If you’ve been thinking about starting a business, 2012 is a great year to make it happen. And if you’re already in business for yourself, you can make 2012 the year you take it to the next level. You might think that the economy being in the dumps will be an obstacle and make starting a business more risky, but when you compare the risk of entrepreneurship with the risks of having a job these days, you’ll find that you have more control over your future as an entrepreneur.
So how can you make sure your entrepreneurial plans pay off? There are 5 important things I think you need to do to find success as an entrepreneur:
1. Do what You Love
If you take just one piece of advice about starting a business, this should be it. If you’re doing something you love – something you’re passionate about – nothing can stop you. Challenges that all entrepreneurs face (like poor economic conditions and unexpected changes in the market) will be small speed bumps rather than brick walls, if you’re doing what you love to do and making a living at it.
2. Only Listen to those with Experience
When you decide to become an entrepreneur, you’re likely to run into some opposition. Unfortunately, the push-back often comes from those whose opinions matter most to you – your family and friends. This first big hurdle keeps a lot of would-be business owners from ever taking the dive into entrepreneurship. It will help if you remember to only listen to people who have done what you want to do.
If someone’s finances are in shambles, don’t listen to them about how to manage your money. Don’t pay attention to the person who worked for a single company their entire life when they tell you starting a business is “too risky.” And when you’re struggling to build your startup, only take advice from seasoned, successful entrepreneurs, not those who are advising you to quit and “get a real job.”
3. Don’t Give Up
We’re all familiar with the failure rates of new businesses. Depending on who you read or listen to, it ranges from about 45% to 70% of new businesses failing within the first year. First, I think the way they calculate those statistics makes the picture seem a lot more dismal than it really is. But there’s no doubt making it through your first year of business can be tough.
From my experience working to mentor young entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries, the most common reason for first-year business failure is simply giving up too soon. And a lot of that has to do with flexibility. When your business runs into an obstacle, however large, don’t quit. Face it from the point of view that there is a solution, and you just need to find it. That might mean a small change in the way you’re doing things, or it could mean completely changing your business model. But if you can quickly adapt and make the most of challenges, it can mean the difference between success and failure.
4. Get a Mentor
Nothing beats a mentor who has been where you are and arrived where you want to be. Having the right mentor in your life can reduce mistakes and cut your learning curve by years. Every entrepreneur will face challenges throughout his or her business life – that’s a given. So why not face those challenges with the help of someone who’s overcome them in their own business? Having the right mentor can make all the difference.
5. Go for it!
My most important piece of advice is: Go for it! There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. The world is facing a lot of problems right now – social, environmental, political, and economic – and we have a choice to make. We can sit in front of the TV and complain or be scared, or we can see problems as opportunities for solutions. There’s no doubt in my mind that entrepreneurs are the ones who will pull us out of the various messes we’re in, and that’s very exciting!
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor. He is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.