There is a famous quote in business – “Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless”. If you’re one of the many people with a great idea, taking the next step and making a business out of it can be a greatly rewarding experience. In my young and ongoing career as a startup entrepreneur, I’ve learned many valuable lessons, five of which are absolutely essential to anyone looking to start a new business venture.
1. Don’t Be Shy
A good rule of thumb when starting a business is that there is always someone who knows better than you. As a matter of fact, there are many people who know better than you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people for their advice. Whether it be people who have started a business before, senior management at a prior job of yours, or a professor who is a big deal around campus – offer to buy them coffee, ask questions, listen, and learn.
2. Have A Plan
There is much debate as to whether you need a formal business plan before your company’s launch. It’s clear, however, that you do need some kind of plan. Perhaps it can be an extensive notebook, or a compilation of detailed spreadsheets. A plan is necessary to ensure that you have a specific direction that you’re pushing your company towards.
3. Don’t Procrastinate
You probably got by with procrastination in high school. Maybe you’re getting by with it in college. When you’re running a business, procrastination won’t fly. When you’re controlling other peoples’ money and you have people working for you, it is your responsibility to be on top of things as they happen. The last thing you want to do is fall behind.
4. The “No Lead Is Too Small” Mentality
No client is too small. All partnerships have value. Even if you think that a potential customer isn’t interested in working with you, bear in mind that it is important to treat the customer with respect. Your reputation is always on the line, and you never know whom the customer has connections to. Even if a relationship doesn’t form immediately, you may end up working with them in the future.
5. Don’t Be Wasteful
Especially at the start of your business venture, you will not have a lot of cash to work with. Make sure that you stretch every dollar. For example, you should try to utilize free business apps and tools as opposed paid software so long as you can maintain high quality.
Matthew Levine is a startup entrepreneur and an undergraduate college student.
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