help
If you want to grow your business, you’re going to have to realize that you can’t always do everything yourself. In fact, trying to do everything yourself is likely what’s holding you back. This is going to be difficult for the Type As among you, but trust us: you need to hire a team if you want your idea to grow beyond being just a hobby. At the very least, you will need to hire an assistant who can help you manage your calendar, errands, etc; an accountant to help you manage your books, taxes, and payroll; a marketing expert to help you build buzz and representation in the market, and a webmaster who can build your company’s site, manage its structure and functions and keep it as safe as possible.
Ugh. Networking. We all hate it when it isn’t just posting cat pictures on Twitter, right? Still, it is a necessary part of building your business. You need to attend networking events large and small. You need to attend events that are focused on your own niche as well as those niches that are complimentary. Get involved with your chamber of commerce. Go to a conference or two every year. Basically, go outside and talk to people. Will each person you meet be a fast friend and a trusted business partner? No. But you increase your chances of that happening when you leave the relative safety of home and Facebook.
- Set a Schedule
If you’re like most idealistic entrepreneurs, you’re probably spending all of your waking hours working on building your business. Stop it. There is such a thing as the work-life balance and you need to achieve a good one if you want to succeed. Remember, sometimes taking a break is what helps you see a problem or situation more clearly. It’s also true that you need to have a set time in which you are definitely working and a set time in which you are definitely not going to be working can help your focus and productivity. Plus, it helps create and reinforce boundaries with your clients.
Getting out of the garage isn’t easy. It’s hard work, costs money and can be terrifying. We promise, though, that it is the very best thing to do if you really want to build a business that will change the world.