If you’re an entrepreneur, you already know that starting a business is a lot of work.Â While courses and degrees may help you prepare, there are some things you just have to learn on the job. Through trial and error, I learned some hard lessons deep in the trenches. Here are five things I wish I knew before starting my own business.
Know Your Market
There’s a difference between knowing your market and really knowing your market. After working with hundreds of clients over the past 10Â years, I now realize how much our market has evolved. In the past few years, I’ve learned that we can’t service every client in the same way, nor do they need to be serviced the same way. We originally thought that we could provide the same services to every customer, but given that our market is made up of different types of customers, our services should reflect this.
Take note of your customers’ preferences early on to ensure your business model satisfies the needs of the market.
See the Forest and the Trees
When you’re first starting your business, you’re in tune with every detail. You probably check every proposal that goes out, every plate that leaves the kitchen, and every order that is sent out for delivery. The details sometimes become so overwhelming that you forget to look at the big picture.
Running a business means you have to be able to see your business both at the micro level and the macro level. The ability to simultaneously analyze the big picture and the individual pieces that make up your business is no easy task. I had a hard time pulling myself out of everyday tasks, but doing so has allowed me to make the changes that have propelled our company forward.
Set yourself up for success by looking at your business from the top and from within. You’ll discover a lot about your company that will help you to both run and grow it successfully.
Turn Challenges Into Opportunities
As an entrepreneur, you’ll go through a lot of ups and downs. That means you have to hear a lot of “noes” before you hear any yeses. A great idea may turn out to be not such a great idea. Add to that the changes in your industry and the challenges of running a business, and you’ll see why these burdens can prove cumbersome.
As the founder and CEO ofÂ OneIMSÂ andÂ Clickx,Â Solomon Thimothy has built his career around his passion for helping other businesses grow an online presence and thrive in the digital world. Solomon works with clients big and small to develop uniquely customized and highly effective marketing strategies that meet every company’s individual goals. Follow him on twitterÂ @sthimothy.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.