It's a great time to start a business because technology has leveled the playing field and sparked an entrepreneurial revolution over the past ten years. Now that you have greater access to information as an entrepreneur, you can make more informed decisions more quickly. You have an advantage over large corporations because you can move more quickly and are lighter and more flexible. You can more quickly target new markets and make quick decisions.
But having a big-picture perspective and sticking to your plan from start to finish are essential for being a successful entrepreneur. Entrepreneur Magazine's editor-in-chief Rieva Lesonsky offers some helpful advice for those starting their own businesses:
- Keep working at your job.
Think about launching your business part-time while you're employed and earning a consistent income, especially if it's an online venture. A business typically takes six to twelve months to get off the ground, so you don't want to depend on it becoming successful overnight in order to be able to pay your mortgage. Scale up as your business expands, starting with what you can manage financially and in terms of time.
Discover Your Niche
General stores no longer exist. Customers are looking for specialized retailers, especially online. You must identify a need—something that a certain demographic wants but cannot purchase at the large chain stores—and fill it. Lesonsky counsels, "You can't compete with the big guys, so you have to go into your niches and find where the big guys aren't."
Maintain a presence online.
Consider that the internet can still be useful to your business even if you don't intend to launch an online retail operation. The restrictions of physical location are removed when you have an online presence, and your customer base is multiplied by literally millions. It's also a great way to advertise yourself and inform others, even in your local community.
- Don't give up.
Entrepreneurship success requires creativity, drive, and the will to keep going even when things don't go as planned. Few people are aware that before Bill Gates developed the immensely popular Microsoft 3.0, he produced Microsoft 1.0 and 2.0, both of which were failures—despite this, he persisted. And what will distinguish successful businesspeople from unsuccessful ones is their tenacity and refusal to give up. "Arm yourself with optimism to get past the 'No' or the trouble," advises Lesonsky. Failure is okay, as long as you don't make the same error twice.