Top tips for aspiring entrepreneurs

An aspiring entrepreneur may envision handling a new idea or service as a really tough deal. It can be. Knowing how to embed a strategy to tackle potential problems is fundamental in building a business. Even the most successful businesses had to weave their way to triumph.

So to continue our Hot Topics debate, here are ten tips to help you on your way:

Curve your enthusiasm

Don’t let your enthusiasm cloud your judgement. Remain objective and realistic – even in times of uncertainty and success.

Identify and research your target market and cater to their needs

Think about your potential customers/clients is fundamentally important. You must be adaptable, especially as a small business, to fulfil any demands that you’re expected to fill. Never say no.

Evaluate your idea

Check and understand the logicality of your idea, and how sustainable it can be. Use metric tools like SWOT to measure your impact and how insightful your products/services can be.

Be realistic about what you want to achieve

Plan ahead. Produce clear, achievable targets for you to build and develop.  

Set goals to increase motivation

All work and no play can make life tiresome and difficult. Create little, and enjoyable, incentives to increase motivation and general happiness. Whether it’s a holiday, a night out with friends, or a brand new phone, all can give added incentive.

Don’t fear failure

Fortune favours the brave. Never limit yourself to try something new, whether that is a client pitch, selling your products or how you interact with customers. Starting out will always be difficult, but maintaining enthusiasm and commitment, the hard-work will be worth it.

Manage your time effectively

By managing your time effectively and constructively, you will be making yourself more valuable. Time is money and it should not be wasted on lie-ins and prolonged cups of coffee. Everyone will want a part of your time, so use it wisely. Whether it’s through a planner or Outlook, plan ahead and know about meetings in advance.

Be clever with money

Despite the riches of managing your own business can bring, be wary of potential threats. This can be of many forms. Changes in regulations and funding, security breaches in online backing or even cyber-threats from the web can effect business immensely. Build relationships with bankers early on, have cash flow projections and know how much you can realistically afford. It is about managing expectations.

Plan marketing and PR budgets

Expanding and developing is often the hardest challenge with small businesses. Making that second million is often harder than making the first; when more established, provide a budget for marketing and PR. Sometimes word-of-mouth is not good enough, embrace social media and other platforms to build an identity and become memorable.

Don’t give up

Just don’t. If your products or services are good, then it will only be a matter of time. Maintain enthusiasm and commitment, remember there will be tough times, but equally there will be some great ones too. 


Some advice from those who have experience with the industry and have been there and done it:

“I started Ballou PR for two reasons:  I thought that, with the right group of people, I could build a better workplace - and I saw market that was under-served:  high-growth technology.

My advice?  Know your numbers.  If you are weak in this area, hire someone to handle it.”

Colette Ballou, President, Ballou PR

“Running an app-development agency we spotted early on that social was transforming corporate communication. We had an idea, built a simple product and gained feedback from real companies. The journey was longer than anticipated but today we’ve grown to 25 people! I’d advise young entrepreneurs to move quickly on a good idea, and be persistent!”

Joshua March, Co-Founder and CEO, Conversocial


“It’s important to want to be your own boss, but sometimes you need relevant experience as well as the capital and the confidence to make it succeed. My advice: do it - but have a plan; line up a client beforehand and save enough cash to hold you over.”

 Leila Makki, Freelance journalist and presenter

“Know when an idea is not working, and iterate your business quickly.  Keep experimenting (pivoting) until your product really starts to gain traction with your customers.  And finally, make sure to keep track of all the data as you experiment, so that you can develop a real insight into the behaviour of your customer and develop the best product possible for their needs” 

 Bindi Karia, VC/Emerging Business Lead at BizSpark

 Are there any other tips you would suggest? Have we missed anything? Please comment below or use Twitter @MicrosoftSB

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