Everywhere I see advice for entrepreneurs. Everything is increasingly full of a diffuse startup culture full of good intentions and unscrupulous salesmen hidden behind some of them.
But the reality is that most of the entrepreneurial advice that emanates from there is not useful for everyday life.
That’s why I wanted to give my point of view and try to balance all of that with advice for entrepreneurs who do work.
This is the advice I would give to my best friend or a brother if they told me that they wanted to create a company.
1. FORGET ABOUT PASSION AND LOOK FOR A MARKET THAT BUYS. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS.
The first piece of advice for entrepreneurs is to ignore all those others who talk about passion, ideas, and initiative.
If a market doesn’t buy something, it doesn’t matter how passionate you are about it. There are no prizes for effort or enthusiasm; there is a prize for satisfying a demand.
Therefore, the most important advice when creating a company is to analyze the market first and be 100% sure that it is profitable and needs something like what you want to sell.
We will be able to apply this advice in practice together with the following.
2. TEST THE WATER BEFORE JUMPING INTO THE POOL
One of the main problems of many entrepreneurs is what is technically called “excess of anticipated optimization.”
In practice, it means something which I’ve seen a thousand times: you spend a lot of time finishing and perfecting a product, which is then not sold because the market doesn’t want it.
To avoid this waste of money, time, and a part of the heart that also breaks, you have to try first.
How do we know when there is a demand? We don’t really know for sure, but we can minimize the chances of making a mistake by trying.
- We create a web page with a description of the product, for example. It should be attractive and express our competitive advantage well.
- We create an ad campaign on Facebook Ads or Google Adwords and assign a limited budget. Let’s say 300 euros, although it will depend on how competitive the sector is. It is important that we are willing to lose that money.
- We can put away to sign up with email when the product comes out, for example, to better assess the response.
- We analyze the data from this experiment when the advertising budget is finished.
Has the ad been clicked on often? Have people visited the site and signed up? Have we received messages?
All these questions give clues about the real interest of the market before we invest our time, money, and effort.
It is important to understand that even negative interest is interest. At the very least, that negativity implies that the topic we are dealing with is important and touches a fiber so that it can be profitable with a new approach. However, the worst thing that can happen to an entrepreneur is indifference.
If we see that there is such an interest, we go ahead. If not, we have not really lost 300 euros; we have saved time, huge amounts of health, and sleep and have not spent money on something the market does not want. We would have lost all these things by throwing ourselves, without looking, into a pool in which there was no water.
3. THE ISSUE OF MONEY, ONE OF THE MOST IGNORED PIECES OF ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS, IS TIED UP WELL.
This means that we make a budget of income and expenses and, above all, a treasury budget. Then we take that budget and calculate a pessimistic scenario where there are much fewer sales.
Can we survive that scenario?
Because it’s likely that, especially during the first few months, the life of our company will look a lot like that.
If we don’t tie up the money, nothing else will work.
It seems like fundamental advice for entrepreneurs, but it’s incredible how many of them underestimate it and don’t have a minimum financial culture, or start planning everything but the money.
Once we find out that the market is interested, we should start doing numbers to see if they add up.
4. THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT WHO YOU ASSOCIATE WITH
This advice for entrepreneurs is fundamental because choosing a partner is like getting married. Bearing in mind that, especially at the beginning, life together is going to be stressful and “the child” (the company) is going to demand 110% of our attention and money. Will we be able to withstand that pressure?
Incompatible characters, unknown partners, friends (it’s my experience, best to separate friendship and business) are rather poor candidates.
In addition to partners themselves, I would extend this entrepreneurial advice to customers and suppliers.
I already commented in your day which clients to let go. Worse still, than letting them go is not capturing them in the first place, so we must be attentive to the signals they give beforehand and if they belong to any of the 3 horrible types that I mentioned in the previous link.
5. BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT HOW YOU ARE GOING TO GET CUSTOMERS
After working with an infinite number of entrepreneurs, here is the marketing plan of the majority: Sit back and wait. At most, some advertisement is loose when things obviously start to go wrong.
If we are not good salespeople or extroverts, we should look for someone who is. Especially at the beginning, we are going to have to go to the customer’s door and knock on it.
If we are creating a company, we should forget about inbound marketing and focus on outbound marketing.
It is an illusion to believe that we are going to achieve visibility and attraction right away. Everything is very saturated, and the best customers don’t have time to take walks and, hopefully, see our website or find us. They don’t need us because our competition has already gone actively for them and is satisfying their needs.
6. BE THE BEST OR DON’T BE ANYTHING
Not only do we have to find a market that buys, we have to offer a superior solution, because otherwise, they will buy, yes, but from others.
There are already a lot of companies in practically every sector. Luckily, most of them are mediocre, give the least, and don’t really care. It seems hard, but just look at how we have been treated many times as if we were a number.
There is always room for one more solution that is excellent, but better than others. The last thing the world needs is the latter.
I develop this topic further here.
7. DON’T FALL INTO THE DEFINITION OF AN INCOMPETENT ENTREPRENEUR
A long time ago, I heard what is probably the best definition of incompetence: “Dealing with the details before you have finished the main thing.”
I’m not going to deny that, especially at first, I fell into this mistake a lot, and that, of the entrepreneurial advice I gave, this was my weak point.
Some of the usual manifestations of this incompetence are, for example, when an entrepreneur is more concerned about the office he is going to rent, the logo of the company or the laptop he is going to buy, instead of looking for and signing clients.
First, the important thing, then the details.
That will also allow us to develop another truly effective entrepreneurial skill: to finish projects and bring products to market, instead of being, eternally, with jobs that do not end.
8. KEEP A HEALTHY EMOTIONAL DISTANCE FROM EVERYDAY LIFE
There is little talk of undertaking being, to a large extent, a mental game. And when you talk about this internal aspect, you put the emphasis on the wrong elements.
For all these reasons, one of the best tips for entrepreneurs is to keep a healthy distance from what happens on a daily basis. If we tie ourselves to the results of each day when we sell, we will be the kings of the world and, when the typical week goes by in which you don’t close anything, we will feel like a total failure.
That charges us too high of a psychological toll. The main thing in practice to apply this advice is to widen the field of vision and examine trends.
Of course, we must control, but we can do it, taking into account extended times: a month, for example, not the day-to-day. Has it been a good month? How has it been with respect to the previous one? How can it have been affected by seasonality (if, for example, it is August and we sell to other businesses, the figures will be lower, and it is normal)?
We must be professional and keep that distance. If not, it is going to be a constant roller coaster in which we will behave in a very unstable way.
9. KEEP IN MIND THAT EVERYTHING COSTS MORE THAN PLANNED
This happens in almost every field, and, in some of them, it becomes a reality in a literal sense. That means that the costs of our budgets, for example, tend to be more than we plan and need to be well-controlled.
But that is not all he is talking about.
Projects cost more time than we think, sales take longer than we think, everything tends to need more than we have planned, so we have to correct our forecasts to include this cognitive bias.
10. IT’S OKAY TO GIVE UP: ONE OF THE MOST COUNTERINTUITIVE TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Another one of those awful tips for entrepreneurs that are often out there is “Never give up.”
It sounds great, but life is not absolute, and neither is its rules. Laziness and passiveness have no place when it comes to entrepreneurship. Therefore, the mantra to “never abandon” is effective only for those who want to sell you the book or the discourse that includes those childish and unreal notions.
Abandoning is perfectly legitimate and the right strategy in many cases.
Why tie yourself to a sinking ship and die with it? It is better to leave on time, minimize the damage, and live than to undertake another day.
To apply this well, I recommend reading How to Know When to Abandon and When to Continue.
There’s more, but these are the 10 most important and effective tips for entrepreneurs. They are the fruit of [[[AUTHOR: You seem to be missing information here. Please revise. Please also note that book titles should be italicized, and that we recommend you italicize “nuncas” and “siempres,” as is typical to do with non-English words in an English context. Thank you.]]]