You don’t always need a fancy degree or lengthy resume to realize your dreams.
A background in business is not a prerequisite to entrepreneurial success. Sure, a relevant background and some formal training can give you an industry edge, but what your success really boils down to is perseverance, resourcefulness, strategy, and flexibility. And these qualities can manifest in a number of different forms, from sound financial planning to being able to handle roadblocks with grace and tenacity. Here are a just few extra ways to help you grow your business from the ground up.
Hone your networking skills.
Your lack of a background in business may also mean that your personal and professional contacts are limited to prior industries you’ve worked in. While these contacts could prove helpful in certain circumstances down the road, you’ll want to grow your base to include relevant industry professionals. These connections may prove valuable in offering leads, advice, and a basic support system while you get your company started. Seek new contacts through word-of-mouth recommendations, social media groups, or mentorship opportunities.
Have a solution-oriented approach.
Rather than coming up with a new product for the sake of adding something new to the marketplace or, say, establishing a web-based retail company because lots of them do well, ask yourself what problem it is that you’re trying to solve with your new venture. How is your company innovative, and/or how is it enabling its customers to accomplish tasks with greater efficiency? Take it a step further and try to anticipate the needs of your target audience as industries evolve.
Play to your strengths.
Just because “business” may not be your strength initially, does not mean that your existing strengths aren’t as important. Of course, your strengths will prove more useful if they are relevant in some way. For example, if you have spent the last five summers flipping burgers at your local fast-food joint and now plan on opening a restaurant of your own, there is congruity there. Use it to your advantage.
At least initially. Once your business is on stable ground, you can increase your spending a little more (just don’t lose sight of practicality). But up front, your frugal habits can increase the chance of your business’ success. Keep your startup costs limited to necessities like labor, manufacturing, and marketing, before you branch out.
A formal education is not necessary for your entrepreneurial dreams to come true. But in the process of seeing your dreams realized, you’ll have to do a considerable amount of self-teaching. Much of this can be done with the help of free services like YouTube tutorials, edX, or University of the People. Aside from your auto-didactic skills though, the best education is “trial by fire” once you get the ball rolling. However, you may want to opt for a college-level course in some of the more technical aspects of business, such as financial planning and accounting.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You’ll be surprised at just how many people out there are willing to help you and your business succeed. From friends volunteering their time and labor, to industry experts offering advice, to your bank offering you a loan, help may only require a simple ask.
Recognize the value in failure.
Some businesses fail. That’s just a fact of the economy. And while that statistic is lower than you might think (50% in the first five years, as opposed to the commonly cited 90%), you’re still left with some less-than-comforting odds. But there’s no shame in failure. The best way to recover from it is to take what you’ve learned and make improvements the next time around.
Ultimately you shouldn’t let your lack of relevant experience put a damper on your confidence. With enough personal savvy, resilience, and strategic planning, your business will be off to a more than decent start. And even if things don’t pan out the way you hoped for, you can always try again.
Author: Mary Frenson is a Marketing Assistant at Checkdirector.co.uk, a new source of information on UK companies. Mary is always happy to share her marketing ideas and thoughts on business issues. In her free time she enjoys handicrafts.