I have never been an entrepreneur but I really admire the many entrepreneurs I have met in my supplier diversity role. I have learned a great deal listening to entrepreneurs tell me about their successes, failures and what they would do if they had a chance to do it all over again.
So my list below is not from personal experience but listening to those who have made the brave leap to being their own boss.
#1 Before you open your doors, have a fellow entrepreneur and/or your local council review your business plan. I know a very successful and generous entrepreneur who frequently works with those wanting to start their own business. He tells me more often than not, he tries to talk hopeful entrepreneurs out of starting a business. He is most wary of hopeful entrepreneurs who do not have a strong business plan.
#2 Every entrepreneur I know has told me having a business plan that takes you from year one to five is critical as you start your business. You need to know where the capital will come from, how long you stay afloat as your business launches and if your business does take off, how fast you can grow. The entrepreneur also has to be prepared if their business venture does not go as planned.
#3 While everyone opens a business with the best of intentions, the entrepreneur needs to start the process knowing that if the business does not take off within the planned time period, when it is time to close the doors and move to the next project. Sadly, many entrepreneurs go deeper into debt thinking a change is just around the corner. That hopeful thinking can sometimes be financially devastating.
#4 No matter how successful your business has been, all entrepreneurs tell me they never have just one stream of business going. Even the best run, most successful firms will face changing market conditions, competition and changing customer needs. Be ready to move to your new line of business when the time is right.
#5 Many entrepreneurs start their business as a one-person operation. An employee handbook is necessary for even the smallest of staffs and it needs to be created in the early stages of the business and should be done by a human resources professional.
When you have seen success and your business is going well, remember the importance of doing business with other firms in the diverse business community. Reach back to your local council and tell them about your success and willingness to help others.