Imagine having access to the lessons learned by seasoned entrepreneurs. Would you benefit from knowing the insight they’ve gained? How about learning what THEY would have done differently if they could do it all over again? Here, I’ll present to you the top 10 lessons learned by seasoned entrepreneurs, most of whom:
- Generated over one million dollars of total revenue in 2014
- Had their financial expectations met or exceeded
- Operated their business for over 10 years
- Were motivated to be their own boss
- Started their business from scratch
- Launched using personal savings
The following insights come from Small Business Pulse Survey – Lessons Learned From Launching A Business, which was published by TAB (The Alternative Board). In the survey conducted by TAB, 544 seasoned entrepreneurs were asked what they would have done differently when starting their business knowing what they know now. This is valuable stuff! So let’s get started…
Most seasoned entrepreneurs surveyed would have:
1. Invested more money into their business launch
Money is hard to come by…just a fact of life. When you first launch a business, revenue typically won’t flow in for quite a while. Without enough funding, failure is almost inevitable.
Most entrepreneurs jump in too early. Also, most entrepreneurs fail within the first two years. Statistics for this vary, but the best I’ve seen is eight-out-of-ten in 18 months.
Keep your day-job longer to build more savings. Develop a better business plan to attract more investment. Take your time, do it right, and be sure you have the funds to support your launch. Success can wait!
2. Spent more time on strategic planning in the early stages
This one is HUGE, and fits well with number one. While taking the time to build up that capital for your business launch, do more strategic planning.
First, please understand there are many more facets to business than most people realize. Business planning, which includes sales and marketing strategies, customer service strategies, and a great deal of research and data analysis, must be done up-front…before you go into business. An effective tactical strategy to start a business will be vital to the success of your start-up. Do this part correctly, and you’ll ensure success!
3. Relied on a mentor/coach when starting their business
Mentorship is essential for success. Coaching can fill the void as well. Although there are many resources out there to educate you…books, seasoned entrepreneurs confirm in this survey that mentorship is truly important.
Having seasoned entrepreneurs by your side when you need them will help you through the many difficulties ahead. A book about business just can’t adapt to your specific problems each and every time. A mentor or a coach will assess your situation and then advise you based on their knowledge and experience which they can adapt to your specific circumstance.
To get a mentor, all you need to do is ask. Seasoned entrepreneurs, and people in general, have a hard time saying no to such a request. Just be open and willing to learn from them.
Business coaches are abundant, and you can find them in social media sites like LinkedIn. Just introduce yourself and present your difficulties. They are eager to help!
4. Formed a network of advisers earlier in the process
Advisers, like mentors, are also essential for success. First assess and summarize each facet of your business. Then get out there and meet professionals who posses knowledge and experience with various aspects of your business. Network. Attend business group meetings…for example…your local chamber of commerce. After you generate the long-list, establish the short-list by spending time with these professionals and build some relationships. Be sure to offer as much assistance to THEM as possible. Their appreciation will go a long way!
5. Developed a system for generating leads
Before you start your business, and even after you launch, you won’t have consumer confidence at first. Trust takes time. You must offer your target audience something for free…like helpful information.
Start a landing page web site and start delivering content suited for them. Satisfy your target audience with content that focuses on their interests. Now you can start building your email list and your following. Don’t sell, just provide. Your target audience will love you and your lead list will grow.
There are many ways to generate leads. Just don’t forget the customer confidence factor.
6. Focused more on building their brand in the early stages
Brand building is the process of creating deep connections with your target audience. This is not easy and it requires patience. Brands must be constructed over time, through repeat exposure and refinement. Product enhancement is important, but without strategic marketing, brand building will be tough. Stay focused on product exposure as you develop your business. Remain true to your target audience. Then, you may watch your brand come to life.
7. Applied more strategic thinking in the early stages
Number two was about spending more time strategic planning in the early stages. Strategic thinking is a mental process. Track the moves of your competitors. Track the moves of your target audience. Then predict all of their future moves while planning YOUR next moves.
When playing a strategy board game, you may gain an early advantage applying your awesome strategy. But without consistent strategic thinking, your opponent may gain some ground on you. They may pull ahead and possibly win the game.
Business works similarly. Keep your strategic thinking sharp at all times. Your competition will always try to gain some ground on you. And, they will try to prevent you from gaining ground on them.
8. Been more aggressive in launching their business
This one speaks for itself. When launching a business, move fast and take advantage of every opportunity. But don’t be over-aggressive. You will end up damaging what you’ve established back in numbers three and four of this list. Treat people with respect. Always be willing to help others. Humility goes a long way as a silent winning strategy. Then, be a go-getter!
9. Placed a greater priority on client development
There are two categories for client development. New client development and existing client development. New client development is the process of acquiring additional clients through marketing efforts. Existing client development is how you increase the value of your current clients. The latter is really where you build your brand. Be sure to implement an excellent customer experience to develop loyalty.
For an in-depth understanding of this, check out:
10. Provided solutions to known markets vs. developing new markets
While the idea of developing new markets seems exciting and rewarding, it is risky. Unless you’re an extraordinary visionary like Elon Musk, or the late Steve Jobs, trust your market research data, even if it goes against your thinking. This will mitigate the risk, and allow you to succeed.
If you’re determined to develop new markets, there’s an innovative way of thinking you may want to consider. Be a game-changer.
For more on how to be a game changer and challenge the status quo, check out:
Take these 10 lessons from seasoned entrepreneurs to heart. Master what they have learned the hard way. They’ve been through this already and have come out on top. So trust their experience and use it to succeed!
Thank you for reading:
Top 10 Tips From Seasoned Entrepreneurs
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