Being an entrepreneur is a dream job for many people, you get to be your own boss, work your own hours and pursue your passion. But those of you who have taken the plunge and started your own business know that with being your own boss comes great responsibility, countless hours of overtime and a lot of worrying and obsessing over every detail. It’s a stressful yet rewarding life but we could all use some guidance and perspective along the way.
Here are a few tips for current or future entrepreneurs
1. Work ON your business not IN your business
As entrepreneurs it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and get caught up in the little things. Attention to detail is important but many entrepreneurs make the mistake of sweating the small stuff instead of looking at how to grow and increase their business. A great example of this is what I like to call Social Media Madness- so many “branding experts” out there recommend that entrepreneurs use social media to grow their business, but just how much trust can you establish on the internet? Face to face interaction is key in establishing mutual trust and building a successful business relationship. Instead of worrying about how many social media updates to schedule in Hootsuite or BufferApp entrepreneurs should be focusing on how to increase their reach, retain existing and loyal customers and expand their business.
2. Know your brand
Before you can grow your business and attract customers you need to know what you’re selling. Entrepreneurs need to take time to examine and reexamine the product they are trying to sell. What is it? And what is your brand? What are you all about? These are all questions entrepreneurs should ask themselves. You need to know your brand inside out because as an entrepreneur you are a living breathing 24/7 advertisement and endorsement of your brand. If you don’t know what you’re trying to represent you won’t be successful in attracting and retaining customers and clients.
3. Create original material and put your name ON it
Being original is one of the perks of being an entrepreneur. Although it’s tempting to “copy” thoughts, ideas and even pictures, plagiarism is a crime and is punishable by law. It’s always best to have your own ideas. When you create something be it an image, blog post or any type of promotional material put your name on it and own it! Make sure everyone knows you made it and that it is your property. A great way to do this is by inserting your logo in to your self made images and graphics and setting your logo as a watermark for any handouts or material you give out. Your logo will generally deter any would be plagiarizers from using your work and setting your logo as a watermark for any written material makes it difficult to photocopy.
4. Don’t be afraid of DIY
Most entrepreneurs have to grow their business on a budget andthat usually doesn’t leave much in the way of funding for expert advice and outsourcing, But doing things yourself is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s a very rewarding experience to be able to claim full ownership of projects. For example instead of outsourcing your flyer or promotional material design try playing around with PowerPoint, Photoshop or whichever design program you’re comfortable with, you’ll be surprised at what you end up with. No one knows your business better than you do so it’s always better to try doing things yourself before you break the bank on “marketing and branding experts” or “graphic designers”. You know your vision for your brand, logo and promotional material better than anyone so why not take a stab at it before you outsource.
Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world. She can be reached via Website, Twitter, Facebook or her Blog.