Being an entrepreneur is about much more than the antics you see on an episode of Shark Tank; likewise, the grind of being your own boss is a far cry from The Wolf of Wall Street.
Perhaps the most prudent advice for modern entrepreneurs is rather straightforward: stay grounded in reality.
After all, we already know that a bulk of small businesses fail for one reason or another. Much like success, however, failure doesn’t happen overnight. The woes of many entrepreneurs often occur as a sort of snowball effect where mistake after mistake leaves them stuck and ultimately unable to move forward.
On the flip side, by taking a more realistic approach to entrepreneurship and ignoring the fluff, you can focus on what really matters and start getting down to business.
Regardless of your business or industry, keep these following tips in your back pocket whether you’re considering a new venture or have already been around the block.
Pay Attention to the “Small Stuff”
Although “don’t sweat the small stuff” has become the mantra of society at large, entrepreneurs absolutely cannot ignore the menial “paperwork” of their businesses. From handling tax concerns to forming your business as an LLC or corporation, seemingly small legal details can have a huge impact on your bottom online.
Sure, dealing with legalese can be time-consuming and tedious. However, you can’t let the legal aspects of your business fall to the wayside and assume that money’s just going to fall into your lap. By taking the time and acquiring the patience to deal with legal matters, you lay the foundation for long-term success.
While you can run a business that copycats everyone else in your niche; however, is that really a viable strategy in the long run? At the end of the day, it’s bold businesses that stand the test of time and make an impression on customers.
Basecamp CEO Jason Fried, for example, is known for his brash attitude and mentality that companies should strive to do less rather than work endless hours. Mark Zuckerberg likewise, went against the grain in public and stood out by adamantly standing against ads during Facebook’s early days.
You don’t necessarily need to be a master innovator, genius or prodigy to be successful, nor do you need to do anything drastic to be bold. All you need is a message and mission that drives what you do. When you make that message clear to your audience, you have a better chance of standing out.
Treat Your Business Like a Science
Given the popularity of growth hacking, experimentation is on the minds of many entrepreneurs and marketers looking for rapid growth in today’s economy. Treating your business like a science is about much more than experimentation, which can ultimately lose you tons of time, money and energy if you go about it the wrong way.
Think about how a scientist conducts an experiment. Your business decisions should be based on data (think: analytics and sales numbers, for example) versus guessing. Likewise, you should devise a hypothesis before launching a new product or service and make sure that your business decisions are rooted in logic.
Remember: don’t experiment solely for the sake of doing so.
Be Disciplined With the Dollar
Having discipline as an entrepreneur may seem like a no-brainer; however, many new business owners have the idea in their head that they need to constantly splash cash to keep up appearances.
Forget the fancy lunches, business suits and even small pleasures such as Starbucks until you’ve built up a nest egg. Holding yourself financially accountable will ultimately make or break your business, so it never hurts to be frugal during your early days as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurial success is about focusing on what matters most, including your budget, self-discipline and marketing message. Rather than shoot for the stars, maintain realistic expectations about what being a successful entrepreneur really means: you’ll be glad down the road that you didn’t have your head in the clouds.