Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Natalie Smith who writes about startups and social media
The spirit of the entrepreneur will bring zeal and hope for the future. However, feelings of excitement should lead people to want to make wise decisions. Starting a business often brings failures, but that doesn’t mean you should ever give up!
Despite all obstacles and setbacks along the way, there are a few things you should always keep in mind in order to reap the rewards of entrepreneurship. In this article, I’ve listed some of the most important tips that any new entrepreneur will need to apply going forward.
1. Plan strategically
The foolish entrepreneur knows only what his goals are. The wise entrepreneur knows how he is going to accomplish those goals – he has thoroughly mapped solutions and considered a range of contingencies. If you have a product, how are you going to manufacture it? How will you promote it and market it? Is there a PR strategy? Have you registered your business and paid the necessary dues to the government? The answers to those questions lie in your strategic planning.
However, strategies are not set in stone. They should be reassessed based on the ongoing state of your business. As your business begins to flourish, you should spend the revenue on your business to make it more marketable. Successful businesses fund themselves for future expansion.
2. Research the market
You may have developed the ideal product or service, but the question is, to whom are you going to sell it? William Bill of the Wealth Design Group LLC makes this comparison: “Failure to do market research is like going on a road trip without any road signs.”
Therefore, you should always research the market. First, you need to define your market. Then, conduct interviews, surveys, and gain intelligence from focus groups. You should also research similar products and get customer feedback.
By doing this, you will gain  market research data,  information about your competitors, and  insights into what your customers like. If your target market changes, your products or services need to adapt to match your customers’ desires.
3. Hire the right staff
We have all endured restaurants that had exquisite entrees but inadequate service. The wise entrepreneur will hire the staff who are both knowledgeable in the required areas and have likable personalities who are unified under the bond of teamwork. Furthermore, he will give his staff incentives (good salaries, enjoyable environment, a boss who inspires them) so that they excel when promoting his business.
4. Provide quality products and services
When the rumor spreads that there are better alternatives, you will not see any repeat buyers or new customers. Therefore, you should be passionate about honing your product (or service) so that it makes people come back for more. One way of doing so is by seeking customers’ opinion on your offer. For example, entrepreneur Drew Martin developed MeCam, a small portable camera that takes pictures and images while attached on your clothes.
For example, entrepreneur Drew Martin developed MeCam, a small portable camera that takes pictures and images while attached on your clothes. Martin then asked his early fans to give him feedback on his product and used their opinions as an opportunity to upgrade and improve it. As a result, his business blossomed. The wise entrepreneur strives to do likewise.
5. Focus on customer service
Sales is often about selling yourself as a great communicator and people-pleaser – it’s all about responding to customers’ needs. When customers tell you what they need, you should always listen to them so that you can satisfactorily fill those needs. This is the message you need to convey to your customer service staff. A team of experts who can relate to people will serve as a powerful marketing tool for your business.
6. Consider content marketing
Your business needs to engage customers as much as possible, so you need to offer them stimulating content as a bonus.
How can you do it? Share your story with your customers. Allow them to relate to you. Provide helpful articles and valuable information. Give them amusing content. Write engaging stories about your brand. Get on social media networks. Engage with your customers so that they truly become more than just customers – make them become loyal followers and promoters of your brand.
7. Promote your brand
Are you the grandmother who wants to keep her secret cookie recipe to herself?
No, you are the wise entrepreneur who wants people to know about your brand. Take the following example – the social media team known as Buffer have risen to fame through content marketing and being transparent on they go about their business. They used every resource possible, whether with customers or (and especially) on social media and ingrained their brand into the mind of the masses.
8. Foster the right attitude
Every industry has struggles. For example, Matt Seiler was producing soda by himself, on a shoestring budget. Despite that, he remained optimistic and patient, and today his soda is featured in grocery stores. Though there was a lot of manufacturing to do, he knew he needed to work one step at a time. He also knew when to take calculated risks. Without this positive attitude and persistent zeal, he would not have had the success that he does today. Therefore, it is essential to remain positive and persistent in order to become successful.
9. Improve constantly
To be on top of your game, you need to embrace learning as an ongoing process. You can learn and improve in many different ways – read books, watch documentaries, attend workshops and lectures, and listen to customer reviews of similar products. If another business makes a mistake, ask yourself if you are vulnerable to that mistake as well. Work on the traits that are required to be a successful entrepreneur. Learn to be a leader and listen to the success stories others have had. Furthermore, do not let stress overwhelm you. Balance your work with your personal life, and always find ways to boost your productivity.
10. Ask for help
Wise people know that they can’t know everything. They know when to turn to others for wisdom and criticism. For instance, Jacqueline Whitmore is a professional author, and yet every time she begins to compose a new book, she sits down with a writing coach. She seeks help from those who have insight to offer and learns from their failures. You can do the same.
Talk to people in your industry who have been successful. They may see a glimpse of themselves in your entrepreneur spirit and be inspired to offer their wisdom. Consider even hiring a mentor as a strategic decision. Either way, always seek wisdom and never be ashamed to ask for help.
In the end, you should remember that it’s not easy for anyone. Every successful businessman was once an aspiring entrepreneur. However, if you apply enough effort and keep these ten things in mind at all times, success will come and you will have a great professional future.
About the author
Natalie Smith, an aspiring writer, and copywriter, is keen on exploring themes related to start-ups, social media, and business in general. You can reach her @natalies1014