Building a successful, long-term and sustainable business is like a rollercoaster ride with many ups and downs. You may get tired and lose your drive experiencing setbacks after setbacks but don't give up. Analyse why things fail and move past your failures. Here are some lessons every entrepreneur must learn to overcome failures and take their business to the next level.
1. Entrepreneurship is hard
Entrepreneurship isn't for the lazy and weak. It takes tons of determination and hard work to build a company. If you think being your own boss is a bed of roses, think again! Brace yourself for excruciating tough times ahead, it will not always be fun. Dealing with conflicts, rejections and problems way bigger you could ever imagine. It's time to burst that dream bubble and figure out a way to turn that dream into reality. Do it, do not stop!
2 .There will always be failures and detours
Sometimes, the worst thing that ever happened might actually be the best thing that ever happened to you. Be of good cheer, laugh about it and move forward. If you know where you are going and what you are trying to accomplish, you will overcome these failures. As the saying goes "When one door closes, another door opens". Don't stare at the closed door for too long, find another open door and walk through it!
3. Cultivate relationships
There is a difference between hustling and cultivating a relationship with someone. Stop going up to investors directly to ask for money. Instead, tell them about your business passionately. Impress them with your energy, confidence and story. Get to know the investors sincerely and build out those relationships over time. Be valuable to them first, let them see why you deserve the money more than the others asking for the same things.
4. Learn to handle difficult situations well
There will always be roadblocks and obstacles. You will get frustrated with projects and meetings that do not go well. The way you handle these setbacks is what separates you from those entrepreneur who will fail in time to come. Make the best out of these bad challenges and turn your difficult situation into something positive.
5. Think carefully but act fast
When making a major decision, take time to consider options or solutions carefully. Once you are ready, act fast. Don't be indecisive as the worst decision is indecision. There is no one right way to run a business, no road map or holy grail. Learn to move quickly and go with your gut. Don't let opportunity go to waste with your indecision. It is always better to do something than nothing. Start now and figure out what works and what doesn't work.
6. Be 100% present
Be 100% present wherever you are. You will have many things on your plate and you will probably be busy, stressed and anxious as an entrepreneur. Your mind will be occupied. However when you go for a meeting or an event, leave everything at the door. Let it go and make an effort to give people 100% of yourself. Let them know they matter to you.
7. Surround yourself with good people
Make recruiting one of your priority. Instead of posting jobs only when you have an open position, have eager applicants ready, waiting and excited to work for your company. A good team can propel your company forward.
8. Treat people really well
There will always be arrogant, cocky or horrible people around, don't be affected by it. Don't get sucked into the negative energy, let it go and don't waste time on them as they are simply not worth it. Focus your energy and time on people who matter. You are no more or less important than everyone else. Everyone is going through a battle, everyone is building something, everyone has a story to tell. Be kind rather than self-important. Give people all the love, energy and patience you can muster.
9. Think simple
Make your solution or product simple. Most business fail due to complicated and hard to use products, solutions or strategies. You are more likely to succeed if you keep things simple.
10. Be patient
Most businesses take around 2 years before becoming stable. Don't give up when you are only 6 months into your business. Recognise that the plan you have is rarely the plan that works. Build up a loyal audience, listen to them and adjust your products, solutions accordingly.
11. Nothing is as bad as it seems
Failure is just relative, they are just mistakes anyone can make. There are 7 billion people in the world and they couldn't care less about your failures. Just suck it up and get back to work.
12. People will hate you
Whether it's your product, service, solution; when they are out there, people will notice. And when they notice, they will have an opinion and some of these opinions aren't going to be favourable. The opinions and views will be mean, unfounded or even untrue. There will always be haters and once you know that, separate them from your personal sense of self and faith.
13. Don't be afraid to pivot
You might think your idea or product is the next big thing but the hard reality is that it's not true. If your initial product isn't sustainable, don't beat yourself up over it. Don't give up, analyse why it failed and use it to pivot to another alternative. Be adaptable when things don't go your way.
14. Agree on the direction of your company from the beginning
Make sure your visions, missions and plan are in line with all the co-founders before you jump into the deep end. If everyone isn't on the same page, things might not end well.
15. Get a great team
Entrepreneurship is easier when you are doing it with a team. Partner those who complement your skills and most importantly, whom you trust. A great team makes a difference between success and failure.
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