“Wisdom comes with age, but if you've got the right ideas and the ability to execute it well, then age is just a proverbial number.”
Latest research shows that startup success for thirty-something-year-olds isn’t totally outrageous. According to a recent study by Walter Frick and his associates as published in Harvard Business Review (HBR) states that those under the age of 35 represent a significant proportion of founders in the Wall Street Journal’s billion-dollar club, with the average age coming in at 31.
Some of the wealthiest men in the world became entrepreneurs before their 30th birthday. Bill Gates formed Microsoft at the age of 20. Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecommunication magnate, founded a brokerage firm just out of college. Larry Page partnered with Sergey Brin to launch Google when he was only 26.
Succeeding as an entrepreneur takes hard work and persistence because, unfortunately, there is no business-startup fairy who magically bestows success on small businesses and their owners. Most successful entrepreneurs follow comparable patterns and share similar basic characteristics.
Passion, perseverance and a positive attitude tend to set successful entrepreneurs apart. Cultivating these attributes requires an innate skill set and some tips to get started. So here are the key pointers to be taken into consideration if you’re trying to develop a business platform. These elements constitute will support a smart strategy for any new enterprise:
Love what you do: Passion is the key to keeping a business strategy moving. Half-heartedness in an entrepreneurial endeavor will chip away at your drive to succeed. Perseverance is the one thing that’s guaranteed to move anything over time, whether it’s a person, a job or an entire company. Abraham Lincoln failed at most of his efforts until late in his life, but he never gave up.
Take baby steps: Jumping all in is rarely ever successful. There are success stories about people who invested everything once and came out winners after six months or a couple years, but those are rare. Risk management is an essential factor in any startup, and balance is vital. You can absorb losses more easily if you take smaller risks in the beginning. Those will provide essential and productive lessons.
Learn from others: Successful entrepreneurs often worked for others in their field of choice before striking out on their own. Spending a few years in the industry under an excellent mentor will provide a good launching pad. Learn from your predecessors’ mistakes and brainstorm about how to improve upon their model. Find someone willing to teach, and think about starting your business elsewhere when you leave.
Learn how to self-promote: Confidence and a good elevator speech can take any pitch to the next level. The first marketing any company experiences comes from its founder. Spend time learning how to share your vision. Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale, but remember: the client is always the focus.
Constantly take action: Entrepreneurs are movers and shakers. There is no place for procrastination in a startup. It’s a 24/7, no-vacation-or-sick-days kind of job that demands constant forward momentum. Make a brief assessment at every step and move on it. Trust your instincts.
Make a plan: Read about successful businesses. Take in the wealth of knowledge that’s been provided by successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and the person abilities from Shark Tank. A successful business plan does not have to be a book. A 10-page plan is digestible yet long enough to include everything you need to start.
It’s never too late to start: Many successful entrepreneurs started later in life. J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter author), Julia Child (chef), and Sam Walton (Wal-Mart) all started their wildly successful brands after they were comfortably along in their lives. Having the experience that comes with age can give you a unique outlook on your business. Life experiences bring depth that the most educated young adult, by his or her nature, is less able to foresee
Build your Team: Finding the skill sets and attitudes that support the culture of the brand you want to promote will foster innovation and enhance your reputation. Include folks from outside the company for the people you rely on. That will start a free marketing chain reaction that can build confidence and revenue.
Be mindful of your attitude: The attitude of the founder will set the tone for the business. Negativity, laziness and entitlement waste time and money while they tarnish your reputation. Success largely depends on making mistakes and accepting blame in stride. Owning up to and facing challenges head-on is what makes a mere business owner a leader.
Starting a business can wreak havoc on the owner’s personal life:While all the above tips are necessary for success, taking care of yourself mentally and physically is also imperative. Exercise, sleep and diet play a central role in ensuring you implement these policies successfully. All of them drive attitude, motivation and relationships.
Successful CEOs tend to follow a structured, daily schedule of rising early, exercising, having snacks on hand for fuel and socializing many evenings of the week.
Striking a balance may take a while, but working toward this list as a goal for starting your company will make the difference. How an owner feels about progress and how quickly a business can be up and running -- and feeding that bottom line -- will swiftly feel the impact
Develop the habit of Reading: All successful billionaires in the world are in the habit of reading. It is important to continuously replenish your knowledge.
When you are the boss, there is usually no one to pat you on the back for doing a good job or guide you through the daily obstacles of running a business. For the first-time entrepreneur, having no support can be daunting. A slow patch in business, a difficult client or losing out to a competitor may have you questioning your decision to be in business at all. One of the biggest challenges is staying motivated and confident as you build a new business. So for those days when you are overwhelmed and frustrated by the daily grind, here are a few ways to keep your confidence up when you're just starting out.
Reach out with an introductory email asking for a specific amount of time and outlining the top three points you would like to discuss. It is important for you to have a flexible schedule and work around their available time since you are asking them for help.
Seek out successful people in your field: If you know of established individuals who are in the same business as you, reach out to them. Your startup is not a threat. Pick their brains for advice. If the leader of the company is on the speaking circuit or writes and shares information through social media, there is a good chance he or she will be available to meet or get on a phone call.
If a specific situation or client or employee relationship isn't working, then take a day or so off to clear your head and regroup. Use the time to brainstorm with a trusted business associate, mentor or friend to figure out the best way to move forward. Once you come up with a plan, it's time to get back to work.
Never let them see you sweat: Each day will not be perfect. Just know that getting discouraged from time to time is part of the business-building process. The key is to avoid letting your customers or employees see you sweat!
Join a like-minded group: Support from friends, family or strangers can go a long way. Nowadays, social media contacts can quickly become very useful "friends." Seek out and join Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ groups related to your industry to find virtual friends. Local meetups are also a good way to meet people in person. These are the places to ask questions and exchange information.
Focus on one business step at a time: As a new entrepreneur, it is easy to look at the competition and think that is where you need to be. But if your competition has been at it for several years longer than there is no way you should expect to be at the same place. Your competitor has spent years making their mistakes and growing. Run your own race and focus on taking one business step at a time.
When it comes to being a business owner we all need a cheerleader, especially when just getting started. Having periods of doubt is par for the course for any new entrepreneur. I am sure successful business owners still have moments of doubt.
If you don't have a cheerleader on hand, go out and find one. While you are searching for that cheerleader, use this time to dig deep, trust your gut instincts and believe in your abilities to get the job done. Working for yourself is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but the rewards when you succeed make it so worth it.