One could be forgiven for thinking that giant banks and corporations control the economy. After all, television and the Internet are filled with advertisements from big brands. However, large corporations like Microsoft and Coca-Cola only account for less than one percent of all businesses in the United States. The real backbone of the American economy is small firms like mom-and-pop stores and neighborhood businesses.
If you want to start your own business, you’re not alone. Around 540,000 new small businesses are started each year, generating millions of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue. However, starting a business is fraught with challenges. You have to navigate red tape, not to mention attract enough customers to keep your business afloat.
It’s not uncommon to see entrepreneurs struggle with their personal lives. When running a business eats up most of your energy, you won’t have enough left for self-care and relationships. You also have to worry about attracting customers, making payroll, paying the bills, and a million other things on your to-do list. You have to do every single thing correctly, and a single mistake can ruin your business.
To succeed in the new economy, entrepreneurs need to know how to run a lean business. They also have to navigate the hundreds of laws on the books. It also helps to secure arbitration and mediation services in case of a dispute. Running a business is constant work, and it often seems like there are more losses than wins. That said, it can also be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Here are a few things you can do to become a better entrepreneur.
1. Work on your business plan
Before anything else, you’ll need to work on your business plan. This single act can boost your chances of success down the line, so make sure to fill in all the details your investors may need. Realistically, it may be weeks or even months before you can start earning money. You need to refine and limit your concept to prevent costly changes halfway through the development process.
The business model may differ from industry to industry, but the fundamentals are the same. You have to deal with development, testing, marketing, and sales. Let’s say you want to sell baked goods. You’re going to bake a few samples and choose the best ones for the market. Once your store has been set up, you open your doors to the public. Some of your baked goods may prove to be a hit, while others won’t be as popular. You’re going to refine your processes as you go along, based on the data you’ve collected.
2. Talk to your partner
Most people lack the resources to start a business by themselves. That’s why many businesses are borne out of partnerships. Some of the most iconic brands were started by friends or a group of people with a singular concept. They can pool their resource to start something for the benefit of all.
In many cases, a partnership can be beneficial for the business. You can split the workload, share resources, exchange ideas, and act as a foil for the other. However, we’ve also seen businesses split at the seams by in-fighting. Both partners need to move in the same direction for the business to succeed.
It’s also important to separate business and friendship. Just because you’re working with your closest friend doesn’t mean you can expose yourself to undue risk. Make sure to put everything on paper and formalize the partnership through an agreement. If you run into any problems, assert your rights as a shareholder of your company.
3. Guard your property
A company’s most important asset is its intellectual property. But if you think only giant corporations need to protect their assets, then you’re at risk of losing the one thing that makes your business unique. Whether you run a tech startup or a food business, you need to safeguard your branding and products. Your brand name, logo, and even your slogan are all crucial to your business’s future success.
There are ways to protect your intellectual property. You can always patent unique inventions and formulations. Meanwhile, your creative output and corporate identity are protected by copyright protection. If anyone tries to copy or profit off your assets, you can always take them to the courts.
A final word
These three things will help you become a more savvy entrepreneur. The economy has changed so much in the last few years, and future entrepreneurs have to wear multiple hats to succeed. It’s now clear that you need to know a bit of everything if you want to survive in a cutthroat market.