What is the best advice for first-time entrepreneurs?
To help first-time entrepreneurs in their journey, we asked entrepreneurs and business leaders this question for their best advice. From validating before building to scaling slowly, there are several pieces of advice that may help first-time entrepreneurs in their future endeavors.
Here are eleven pieces of advice for first-time entrepreneurs:
- Be All In
- Research To Stand Out
- Validate Before Building
- Define What Matters To You
- Focus On Solving A Problem
- Admit What You Don’t Know
- Build Connections
- Scale Slowly
- Start With A Passion, Not A Goal
- Stay In Your Lane
- Create Daily Business Intentions
Be All In
If you are going to do it, be all in! I think a big mistake many first-time entrepreneurs make is juggling various activities at once. They have a full-time job that pays the bills and their company on the side. If you want your company to be a full-time business, it first needs to be your full-time business. If you never invest the proper time into your company, it will never grow. It might be scary, but dive in head first!
Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional
Research to Stand Out
I remember when I was a first-time entrepreneur. It can be exciting but also a little daunting. I received some solid advice from different sources. However, I would say the first step in building a business is researching the market or industry you’re planning on entering. By doing this, you have a better idea of what already exists and how your business can stand out. It can take a little work to transform a business idea into an actual plan. Research can help you transition from one to the other.
Henry Babicheknko, Stomadent
Validate Before Building
First-time entrepreneurs can waste a lot of time building a product, service, or features that no one wants. Before building a business, the core concept needs to be validated. My favorite validation tool is the Business Model Canvas, which requires entrepreneurs to find a product market fit by creating a value proposition for a target audience. Through customer interviews and “getting out of the building,” entrepreneurs can validate their idea after many iterations and get to work on building something people will actually pay for.
Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
Define What Matters To You
Beyond developing a new idea, product, or service that people want, first-time entrepreneurs should think about their mission, values, and company brand. What matters to them, their customers and employees, who would join them in the new business venture? What is the unique story they want to tell? First-time entrepreneurs should make it a business priority to develop a strong narrative that differentiates them from competitors — great products can fail if people aren’t inspired to buy them.
Andrew Rawson, Traliant
Focus On Solving A Problem
Many entrepreneurs get head over heels into their idea. Of course, they do; after all, it’s their own idea! But the market is brutal in what it wants and doesn’t want. Instagram isn’t the first image app, but it won the market by storm due to its innovative approach. Apple didn’t invent the portable MP3 player, but it won the market and by building a product the market wants and marketing it in the right way.
John Bertino, The Agency Guy
Admit What You Don’t Know
Figure out what thing you know the least about and find someone who knows that thing inside and out. For example, my business partner and I are absolutely horrible with numbers and finances; our brains are geared more towards the abstract and creative side. If we could do one thing over, we would have immediately brought in someone who was good with numbers to make sure our books were in order. We’ve just come out of a very messy two-year period where it took a lot of time and a lot of money to untangle our QuickBooks because we didn’t fully understand what we were doing. There is power in knowing what you don’t know, but there is even more power in admitting what you don’t know. Be comfortable not having all the answers and always be open to learning.
Justin Strandlund, 2 East 8th Productions
Find people that can reveal insight into the industry you are setting out in, and seek advice from others who have already achieved success. Consider finding a mentor that can advise you on what mistakes to avoid and what opportunities you should take advantage of when they arise. The connections you build can help expose you to ideas and tools that can put you on the path to achieving your goals and add exponential value to a new entrepreneur’s career.
Than Merrill, Fortune Builders
Determining the costs to grow and scale accordingly within your budget is essential. Growing too fast and not allowing the proper time to scale will affect how well a small business can manage inventory and keep up with sales. Along with having patience in creating brand awareness and establishing yourself in the competitive market, a small business needs enough cash flow to continue to grow. Budgeting for a slow and steady incline is crucial to succeeding in the end.
Katie Lyon, Allegiance Flag Supply
Start With A Passion, Not A Goal
Start a business that you’ll be excited to work on for at least the next few years. That excitement and passion will make it easier to give it your all, push yourself out of your comfort zone and deal with the many ups and downs. There’s nothing wrong with creating milestones and financial goals for your business, but make sure you also enjoy simply working on it, or you’ll burn out trying to reach them.
Johannes Larsson, Financer
Stay In Your Lane
As someone who has run my own business for over 20 years, I can attest that trying to operate in too many lanes confuses people. Do not try to be a “jack of all trades” but rather narrow down to a niche that is exclusively yours and stay in that lane. It doesn’t mean you can’t shift or pivot or even evolve, but it does mean that you have a consistent message and brand message for your marketing.
Lorraine Bossé-Smith, Concept One LLC
Create Daily Business Intentions
Too often, entrepreneurs try to do ‘everything’ in their business each day. ‘Everything’ can mean sales, marketing, product development, finance, operations…the list can go on and on. Many entrepreneurs run themselves from one meeting to the next to the next. At the end of a long day, sometimes it feels like they didn’t accomplish anything that day. Entrepreneurs can see clear mile marketers towards their goals by intentionally focusing on specific business aspects on specific days. I call it “Category Days.” As a result, they feel more accomplished and have a deeper sense of having completed something each day.
Mark Jamnik, Enjoy Life Daily