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Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of sacrifice, learning, commitment, consistency, and realizing when things need to change that goes into running a startup. There are many people who are not ready for that and do not realize it until after they have launched and faced the realities of being an entrepreneur. When launching a business, I, like many others, wanted to get things off the ground immediately. We want to receive our ROI sooner rather than later, and that’s the main focus for some of us. However, that is not the reality for most startups. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years of opening, 45% within the first five years, and 65% within the first 10 years. Only 25% of new companies reach 15 years or more.
When I launched my startup in 2020, I knew I didn’t have it all figured out, but I thought I had it more figured out than I really did. Boy, was I in for a rude awakening. But I learned to appreciate the challenges I was facing, trying to reach my target audience with this new product I created that not many people knew about and trying to stay within my initial budget. I have always been practical with everything I am personally involved with. That said, I tried to do everything. But trying to do it all led me to be less productive than I expected.
It can be a lot. And some people give up because they don’t have the knowledge, the confidence, the resources, and in some cases, the passion for what they’re doing. If you really want to undertake, understand that it is not easy. Consider these five tips, which will hopefully encourage you to hang in there:
1. Realize that nothing happens overnight
Understand that when you see a successful person, most of them took years to get to where they are today. Yes, it’s great to be inspired by them, but don’t compare yourself or try to keep up with them. Stick to your journey and be consistent and open to learning in areas where you lack. Show yourself grace too.
Related: Why Some Startups Succeed (And Why Most Fail)
2. Believe in the product or service you offer
Do something you are passionate about and/or have knowledge and experience in. If you’re doing something just because someone else is doing it and you feel like you can do it too, but it’s not a passion of yours, that will change. find in your marketing and can lead to failure. That would be a huge waste of time and money. Once you’ve found your niche, do your due diligence starting with a thorough investigation of your competition. What can you offer that is different or better than what they are offering?
3. Marketing is the meat of your business
I am excellent in business matters, but I had problems with marketing. At first, I assumed I needed great ways to market my new business, and since I was operating on a shoestring budget, I couldn’t afford what I thought I needed to market my business. This left me frustrated at times. Email marketing to drive customers to your startup for little to no cost, posting on social media, and starting a blog are some of the strategies startups can use for marketing, to get started. Depending on your budget, paid search advertising is also an option. Additionally, Upwork is an organization that connects businesses with freelancers and agencies from around the world. Companies and freelancers work together through Upwork to achieve the goals of that company. They have freelancers for any business you need. I have worked with them for the last few years. This is a great resource for new businesses.
Related: The 7 Biggest Marketing Mistakes Every Startup Makes
4. Rebranding Jobs
After falling short of the small, realistic goals I set for my startup, I had to consider making changes. The rebranding has been my current saving grace. I thought, “My product is great and I know people are facing the same problem my product solves. Why don’t more people buy it?” Well, I was limiting myself. When I first launched it, I was only targeting women who needed a brush bag to store their brushes to protect the inside of their bags from loose hair and hair products. Not only was this actually a very small part of my target audience, but my product also provides organization for travel luggage, gym bags, and purses. Once I expanded my target audience and focused on more of the benefits my product offers, I began to see an increase in sales. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s much better than when I started.
5. Seek help from mentors
A mentor can help you overcome many of the challenges you will face as an entrepreneur. They have years of experience and knowledge, and having their guidance and support can give you the confidence to continue on your journey. Another thing to consider, once you have achieved this, is that you can become a mentor yourself and pass on your knowledge to someone who is currently in the position you once were in.
In closing, first of all, think about what your end game is for your customers. How can your product or service help them? Address that before thinking about how much money you’d like to earn. Trust me, when you lead with what you can offer instead of what you will receive, you will be on the right track. The sales will come.
Related: 5 Ways a Mentor Helps Your Startup Scale