Over the last couple of decades, starting a new small business has become more accessible. The rise of the internet has opened up a wealth of knowledge about business ownership, alongside connections to investors and funding sources. Importantly, the online world provides access to a truly global marketplace of potential consumers and networking opportunities.
This isn’t quite the same thing as saying that starting a business is easy, though. Particularly if you have no prior experience, it can be difficult to know how to get started and what elements you should direct your focus toward.
Let’s take a moment to explore a few of the key things you should consider when starting your business as a new entrepreneur.
Leverage Your Strengths
One of the challenging aspects of starting a small business without any prior experience is choosing what type of company to create. Enterprise is a varied landscape, with a range of different industries and models at your disposal. Inexperience can make this choice a little overwhelming. One effective approach is to leverage your strengths.
So, what does this mean on a practical level? Well, developing a business that plays to your strengths means aligning your business options with your various skills, characteristics, and values. Take the time to create a list of your primary technical abilities alongside your soft skills, such as communication or problem-solving. You should also formalize what your core values and priorities are, not just in business but on a personal level, too. From here you can start to explore what industries and business models are in keeping with these strengths.
This isn’t to say that you’re going to find industries and business structures that necessarily fit your strengths perfectly. One of the useful elements of taking stock of your strengths is that it also highlights areas where there are gaps. As a result, once you’ve selected the type of business that appears to be the best fit, you are also empowered to proactively start addressing those deficits.
Commit to Research and Education
The idea of starting a business with no prior experience is daunting. Filling your knowledge gaps can be a great way to put some of these fears to rest. The good news is the rise of the digital landscape continues to provide a wealth of information and tools to help you do this.
You can certainly take a formal learning approach to this. Many colleges and universities offer courses geared toward entrepreneurship. You might even find it helpful to enroll in a business program with a course related to the specific industry that you’re interested in pursuing. Increasingly, this doesn’t mean you need to quit your current job and attend a physical campus. Some institutions offer more flexible online programs and there are e-learning certification courses that you can pursue in the time you have available.
It’s vital to also take the time to perform business research. Hit the search engines and start doing deep dives into the industries and business models you’re targeting. Learn about the hurdles and pay attention to mistakes others have made. 60% of small businesses in Australia fail within the first 3 years, so take notes on the influencing factors. Social media can be a great resource here, as you have access to direct insights from entrepreneurs themselves. Interact with them and ask them about the things they wished they knew as a new CEO. This can not only provide you with data, but you can also start building an invaluable network.
Utilize Traditional Business Resources
Given how quickly the business environment has been evolving, it can be easy to focus on new innovations. However, there are systems and tactics that have been consistently effective for new and experienced entrepreneurs alike over the course of decades. It’s worth adopting some of these as a supportive framework to guide you on your journey and build your unique enterprise.
The traditional business tips that all new entrepreneurs should know include prioritising ethical operations, through insisting on transparency and honesty throughout your organization. It’s also important to commit to developing your network not just through online resources, but also by meeting people at conferences and interacting with other local small business owners. You can also find it effective to approach planning with a long-term view, rather than getting caught up in day-to-day goals. This enables you to make decisions that boost the agility and resilience of your burgeoning enterprise.
Find and Support Talented Workers
Employees are among the most important resources you’ll have as a business owner. After all, you can’t possibly do everything yourself. Not to mention that others will have skills, insights, and perspectives you can’t possess. When you commit to finding and meaningfully supporting talented workers, you’re able to collaborate on not just running a productive and potentially innovative business.
Often, the best approach as a leader is to focus on filling departmental management and technical roles with those who know more than you. It’s also vital to onboard people from a range of backgrounds who may be less experienced, but who you can invest in developing. Having this variety of perspectives and experiences contributing to your company and collaborating with one another tends to have positive outcomes for everyone involved.
That said, it’s important to understand that in a dynamic business market, you’re likely to be competing for top talent. This isn’t necessarily a case of offering the most money, although it’s vital to offer fair compensation. There are other elements that can influence whether workers choose to join and stay with your business. This includes solid benefits, opportunities for professional growth, and a positive company culture, among others. Take the time to understand what workers today prioritize and aim to ensure your company reflects these.
Having a lack of experience shouldn’t dissuade you from starting your own small business. However, it’s important to take the time to adopt a range of practical actions. This should include aligning your choice of business with your personal and technical strengths. It’s also vital to perform in-depth research into your industry and the actions of other entrepreneurs. Alongside advanced tech tools, don’t neglect the traditional business practices that can support your enterprise. Importantly, commit to finding, investing in, and supporting a diverse workforce.
Additionally, it’s important not to be held back by the statistics on small business failure. Mistakes are almost inevitable, but they’re also opportunities for learning. Even if your first enterprise doesn’t succeed, you can apply what you know to your next business. Be cautious and sensible, but also be willing to try new and sometimes scary things.
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