Amidst the slow economic recovery, business start-ups are on the rise. Graduates facing a bleak job market as well as downsized seasoned professionals are finding fulfilling work in entrepreneurship. The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that a staggering 9 out of 10 businesses fail within the first year. Following are five suggestions to help aspiring entrepreneurs avoid the pitfalls on the road to business success.
1. Develop emotional intelligence. Even the smartest entrepreneurs may be unaware of their strengths and weaknesses. Yet self-awareness is key to operating a successful business. You need high levels of emotional intelligence to keep yourself—and your business—moving forward.
2. Distinguish your products or services from the competition. One of the biggest fallacies in business is obsessing over trends and in the process losing sight of what makes your business unique. Carefully assess how you differ from the competition and what you can do better.
3. Invest in yourself. Many entrepreneurs expend tremendous energy and inspiration at the start of their venture. But maintaining that same fervor becomes more difficult over time. Determine what can keep you motivated to achieve your goals. Consider hiring a career coach or a counselor to help you discover whether your passions and values are compatible with running a business.
4. Find resources. Don’t try to figure everything out yourself. Continue to network with mentors and with community and professional organizations, such as your local chamber of commerce, to help your business succeed. For instance, the U.S. Small Business Administration provides a full range of services to small business owners, from getting a loan to developing a business plan, at www.sba.gov.
5. Learn business management skills. If you aren’t experienced in business, upgrade your skills. Many colleges now offer academic majors in entrepreneurship. If you don’t have the time or money to pursue a business degree, attend business seminars or purchase a reputable business video course. With the right tools, your new business can succeed.