For ambitious individuals with a business mindset, starting up a company and becoming their own boss is the ultimate challenge - and with data showing that 64% of the UK workforce have aspirations to start their own business, it seems the entrepreneurial train is still taking on plenty of new passengers. However, despite the high numbers of people wanting to do it, the reality is that far fewer people actually take the plunge - but if you’re sure you have a rock solid business model and the drive to see it through, this post is a motivational must-read.
Offering tips for defining your business vision, inspirational quotes from world-leading CEOs and more, we’re here to give you that extra push to take the leap into the world of business with the right knowledge and motivation to succeed.
1. Be realistic - your business may fail
“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” Drew Houston, Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO
While this may seem like a negative place to start our motivational process, the key to being a successful entrepreneur and business person is to be fully aware of the risks you’re entering into. According to statistics, 60% of new businesses fail in the UK within 3 years, so it’s prudent to be under no illusion that the odds aren’t in your favor as a fledgling startup company.
Naturally, the likeliness of failure is dependent on a number of factors, from the timing of your launch and industry to your own business acumen, but having a realistic approach will mean you’re better prepared to tackle the upcoming challenges you may face.
Having said that, one important takeaway as a budding entrepreneur is to remember that just because others don’t make the cut that doesn’t mean your business won’t - with the right attitude, drive and self-belief there’s no reason you can’t buck the trend.
2. Embrace the competition
“Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.” Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO
Whatever your business concept, you will have competition in the marketplace and they may well be better, bigger and more successful than you in the early stages - but this shouldn’t dampen your entrepreneurial spirit.
Competition is an essential part of business and embracing your rivals could be just what you and your business needs to fight for its place within the industry. Whether you’re looking at a handful or hundreds of brands competing for the same customers, use your competitors as a way to adapt and evolve your brand, product base or marketing strategies to ensure you have the edge - even if it’s just a small one.
Avoid focusing on what everyone else is doing and look at what you can do (no matter how small) to differentiate your products from your competitors. Finding your unique selling point (USP) to maximise appeal to your target demographic is an effective way to define your brand and stand out from the crowd.
3. Create a personal mission statement
“Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic.” Dale Carnegie, Author and Motivational Speaker
When you’re drawing up your business plan, you’ll already know that having a company mission statement or vision is perfect for building the right foundations for your organisation's values, objectives and culture. This same principle can be applied to your own personal values and goals as an entrepreneur, serving as the driving mantra that gets you through the good and bad times.
Taking the time to think about your vision, write it down and memorise it - as a constant reminder of why you’re taking the leap into starting your own business and what it means to you could be just the pick me up you need to stay motivated when the going gets tough.
4. Perfect your plan
“What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” Dave Thomas, Founder, Wendy’s
For many entrepreneurs the ideas come easy, but like most things, the devil is in the details if you want to get these ideas off the ground. For this reason, it’s imperative that you formulate a plan that puts your business and personal vision statement into practice.
Carrying out thorough research into your industry, target demographic and having a firm understanding of who you are and what you want to achieve will help form the basis of a robust business plan. Far from being set in stone, this plan should be designed to be adaptable and able to evolve as your business grows, using both short and long-term objectives to monitor progress - be that successes or failures.
With a clear guide to work from and your driving ambition, you should have the right ingredients to make a go at establishing your business in the marketplace.
5. Carve out a regular routine
“I work out for an hour on alternating days and jog to the office. At the office, I review the to-do list I made the night before. I figure out my priorities and do those first. The day has a way of running away from you, so this makes sure the most important tasks get done.” - Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group
To go from a structured working environment where goals, time and tasks are predefined by employers into a realm where you’re the one who sets your own goals and work schedule sounds like a dream to many want-to-be entrepreneurs - but the reality can be very different.
Without pressure from other people to get things done, staying motivated can be challenging, especially when you’re first starting out. That’s why we’d recommend implementing a regular and structured routine that starts from the moment you wake up. This could be simple things like eating a healthy breakfast, a morning workout, writing a to-do-list for the day or a mixture of all of these. Sticking to a structured routine (even if it’s only on work days) will leave you feeling motivated and focused for the day ahead.
6. Spread the load where you can
“The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.” Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO
New startups require a significant amount of time, money, blood, sweat and tears - and that can leave you feeling less than enthusiastic and motivated at times. To combat this overwhelming feeling of shouldering all the responsibility, consider drafting in some help before you start your venture.
Seeking out one or even a few co-founders could be a smart business move, as not least will you have the potential for more startup funding, but more resources will ensure the burdens are shared as a team rather than by one person. In addition, bringing in other members will provide a greater pool of skills and expertise across different areas of business - meaning the solo entrepreneur doesn’t need to be the master of everything from marketing and sales to accounting and legal processes.
If co-founding isn’t an option or an avenue you want to pursue, it’s still advisable to hire in some assistance to help bring your visions to life. Whether you’re looking for a business partner or staff members, be picky about your choices where possible. As one of your most valuable assets and potentially biggest outlays, investing in the right people with the right talent and attitude is essential to the overall success of your company.
7. Make time for you
“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.” Sid Caesar, Entertainer
Transforming an idea into a profitable business model is no mean feat and can be an all-consuming task, too - but amidst the relentless workload and daily demands your startup requires, it’s important to allow time for yourself.
We’re not just talking about taking a day off here and there, but more about getting into the habit of taking a little time out of each day that is purely dedicated to your personal life and wellbeing. This could be ensuring you’re there for family dinner every night, meditating for 30 minutes a day, reading a book or enjoying a hobby. It’s not so much about what you do with the time, but more about allowing yourself time that’s not focused on the business to establish a healthy work-life balance.
The mere act of taking a break and making living your life one of your daily goals is a sure-fire way to give your body and brain time to reflect, refresh and re-energise. This can often be all you need to get a new perspective and find the right motivation to keep on going with pursuing your dreams.
There’s no doubt that becoming your own boss and making your business idea a reality is an exciting prospect, but any entrepreneur will tell you that the road to success isn’t always easy and very rarely yields quick results. However, with your burning ambition, self belief, hard work and these motivational ideas, we hope you’ll be well on your way to bringing your entrepreneurial dreams to life.
About the Author
Elizabeth Raw works as Web Sales Manager at R+R Packaging.