If you could give advice to start-up entrepreneurs…

I recently attended a bridal shower and this question was posed… “What would be the one piece of advice to give to a new couple?” Lots of great pearls of wisdom were generated by the shower attendees. A lot of what was said really resonated with me.

During the drive home I realized that I could extend this question to “wanna be entrepreneurs”.  What would have been the “gems of information” I wish I had known before I journeyed in to becoming a “solo-entrepreneur” aka solopreneur?

Before I arrived home I actually had amassed quite the list! So, here in no certain order are the things I learned in the past 10+ years! Feel free to use the comment section to add your sage words, as well! And, if you are looking for some great biz information check out the start-up #entreps column in the Huffington Post by my 411 Voices colleague, Sandy Abrams.

  1.  Seek advice from experts in starting a business. Some people find the Small Business Association in their area a huge resource. I owe a debt of gratitude for the help I received in launching SIGNING FAMILIES to Karen Geary, my first mentor, who I met at a special program for start-up entrepreneurs via the Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. Mentors can help you learn how to protect your intellectual property, trademark your business name, obtain a business license and set up bank accounts. There is a “ton of stuff” you probably will need to learn including perhaps about research and design, writing a business plans, etc!  So… to reiterate… seek advice of EXPERTS!
  2. If you don’t “do numbers” – get an accountant! Know where your money is going and be mindful of your expenses.  Remember that there are strict rules for tax purposes regarding what is a business and what is deemed a “hobby”.
  3. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money! What I mean by a saying I have said more than once in front of audiences is that you need to have a marketing / advertising budget. It pains me to see creative people start a company only to have it fall flat as there were no plans for advertising. Sigh.                                                                   By the way – have an AMAZING website and a strong social media presence.
  4. Be kind as nothing good has come out of being a mean entrepreneur.  Competition will happen. Others will have different or even better ideas than yours.  Look inside yourself on how to be successful and don’t blame “the other guy” for ruining your business.
  5. Hire competent people.  An intern can be a valuable asset to your company or a disaster. Remember they are learning and you are offering them an opportunity. Interns, as a rule, shouldn’t be running your company.  Hire people who are able to do the job because they are experts at the job.
  6. Pay fair wages. Period.
  7. Stay educated and give back to your local area. Nearly every profession changes – stay on top of the “learning curve”.   There is value to seeking help from those who have walked a similar path.  Be proactive and attend networking meetings and join your local chamber of commerce.
  8. Not all good ideas become successful businesses.  Not all people can be successful entrepreneurs, even if they have good ideas.  Why? EGO!  Some people believe that all they need is a great concept and charm to succeed. Sorry – charm isn’t usually associated with ROI.
  9. Give back to your community by supporting local charitable organizations. 
Electric bulb idea concept design
Having a great idea doesn’t always guarantee a successful business!

 

Now your turn to add to the list in the comment section below. 

2 thoughts

  1. A couple of extra ideas:

    Seek out resources
    Don’t hesitate to ask for advice
    Trust in yourself
    Pass it along

    Congratulations Louise!

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