Becoming an entrepreneur has become popularized in recent years due to the success of Silicon Valley startups like Facebook and Google and celebrity entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Despite the popularity and glamour of building your own business empire, the realities can be harsh and cruel. Here are 4 factors first-time entrepreneurs must not forget when it comes to starting your own business.
Cash is King
If you don’t remember anything from this article, at least remember this key takeaway: cash is king when it comes to running a business.
Only large multinational corporations care about earnings and profitability. Do you know why? Because they have all the cash they need! That is not the case with a startup business.
About 50% of business startups fail in the first 5 years of operation. Many of those businesses are profitable, in other words they are bringing in more revenue than they have expenses. The problem is they run out of cash!
Time is Money
As an entrepreneur, the only thing that will be scarce and remain scarce no matter how big your business grows is your time. You’ll have 24 hours in a day, whether you are a solo-entrepreneur or a large Fortune 500 company.
Remember to focus your time on the most critical parts of your business. In the beginning, your focus should be sales and customer acquisition. As it grows, it needs to be hiring and developing ways to better serve your audiences and employees. You have to invest the necessary time in your team to see success. Beyond that, you will have to spend your time creatively thinking strategically about where your business is headed and provide a road-map for the future. As you near the end of your career, you will need to think about legacy and succession planning.
Launching is Hard (But Worth It)
Almost half the fuel of an airplane is spent on takeoff. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to get a 300-ton metal contraption off the ground. This turns out to be a great analogy for starting a business as well. An inordinate amount of time and energy will be spent upfront. Getting that first client will be like climbing Mount Everest.
Once you get those first few clients, it’ll get a little easier to continue to grow and build your business. So, don’t despise the days of small beginnings. You must start somewhere!
Take the trucking company C.R. England for example. They started in 1920 with just one Model T truck to becoming one of the most successful trucking companies in the country.
Be The Chief Evangelist
When you first start out, do not offload the sales responsibilities to anyone else. Sure, let people help you and support your sales efforts. You can even hire sales people if you want.
Under no circumstances should you relinquish the responsibility for sales. It’s tempting to let someone else worry about sales and driving new customers. However, if you don’t own that function, it will spell a quick disaster for your budding business.
If you take these 4 factors into consideration as you start your new venture, you will give yourself a chance for success. If you ignore these, you may never get off the ground. Good luck on your new venture!