Entrepreneurship: five non-negotiable elements for success

Entrepreneurship is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s daunting, exhilarating, and torturous in the best possible way. First-time entrepreneurs often admit that they barely manage to keep their sanity in the first few months. The best entrepreneurs don’t create salable products, but instead try to solve a persistent problem. Entrepreneurs can acquire skills from books, videos, online courses, and mentoring programs.

In the words of Sean Rad, co-founder of Tinder, Inc: “When you’re building a startup, it’s hard. Specifically, a startup that is expanding at the rate of Tinder. You have to give 100%, and you have to be committed. Solving the problem has to be personal or else you are going to disintegrate.”

The Most Important Things Entrepreneurs Should Do
An entrepreneur must take risks to get the most rewards. (A business woman; Image Credit – Freepik)

Successful Entrepreneurship: What does it take?

The business process is made up of trial and error. But to help you avoid the pitfalls most first-time entrepreneurs commit, we’ve compiled a list of the top five non-negotiables in entrepreneurship.

1. Identify the market need and focus on the customer

Many companies release a variety of products that may be best in class but fall short of success. What these companies did not focus on is identifying whether there is a need for their product or service in the marketplace. An example of this is the Segway. Some investors considered it the future of transportation, but they didn’t take into account how many people would like to use such a vehicle to travel locally or to work. In the end, it looked like a glorified skateboard and failed to spark customer interest. When it was released, after months of secrecy, it was criticized for being silly rather than great. Not to mention the numerous accidents that took place.

Entrepreneurship involves empathizing with a customer’s needs and helping them overcome their problems. Successful entrepreneurs constantly seek feedback to improve their product.

2. Find out your values ​​and mission

A mission statement communicates the purpose of the organization while the values ​​serve as its lodestar. Your company’s values ​​reflect your founding principles and ethics, and motivate people to keep going even in difficult times. A written mission statement also makes it easy to reject anything that doesn’t align with your values.

Good brands combine physical, emotional, and logical elements in their mission statements. For Patagonia, their mission statement is: we are in business to save our home planet. It is this principle that has influenced the operation of the organization and the billionaire owner’s decision to entrust the company to a trust.

Entrepreneurship calls us to connect with our customers in a way that resonates with their value system and identity. Successful entrepreneurs recognize the inherent need for people to belong and ensure their business is inclusive.

3. Be prepared to take calculated risks

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said, “The biggest risk is taking no risk at all.” It goes without saying that one of the main things entrepreneurs must do is take calculated risks to allow their businesses to grow. Entrepreneurship requires a risk analysis and an action plan.

A big wave surfer often rides seemingly dangerous waves. But what is terrifying for the average person provides an unparalleled thrill for the surfer, as he goes in well prepared and confident in his abilities to get to the other side.

Although it is risky to enter rough waters, just like professional surfers, young entrepreneurs must get used to taking calculated risks for the good of their business.

Perhaps the best example of taking calculated risks can be found in the infant formula market in the United States. A $4 billion company that was dominated by three established giants was disrupted by two startups doing their research and boldly venturing into this highly FDA regulated market. Both ByHeart and Bobbie understood what their new-age consumers were looking for and meticulously planned their business before deciding to take on the Goliaths of the baby formula industry. Luckily, the pandemic helped propel businesses into the spotlight where new parents were looking for healthier alternatives to available baby foods.

entrepreneurial process and entrepreneurship
Without calculated risks, it is impossible to move forward. (A man playing chess ponders his next move; Image Credit: Vlada Karpovich / Pexels)

4. Financial planning

Any business that is not a money making machine is bleeding money. Financial planning is necessary to make key business decisions that will decide the future of your company. Analyzing data to understand where you are and where you want to go is imperative to avoiding costly mistakes.

Successful entrepreneurs know their numbers and are familiar with the balance sheet. One of the things entrepreneurs need to do is understand business finance so they can make a strong case when looking for investors. Taking the time to understand the data helps you spot blind spots before they become problem areas and make informed decisions.

5. Learn from your mistakes

For any business to thrive, the key is not to let failure hold you back. Learning from your mistakes helps you refine your service or product to suit the customer. Successful entrepreneurs recognize that we learn more from our failures than from our successes. Failures are life’s way of telling us that we’ve strayed off course and assessing the situation to get back on track.

One person who understands this is the founder of Spanx intimates, Sara Blakely. After starting small, she continually sought feedback to find out what worked and didn’t work for her clients. Blakely saw mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve her product line. What started with a $5,000 investment in 1998 eventually grew into a billion-dollar empire.

One of the world’s most popular businesswomen, Sara Blakely, says that entrepreneurship is about being “willing to make mistakes. The worst that can happen is that you become memorable.”

Another example is the gaming company Rovio. Even after 51 of their games didn’t become hits, they didn’t give up and continued to work to give people what they would like. The 52nd game they released was Angry Birds. As of 2021, the company had revenue of $326.6 billion and has spawned an empire of angry birds.

While the list of top things entrepreneurs must do may be long, these five points will help you get your business off the ground. For any entrepreneur, learning can come from books, real life experiences, and mentoring. As the year comes to a close, entrepreneurs can set New Year’s resolutions to find success. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and never let the curves of life force you into a U-turn.

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