We put together the most important 15 things any new entrepreneur should know before starting a business.
Our goal with these articles has always been to provide you, the Aluxers, with a bit more clarity on what you should expect on your journey to success, so it made sense to make this video on what starting a business is all about.
After asking you guys what do you believe would have the greatest impact, most of you suggested that you’re planning on starting your first business or company so a heads up or a game plan would be beneficial.
Let’s get this out of the way early on, starting a business is not for everybody! Some people possess a particular set of traits which fit better with the entrepreneurial template than others.
You can be happy and successful by working for someone else, it all depends on who you are as a person.
If you believe you are destined to be an entrepreneur and looking to start a business, this video will help you figure out both a game plan and to double check your existing beliefs.
The problem we found when researching for this video is that most articles on this topic tend to shy away from hard to swallow truths and basically all of them regurgitate the same information. If we did it, we had to do it differently.
We structured this video so that it is perfect for everyone who’s in the beginning stages of their company and if there’s enough interest we could do a part 2 adding a bit more points.
That said, here are 15 things you should know when starting a business:
Number 1: Talk is cheap
Nobody cares about what you are planning to do, until you do it.
We get hundreds of email from people who say they plan on launching a company.
Even among your friends, we’re sure that at least a couple of them say they plan on starting a new project and even give you a glimpse into what it will look like.
How many of them did actually do anything about it?
We can answer that: 1 in 60 people. For every 60 people that say they plan on starting a business, only 1 actually does it.
The rest just talk about something they’ll never end up doing. Most people will find excuses, saying it’s not the right time or whatever reason they find, but the result is the same.
The world doesn’t care about what you plan on doing, the world doesn’t run on wishful thinking, no matter how many times you read The Secret, it works on people getting things done.
Talk is cheap Aluxers, instead, let your work speak for you.
Number 2: An idea isn’t worth anything before it yields a result
An idea is worth a million dollars, only after it made 1 million dollars!
News flash Aluxers, ideas are free. Everyone has ideas, tons of them actually, they’re not that special.
Talk to anyone around you and they can immediately bring up 5 ideas of business or projects.
But as we’ve mentioned at the previous point, since everyone has multiple ideas, there’s an abundance of them, most of them are actually good ideas, but that doesn’t mean they are worth anything.
Ideas are worthless unless they are paired with the right execution.
Let me put it this way:
A good idea with a poor execution, not only that it won’t yield any positive results, it will end up consuming resources & time.
A mediocre idea with great execution will become a viable business.
It’s very rare that good ideas and great execution meet and they almost never happen both in the early stages. You start with a simple idea which in time could evolve into a good one, but execution is everything.
Just because an idea sounds great to you, it doesn’t mean the world thinks so as well.
We recommend you find unbiased opinions, don’t listen to your friends and family because they care about you and they’ll sing your praises.
If you want real feedback on an idea, ask people to front you the money. You’ll find out that everybody says an idea is good and they would pay for something like that, until you actually ask them to put their money where their mouth is.
Don’t be protective of your idea, it’s not that special. It all depends on your ability to execute!
Also, you don’t need a revolutionary idea to get rich. You do not have to re-invent bread to have a successful bakery, facebook wasn’t the first social network and delivering food to customers is not revolutionary; you just need to execute better than your competitors.
Number 3: Nobody cares about your business more than you
…and they never will, no matter how much money you throw at them.
Your business is the product of your dreams, your desires and your need to materialize something you truly believe in.
You might inspire people to join your cause, but nobody will ever want this business to success as much as you do.
This is something really important to consider in the very early stages, especially if the business has multiple founders. If you partner with other people in order to build it, every single one of the members needs to want it as bad as you do and be willing to give whatever it takes.
So many times we see best friends teaming up in order to start a business, only to realize 6 months in that one of them isn’t really passionate about the idea and wants to move onto something else.
Partners can be a great thing, especially if they can fill up a void in your skill set, but with every person you bring in, remember that you’re slicing up the pie as well.
Rarely you see business started by a single founder. The upside is that you get to keep all the rewards, the downside is, it’s going to be a lot more exhausting than you think.
No matter which way you’re moving forward think of your team like a chess set: you want as many of them to be around when you win, but don’t refrain from sacrificing some of them if otherwise you’re going to lose the game.
Number 4: You don’t need money to start a business! You are the business in the beginning.
This is one of those things that stop people from starting out. They all think you need a ton of money to get started.
This is because most people look at the final stage of the company, the part where you have a ton of employees, a marketing team, multiple products, raw materials and registered intellectual property.
That’s not how businesses are started. They start with 1 person, you, hustling their butts off and growing as the journey progresses.
You can start a business with under $100. In the description of this video we’ll link to a book that proves multiple business models, all started on a shoestring budget.
If you don’t have even the $100 to start with, get a one month job or add value to people in any way you can so they pay you the small amount.
What you need to understand is that in the beginning, you have a lot of time, that’s your main resource. You will convert your time into money and use that money to get more resources.
It’s pretty straightforward if you think about it.
Number 5: Be ready to make sacrifices
Something most people don’t realize when starting a business it’s the amount of work and sacrifices which are needed to turn this into a success.
Most people start a business because they don’t want to work for a boss, they want to be the boss. They despise having to work the 9 to 5 so they to do something about it.
It doesn’t take long to realize that instead of working 8 hours per day, you’re now working 16 hour days, every day, including the weekends and you can barely sleep at night because you worry so much about the future.
Yes, creating a successful company leads to a way better life that you could have otherwise experienced, but those rewards don’t come for free.
The moment you start a business, it needs to become priority number 1 if you want to have a shot at success.
Your social circle is gone, you’re family will see you less, it will take a toll on your health and that’s just the beginning.
If you’re curious to learn which are the 15 sacrifices you need to make if you want to be rich, watch the video below We give an unique perspective on the issue and don’t hold back on the truth.
Number 6: Build smart from the beginning
If the foundation of the company is crippled, it doesn’t matter how high you plan on going, it’s bound to fail.
This is something you should definitely consider when starting out.
A smart business will check at least some of the following boxes.
1. It doesn’t have a demand ceiling
Which means that as you grow you will always have customers.
This used to be a problem with small specialized shops in locked in areas. If you were the only one selling blue hats to a small town, at one point you would reach a certain ceiling where sales can not be increased anymore. People only need 1 blue hat and at some point you will sell one to every person in town. No more growth!
2. Every part of your business is replaceable
Which means the business can survive if one of your future employees or one of your suppliers decides to leave.
3. Your business can scale
You have a clear plan on how you can increase production as the demand increases
4. There is a clear direction for the business.
Both you and your employees understand towards what you are working for.
Number 7: People should free up your time so you can focus on your strengths
Don’t be an employee in your own business!
One of the most common mistakes people make is they trade their job for another one this time in their own company.
When you’re starting out, you are the first employee, you need to get your hands dirty so you understand, optimize and perfect the system.
At the previous point we talked about building a smart business, which means once you have your entire process figured out, break it into smaller interconnected systems, then find people onto which you can unload specific parts of the chain.
Your employees are here to make sure the engine is running while you’re holding on to the steering wheel and getting everyone to the promised land!
The founder should be in charge of innovation & business growth. Your job as a founder is to figure out ways this business can grow so everybody who works for you gets paid. That’s your job.
They’re job, is to make sure they take care of the day to day so you can focus on your job.
In the early stage you will feel the need to micromanage everything, but this keeps you away from the most important task you have which is growth.
Every individual who moves into entrepreneurship has some traits they can use to their advantage, these are your strengths. Identify them and put them to work, use them to get the biggest return on your time.
Number 8: Fail fast and adapt quickly
Be ready for things to not go according to plan. You are a novice at this, so you need to keep in mind that there are many things you have yet to learn.
There are going to be plenty of bumps in the road, but if you’re serious about this being your life, you need to keep going.
You need to rethink that way you look at failure & what failure actually is.
For us, failure is only NOT achieving our dream life, everything else is just part of the game.
Think of your journey as gathering data, so you can make a more educated decision in the future.
8 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months.
This is because 1. They hit a bump so big that they decide to call it quits and 2. They fail to adapt to their new found reality.
A great example is NOKIA. For those of you who do not know the history of the brand, they used to be a rubber manufacturer before moving into the technology space. Their rubber factories were struggling so they adapted to new found opportunities.
A few years later, they failed to adapt to the changing environment of the smartphone and almost bankrupted the company. This giant that once dominated a space is now fighting for the breadcrumbs left by those willing to fail faster & adapt quicker.
Number 9: Long term success depends on your ability to manage your resources
Life is a lot like a strategy game!
You have several resources at your disposal: your time, your willpower, your ability to work, maybe some money & some people you know.
This is the hand you’ve been dealt, it’s time to make the most out of it.
Don’t complain about not having enough to begin with, yes there are other players who’ve been dealt a better hand, but you have your own story-line.
You have your own journey and your challenge is to make the most with the resources you have.
Many people undervalue time! Time is a resource we’ve all been dealt equally, you have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyonce or Elon Musk! It’s up to you to use them wisely.
The best players are those who are strategic with the way they make use of everything they have at their disposal.
If you’re disciplined enough, you can get out of any hole and start building yourself a ladder towards the sky.
Number 10: The right mentor is worth 10 years of struggles
They’ve walked the road you’re on right now, they know where the potholes are, they know what’s up ahead and you’d be a fool not to leverage their knowledge in your journey.
You need people who inspire you, you’ve done the things that you’re about to do. Analyze them, study them, see what nuggets of gold you can extract for their experience.
If you’re lucky enough, serious enough, prove that you’re worthy, one of them might become your mentor.
Think of mentors like power-ups! Things get so much easier when you have one.
The mistake new entrepreneurs usually make is they try to get a mentor too early, when they just have an idea.
Please remember the first 2 items on this list: talk is cheap & ideas are worthless without action.
A good mentor would want to see results first, they’re not going to waste their own time and resources betting on a horse they’ve never seen run before.
That’s why it is important for you to get a bit of traction, to have some experience so they can see what they’re getting themselves into.
If this is something you’re interested in, we made an incredible video on why it is important to have a mentor and how to get one. You can watch it below:
Number 11: There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
Don’t try to cheat the game just because it’s hard. We’re fascinated by people who jump from business to business, from shiny thing to shiny thing, because they’re looking to get rich quick.
Even if they settle on a business, they never put in the work, instead they spend most of their time looking for shortcuts, for loopholes.
Real value comes from building a solid foundation and laying brick next to brick until you put together your dream.
You can easily see this on social media. There are so many instagram profiles with millions of followers which only get a few hundred likes and several comments per post.
People want the cake, but they’re not willing to learn the recipe and how to bake one and when others offer them a cardboard cutout of a cake, they take it, because they don’t understand what a real cake is.
If you’re trying to cheat the game, you’re just cheating yourself!
Number 12: Keeping your head down and grinding is what will make or break you
The only thing you’re in complete control is yourself.
It’s easy to see some initial results and let it get to your head.
There’s a difference between winning a battle and winning the war.
You should be playing the long game! Sure, celebrate your wins, but the next day it’s back in the trenches, day in and day out until you have achieved the life you started all of this for.
We can’t stress enough how important self-discipline is, especially when you’re building your life.
Success is the sum of small actions repeated every day for extended periods of time.
That’s why you need to keep grinding, keep learning, stay humble and keep your eyes on that goal.
If self-discipline is something you’ve always struggled with, last Sunday we published a video on just that. It took us multiple weeks to narrow down the process of mastering self-discipline and without being biased, it’s probably one of the best resources available on the topic.
Number 13: Sales solve all your problems
Sales are the gas to your machinery, without it, you’re just left with a pile of scrap metal.
As a new entrepreneur, it’s easy to get sidetracked into marketing, branding, social media presence, they all help, but that’s not what will keep the lights on.
Your job is to bring money from the marketplace, into your company and use it to grow.
Remember the saying: Money makes the world go round, well, without it, your business isn’t going anywhere.
It’s shocking to us how many people leave the sales part of the business for later, they have no idea how they’re going to make money or if people are actually willing to pay.
You need better equipment – get more sales.
You need better marketing – get more sales.
You need a better accountant – get more sales so you can afford one.
There are very few problems which sales can not solve in a business and that’s why getting paid should be your number 1 priority.
Number 14: Raise capital from investors only when you can’t do it by yourself
Mark Cuban has a great saying and it goes something like this: The first time you raise money, that’s the first time you lost, because you were unable to do it organically.
We have a lot of acquaintances in the technology space and they all celebrate their funding rounds like they won. What did you win? You just game away 40% of your company in exchange for a little bit of cash which you will waste in less than 12 months.
Don’t get us wrong, having access to capital is amazing, but it’s not something that should be your main focus. We know entrepreneurs who spend more time trying to raise money than actually working on their product and business.
If you spend all that energy improving your product and getting sales, you wouldn’t need an investor taking a large chuck of your business or at least get a better valuation.
There are strategic moments when a business can no longer grow or survive without external capital, but this should not be something a new company be dealing with.
Do it yourself! Figure it out, bootstrap & get creative, it will teach you more about your business than anything else.
Number 15: A business without an end game is headed nowhere.
Why are you building this?
When do you know you’ve made it?
What is the goal of the company?
What are your personal goals related to this company?
Will this company be sold at some point?
Do you wish to maintain this as a company business?
These are all questions you should be able to answer even at day 1 of the business, because it puts everything else into perspective.
All your actions you will take from this point forward should align with this goal.
You need a game plan, without it, you’re just going to be shooting in the dark. Businesses where the founder knows what the end game is, not only have a better shot of success but evolve quicker.
It will take you less time to get to wherever it is you are going, because you know what to measure for and focus all your energy on checking off those boxes.
These are just some of the things most aged entrepreneurs would’ve wanted to know when they were starting out.
If you’re planning on being a multi-millionaire or even billionaire these 15 should become a part of your mindset as much as your goal has.
We’re curious to know Aluxers, Are you planning on starting a business or do you already have one? Please share some details in the comment section.
Hopefully you found this article on 15 things you should know before starting a business as useful as we found all the books we had to read to get the same info structured here.