When you hear the word entrepreneur what springs to mind? Is it Jeff Bezos making billions from what once was an online bookstore? Is it Bill Gates revolutionising the world with the creation of Microsoft? Or perhaps it’s the ‘kids in the garage’ ready to disrupt the world with the next Uber, Tesla, Google, or Facebook?
Often the concept of being an entrepreneur comes with visions of making it big, becoming an overnight success and taking the world by storm.
But ask anyone who’s walked the path of entrepreneurship and these are just some of the myths that abound.
In truth, there are very few overnight success stories, and forging your own destiny takes more work, more commitment and more belief than many imagine.
Here are nine harsh truths about being an entrepreneur…
It’s going to take time
When it comes to launching an idea and building a business, success rarely happens overnight. Instead, it takes hard work, patience, perseverance and faith.
It also takes strategy and planning.
As good as your business model might be, you need to carefully map out who your customer is, how you will reach them, and why they would choose you.
That’s where a solid business plan is essential, it charts the course that your business journey will follow from start-up right through the entire life of your enterprise.
The buck stops with you
As the brains behind the business concept and the leader at the helm of the enterprise, the buck always stops with you.
And for some, that can be an intimidating prospect. Throughout the life of a business, the entrepreneur is the person with the big-picture vision who takes the risk and assembles a team around them to achieve their aim.
Passion isn’t everything
Yes, being an entrepreneur takes passion and commitment, but that will only get you so far. You also need to bring strategy, leadership and business nous to the table, and these might be skills that you’re learning on the fly.
If any of these are not in your immediate wheelhouse of proven expertise, it’s worth assembling a team around you to help get your business to where you want it to be.
Failure is very real
We all know the statistics about business failure, and as an entrepreneur, that prospect is very real.
You can have the best idea possible and still, for any number of reasons, success isn’t guaranteed.
That’s why you need to make a solid business plan that steps through exactly how the business will operate, what it will require, and the key metrics you need to achieve to ensure that the business remains on track.
Innovation never ends
You could be believing that once you’ve come up with the initial idea for the business, that’s where the innovation ends.
That’s not the case. As any seasoned entrepreneur will attest, innovation never ends.
You will constantly need to be aware of who else is operating in your marketplace, how you compare and where your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats lie.
Everyone’s your boss
A lot of people are attracted to the idea of entrepreneurship because they dream of being their own boss.
In reality, when you run a business, in a sense, everyone’s your boss, including your customers, your staff and your investors.
Success relies on keeping these multiple parties happy with great products, great service, and a great team that creates a great business bottom line. All are very doable if you have the right plan.
Everything’s a test (until it’s not)
You can plan to the nth degree and envisage every possible outcome, but often you won’t know whether a business is destined for success until you open the doors and put the concept to the market.
In the interim, the best safeguards include doing your due diligence, having a good plan, partnering with the right people and being as well prepared as you possibly can be.
It doesn’t necessarily get easier
Plenty of businesses operate successfully, but that doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park after the first few months of operation.
There will be challenges along the way that might range from staffing issues to market downturns and economic factors.
The aim is to plan for these challenges and prepare where possible, innovating when required.
The highs are high and the lows are low
Being an entrepreneur is a wild ride and a hugely exciting prospect. Along the way, there will be highs and there will be lows, but get your business model right from the outset and it can be everything you dreamed of and more.
Perhaps you’re working on a plan, or simply dreaming about your potential future. Feel comfortable working with me to ensure you create your longer-term plan to attain those dreams and aspirations. You can book a discovery session here.