Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Shareholders are their own.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of sacrifice, learning, commitment, consistency, and realization when you need to change the things that go into running a startup. There are a lot of people who are not ready for it and don’t realize it until after they start and face the realities of being an entrepreneur. When launching a business, I, like many others, wanted things to get started right away. We want to get our ROI as soon as possible, and that’s the main focus for some of us. However, this is not the reality for most startups. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years of opening, 45% within the first five years and 65% within the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses are 15 years or older.
When I launched my startup in 2020, I knew I didn’t understand everything, but I thought I discovered more than I really did. Boy, were you a rude awakening? But I learned to appreciate the challenges I faced, trying to reach my target audience with this new product I made that not many people knew about and trying to stay within my startup budget. I’ve always been practical in everything I’m personally involved in. With that being said, I tried to do everything. But trying to do all of that made me less productive than I expected.
That could be a lot. And some people give up, because they don’t have the knowledge, confidence, resources, and in some cases, passion for what they’re doing. If you really want to pursue entrepreneurship, please understand that it is not easy. Consider these five tips, which we hope will encourage you to stay there:
1. Realize that nothing happens overnight
Understand that when you see a successful person, it took years to get to where they are now. Yes, it’s great to be inspired by them, but don’t compare yourself or try to keep up. Stick to your journey, be consistent and open to learning in the areas you’re lacking. Show yourself grace, too.
Related: Why Some Startups Succeed (and Why Most Fail)
2. Be honest about your product or service
Do something you love and/or have knowledge and experience in. If you’re doing something just because someone else is doing it and you feel you can do it too, but it’s not a passion for you, you run into your marketing and can lead to failure. That would be a huge waste of your time and money. After you find your niche, do your due diligence by starting with a thorough research of your competitors. What can you offer differently or better than what they offer?
3. Marketing is the meat of your business
I’m good at business, but I’ve had a hard time marketing. At first, I assumed I needed massive ways to market my startup, and because I was working on a tight budget, I couldn’t stand what I thought I needed to market my business. This has left me frustrated at times. Email marketing to attract customers to your startup for little or no cost, posting on social media, and starting a blog are some of the strategies startups can use for marketing, to get started. Depending on your budget, paid search ads are also an option. Also, Upwork is an organization that connects businesses with freelance professionals and agencies around the world. Businesses and freelancers work together through Upwork to reach that company’s goals. They have freelance translators for just about anything you need in business. I have worked with them for the past several years. This is a great resource for startups.
Related: The 7 Biggest Marketing Mistakes Every Startup Makes
4. Rebranding business
After not reaching the small, realistic goals I set for my startup, I had to think about making changes. Rebranding has been my current saving grace. I thought, “My product is great, and I know people have the same problem that my product solves. Why don’t more people buy it?” Well, I was limiting myself. At first launch, it targeted only women who needed a hairbrush bag to store their hairbrushes to protect the inside of their bags from flyaways and hair products. In fact, not only was this a very small portion of my target audience, but my product also provides organization for my travel luggage, gym bags, and purses. Once I expanded my target audience and sharpened more of the benefits my product offered, I started to see an increase in sales. Nothing off the charts, but it’s a lot better than I was when I started.
5. Asking for Guidance Help
A mentor can help you overcome many challenges that you will face as an entrepreneur. They have years of experience and knowledge, and their guidance and support can give you the confidence to continue your journey. Another thing to keep in mind, once you do, is that you can become a mentor yourself and pass on your knowledge to someone who was currently in the position you were in before.
In conclusion, first of all, think about what your end game is for your customers. How can your product or service help them? Address that before thinking about how much money you want to earn. Believe me, when you drive what you can give instead of what you get, you will be on the right track. Sales will come.
Related: 5 Ways a Mentor Can Help Measure Your Startup