How to start a business – advice from entrepreneurs

How to start a business – advice from entrepreneurs
Picture: Valeriy Kachaev | Dreamstime

Entrepreneurship experts with experience in running their own business will answer questions about why you should try starting a business, what are the pros and cons of running your own business.

Who do you turn to for help and advice? Who should try to take on the role of an entrepreneur and experience all the hardships of doing business under their own responsibility, and who should not. What are the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make?

5 mistakes when starting a business

Sergey Bragin, CEO of the SYSTEMENERGO Group of Companies, independent business consultant:

A lot has been written about the pros and cons of running your own business without me. Therefore, I propose to go straight to the most painful, and therefore the most relevant aspect of the business start-up stage – making typical mistakes.

  1. Business for the sake of business. If you want to start your own business just for the sake of doing something, don’t start. Without a specific, thoughtful, meaningful business plan, nothing will work. Even people with great experience and background often fail. So, as they say, measure seven times, start a business once.
  2. Reassessing yourself as a loved one. To succeed in this business, you need to have a certain mindset and character. It is not easy morally to endure the most difficult period – the birth and infancy of a business. And at all stages, it should be remembered that a large number of startups (and any start-up business is a startup) die without starting to make a profit. Can you handle this load?
  3. Weak analytics. In any field, you need to start with the first screening of the business idea in terms of the strength of the business idea, consider industry-related aspects, carefully study the target market, assess your financial capabilities (or attract investors).
  4. Prototyping procrastination. The prototype needs to be made as quickly as possible and start running it. From personal experience, I was convinced that this is a real need. Example: at the first stage, when I just received the site ordered for the project, I asked people to give feedback on it. And I received it. But due to the fact that I have a specific choice of whom to listen to or hear, I chose the wrong pool for the survey. As a result, when I launched this project on Facebook, I received a completely different feedback from people who were not always familiar to me. I had to listen and start redesigning the site, but time is running out, the budget has been laid down, and any non-fulfillment of it, both in terms of expenses and in terms of income, is deadly. Do not repeat my mistakes – do not hesitate and test prototypes.
  5. Relying solely on positive experiences. If you ask me who to turn to for advice, I (with a high degree of probability) will not answer you. But to whom it is NOT necessary – easily. There are dozens of representatives of the business elite who did not become famous in practice, who did not have a bright and large business of their own, but they gained fame on YouTube and Instagram, occupying this niche in time. I recall a quote from the work of A. Kurpatov “The Red Pill”: “Why, think about it, do “successful people” write autobiographies? What for? It happens that such authors have already spent a lot of money and are trying to earn extra money on their former glory. But it means that their success was, frankly, so-so. Songs of downed pilots. Shall we learn life from them?”
How to start a business
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We must not only learn from really successful ones – we must admire them and analyze their work and achievements, which means trying to understand what exactly makes them so outstanding. There were so many different social networks, no matter how many variations entrepreneurs created, but Facebook is still the only one. What did Zuckerberg do to keep a project in the graveyard of Silicon Valley startups? That’s the question.

Business plan: steps and recommendations
Business plan: steps and recommendations

The truth is that we only hear about those who “could”, but about those who “could not” history is often silent. For dessert – the thought “to think” – the phenomenon of a survivor’s mistake.

Example from history

You’ve probably heard this story, but that doesn’t make it any less telling. During the Second World War, the allied aviation suffered significant losses in air battles, the chances of the bomber crew to survive were low.

The command decided to strengthen the protection of aircraft. It was not possible to hang the entire bomber with armor – it would simply not take off. Then, in order to determine the local places of reinforcement of the vessel, it was decided to analyze the state of the aircraft that had landed at the base. So the zones of accumulation of hits were identified.

There they were going to put armor. Fortunately, the Hungarian mathematician Abraham Wald noticed an error in his judgments in time and suggested strengthening just those parts of the aircraft that were not damaged, because if a bullet had hit them, the bomber would not have returned to base. This decision allowed to reduce losses from 50% to 20%. It can be the same in business: we look at successful companies and analyze them instead of trying to understand what has ruined others.

Business: what types are there and the main nuances of a successful launch
Business: what types are there and the main nuances of a successful launch

Thus, the instruction “How to DO” was born by the method “from the opposite”. First, test the business idea with primary screening, create a prototype and identify real, confirmed desires of consumers (after all, even Viagra was created as a heart medicine, and it turned out – what happened). The most important thing: in business – as in a game: the main thing is to stop in time. Before launching a project, you need to clearly understand how much you are willing to spend on it, otherwise there is a danger of going into a big loss. Do not confuse business with children and treat it accordingly.

The main question is: not “why”, but “for what”?

An expert in the banking sector, entrepreneur, founder and head of the platform for interaction with Apatris cryptocurrency assets, Andrey Bekarev:

The main question that needs to be answered when planning to open your own business is not “why”, but “what for”. Every aspiring businessman has his own motivation. So, often an employee realizes that he has outgrown his boss professionally (this can happen with representatives of different professions: doctors, lawyers, fund managers).

How to start a business
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Sometimes a person starts his own business, wanting to create a product that is not on the market (and for this you need to know the strategy for bringing a new product to the market), but which he seems to be in demand. More often than not, however, starting a business is a response to an existing demand.

At the beginning of the journey, an entrepreneur should study the situation, weigh all the factors and clearly answer the question “what is the idea and goal of my future business?”.

Of the advantages of running your own business, I would highlight, first of all, the fact that the business owner has the right to set the trend and determine the direction of development of his company. Of course, if we are talking about large enterprises, then the heads of departments can also introduce new ideas there, but the final decision should remain with the owner of the business.

SWOT analysis – identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business
SWOT analysis – identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business

However, it must be understood that this type of work is not suitable for everyone. The head of the business does not have a person who could tell him what to do and how to do it. Meanwhile, often people get used to the fact that they can always consult with their superiors. As a result, they do not cope with the responsibility that falls on them as leaders.

This is the main disadvantage of running your own business. An entrepreneur must understand everything and know exactly what is happening in his company. Of course, if we are talking about a large enterprise, then the manager does not always plunge into the details, but he must present the big picture clearly. For some it becomes an obstacle, for others it turns into a way of life. In addition, a business leader needs to be able to admit his mistakes, and not everyone succeeds in this either.

Answering the question for yourself, why open your own business, you need to understand what it will give to the world and to you personally. If you are confident that you can grow and that others will get the right product or service, your idea has passed the first test.

The next step is to evaluate your financial capabilities. You should have an amount of money that you are ready to lose in case of failure, because success is never guaranteed. If you do not have confidence in your idea and sufficient funds or investors, it is worth going to work in an existing project of a similar profile, where in case of failure, all responsibility will not rest solely with you.

Business model: how to choose the most effective
Business model: how to choose the most effective

A serious problem for the entrepreneur is that he usually has no one to turn to for advice. You need to rely solely on your personal experience. Neither acquaintances nor consultants will help here – answers can only be sought in your own practice. A talented businessman makes many decisions on the level of reflexes, and such an experience cannot be passed on to someone else, you can only learn from your mistakes.

Thus, only those who are ready to learn, ready to calculate their actions, dedicate themselves to business 24/7 should try themselves in business. The entrepreneur does not have days off, especially at the beginning of the journey.

You must be ready to experiment, take responsibility, assess risk and its consequences, and have a plan to get out of a possible crisis, regardless of market conditions, actions of financial regulators and other external factors. Any business is a long and hard struggle, and you need to be ready for this.

Pros and cons of your business

Konstantin Andreev, managing partner of Redday:

The pros and cons of running your own business are obvious.

How to start a business
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Pros of doing business

Of the pluses, it is worth highlighting: unlimited possibilities that rest only on your own imagination, an unlimited income threshold, the ability to independently manage your own time, make decisions, do what you really like.

Cons of your business

Cons – big responsibility. At the same time, it can be both a minus and a plus, there are people who want to be responsible and are happy to take on obligations, for them this will undoubtedly be a positive thing.

BPM – Business process management
BPM – Business process management

Also, the disadvantages include: unstable earnings, at least at the initial stages, the need to understand not only issues of one’s professional competence, work with a huge amount of documentation of various levels, work on an irregular schedule, regardless of holidays and weekends. There is also always a risk of failure and loss of invested funds.

Whom to ask for advice?

If there are established businessmen in your social circle, it is undoubtedly better to ask their advice. It will be especially interesting to communicate with those people who worked for a long time, and then opened their own business – you will get a look from both sides at once.

But if there are no such people, today it is not a problem. There are many resources that are called business incubators, where beginners or already experienced entrepreneurs communicate with each other. In addition, in each of the social networks there are specialized communities, and finally, books.

Who should try being an entrepreneur?

It’s worth trying yourself in business, if only because, even if the project fails, the output will be a lot of useful skills and abilities that will undoubtedly help in the future.

How to start a business
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In other words, your own business is a certain evolutionary leap, after which a person no longer remains the same. Regardless of the outcome. He will pump all his skills and acquire a lot of new knowledge.

Very often, former employees of large corporations come into business who have hit the ceiling of development, but feel that they can do more than is required. For them, their business is an opportunity for self-realization. Feel like a machine, not a cog in it.

Another reason why you should try your own business, if there is such a desire, is to find out if you can really make better decisions, as well as to understand where you personally feel more comfortable working, independently or for hire.

USP – Unique selling proposition
USP – Unique selling proposition

It is worth trying yourself in entrepreneurship for those who have some idea and a desire to change something in a certain area or industry. An idea can come spontaneously, or it can come from a need. Let’s say you want to buy something, you are looking for a product or service and you realize that this is not on the market. Thus, there is a great opportunity to fill a niche. A very large number of projects in demand now were born just like that, when a person was looking for something for himself and could not satisfy the need.

It is also worth doing business for those who are good at multitasking.

You should absolutely not try to open your own business if a person is not ready, as necessary, to learn new skills that are completely unrelated to his immediate activity, for example, accounting, law, marketing, etc., make decisions independently and take responsibility.

Start your own business to realize dreams and overcome difficulties

Inna Anisimova, CEO, PR Partner communications agency:

Owning your own business is a great way to realize your dreams, ambitions, get out of your comfort zone, and, of course, earn more, but not everyone is ready for such a difficult and responsible step. Opening a business is worth it when a person has the motivation and necessary qualities for this. I thought about this when I went on maternity leave.

How to start a business
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I liked doing PR, but I understood that employment would never provide such a variety of tasks, and financial independence, as my own business. Plunging into the world of entrepreneurship, you need to clearly understand that now you have to be responsible not only for yourself, but also for other people. For many, this degree of immersion scares away, others find in it an opportunity to show innate leadership skills. If you have an idea about your own business, then it is unlikely that it will leave you, and you should give in to the desire and try.

Home business ideas for women
Home business ideas for women

Many people cannot be satisfied with a stable job with predictable career prospects, and this is a clear sign that they need to move in a different direction.

Challenge awaits you

Difficulties that a new businessman will face are most often in his head. The main lesson that my career path taught me is that if you work long and hard, you can achieve anything, including building your own business from scratch without investments and connections.

I did not notice any special difficulties either when renting an office or when registering. At first, it is advisable to outsource all basic functions (cleaning, couriers, IT). Of course, the period of initial accumulation of reputation was not easy, PR is not the most hospitable industry for beginners, everyone tries to trust professionals, but we quickly found our niche, which satisfies us both financially and in terms of tasks. The main difficulty for me was the need to find a balance between family and work.

Rely on yourself

Now I’m going to say that it’s probably not the most popular opinion, you shouldn’t rely on anyone but yourself. In order to be an entrepreneur, you need to have a core inside and unshakable confidence in your strengths and capabilities.
Franchising: business features
Franchising: business features

And if you need advice and help from outside, it means that you are just as susceptible to negative reactions and difficulties. And this is not the most suitable quality for a person on whom the fate of the organization and other people depends. Don’t expect subsidies from the state, support from friends, or total loyalty to the cause from employees. What helped me the most was my professional experience, love of work and the desire to achieve results.

This interesting, but not easy way is suitable not for everyone. For those who are not ready to devote the first few years to work 12-14 hours a day, to mortgage an apartment if circumstances so require, to take risks, paying salaries to employees today, and receiving money from clients tomorrow, there is nothing to do in business yet.