An inspiring friend asked me this question after hearing of the wins and lessons i faced throughout my journey as an entrepreneur; What are the 3 most important pieces of advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a business. I’ve been asked this question in different forms a few times and the ensuing conversation was a truly meaningful one which hit close to the heart both for my new friend and i.
So briefly, here are my top 3 things i’d share with anyone. We’ll dive deeper into each individually and a couple more in future posts.
1. Have a vision
You’ve got to know where you’re going before you even start moving. Buying the best ship, equipping it with the latest in technology, hiring the best possible crewmen and most skilled navigator means absolutely nought if the captain doesn’t point a heading. Research has shown that we tend to overestimate our capabilities in one year and underestimate our capabilities in 5 years. That means we’ve got to envision where we would like to be far into the future, what is the end game? What is the purpose for all the sacrifices you are about to make? What does the future look like?
If you can clearly articulate WHY you’re going into business, you will have no problem defining your vision.
If you have partners (which you probably will) it is imperative that you remove ego, step out of your comfort zone and adopt a practice of CLEAR CONCISE OPEN COMMUNICATION.
There’s a saying, the world would be a better place if we would all just talk to each other instead of talking about each other. Honest communication between all parties involved (and everyone else!) ensures everyone is in-sync, there are no assumptions and everyone’s expectations are well aligned. Any form of unease or conflicts are addressed immediately and nothing is left to fester into irreversible catastrophe. Its a fact that assumptions are the mother of all f*%ckups because when we make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and then we react by sending unnecessary emotional poison with our word. So make it a point to talk, and talk alot.
3. The Digits
Know your numbers. I never liked accounts or maths throughout school, i never saw myself becoming an accountant and thought thats all accounts is good for, boring accountants. How wrong can one be. (My apologies to all my accounting friends who i dissed throughout your audit years)
You’re not only going to need to know how much money you need, how much you can spend or how much you’re earning, you’re going to need to know exactly where you’re earning from, where you’re losing, how much you need to have by when, and then can you only plan and strategise accordingly. After all, you won’t be able to go on for very long if the numbers don’t add up…
There are the top 3 things i’d share with anyone. To summarise, know where you’re going, make sure the people you’re going with know your thoughts and vice versa, and know how much it’ll cost to get you there.