Entrepreneur

Becoming a successful entrepreneur – is it only about the big idea?

I’m taking a stand with all the young entrepreneurs out there who have come up against some pushback when introducing a new business idea.

It’s a daunting prospect taking those first steps into launching a new business; however, if you’ve had the lightbulb moment, you’re already halfway there. Hopefully, some of the advice below – which has stood me in good stead over the years – will provide guidance and food for thought for any budding entrepreneur starting his or her business journey.

Identify and plug the gap in the market

Although obvious, it’s one of the most important pieces of advice I can give. I identified a gap in the market when regularly visiting hangouts with friends. It became clear that some of these establishments required a Facilities Management (FM) company to look after the premises. I put a plan in place and was able to launch a company to bridge the gap.

There have been FM companies in this region for decades; however, it was about doing something different to fill that void. I analysed the competition and got an idea of what worked well for them and what didn’t. The result was to implement the best practices, combined with my own experiences, to create something different and unique.

A great example I recently read about was an Abu Dhabi-based start-up called The Concept. They have partnered with Etihad Airways to develop an IoT-based food tray that will help reduce food waste in the aviation industry. This is a fantastic idea that is unique and will have a long-lasting positive impact for the future.

The customer is king

The adage ‘the customer is always right’ is as relevant today as it’s ever been. However, for any budding entrepreneur, it’s essential first to identify who your customer or audience is. Many people will fall into the trap of thinking their product is for everyone and market it accordingly. This is a sure-fire way to failure.

Understanding your target audience, what it is they require and how your product or service will benefit them is key. So, do your market research. Social media can be a goldmine of information as people are far more likely to air their grievances when doing so behind a keyboard. Do your research, find out what people like and adhere to it.

Business plans

As an entrepreneur, I’m always thinking of the next big idea and how to achieve it so the thought of putting a business plan together is pretty low down on my priorities. But, it’s a necessity. Putting a plan in place can help you project results and stay on target. Having a solid business plan not only underscores your intent to make it work but will also make all the difference in getting your business off the ground.

Mistakes will be made

I’m fortunate to have grown up around incredibly successful entrepreneurs. Listening to their advice has undoubtedly shaped my business acumen and whetted my appetite to become an entrepreneur in my own right. I can look to my family for guidance and mentorship; however, numerous sites can provide you with the help and direction you need.

Growthmentor, ThinkBold, Score, and Micromentor are just a few of the online platforms across a range of industries that provide access to handpicked mentors and experts in their field.

Don’t forget, mistakes will be made. It happens to the best in the world, so don’t be put off.

Utilise your network

I’ve previously spoken about the importance of your network. With a start-up, it is crucial. Their combined experience and insight alone are invaluable.

Maximise your networking opportunities, put yourself out there at events, business seminars, and social gatherings – a professional working relationship could potentially develop at any time.

My final piece of advice, or rather statement, is that starting a business and making it work isn’t easy. Seasoned entrepreneurs and billionaires such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg didn’t have it all their way. Yes, they built global superstar companies, but it wasn’t all plain sailing.

Gates’ first product didn’t make enough money to cover the Microsoft overheads. The first Apple product was built in Jobs’ family garage with money from selling his Volkswagen minibus and Steve Wozniak’s programmable calculator.  Branson, I’m sure, would be the first to admit he faced several challenges and endured many failures in the early years. But one thing they had in common was they never gave up, and neither should you.

I’m certainly not suggesting that sticking to the above points is a foolproof plan to success. There’s so much involved in getting an idea off the ground. Hopefully, they give you a solid grounding and the confidence to take your business idea to the next level.

As ever, get in touch and let me know if these words of advice helped. It’s always good to hear about your success stories.