As much as entrepreneurship may feel like a solitary world, it’s definitely not a one person job — and there’s no shortage of entrepreneur resources that can help.
Starting a business can be intimidating. Those who do it successfully tend to spend significant time securing funding, doing market research and developing a realistic business plan that fits into their lifestyle.
Taking stock of the entrepreneur resources available to you, so you’re better prepared to address the ebbs and flows of building a startup, is a great first step. In this post we’ll examine five broad categories of resources you can lean on as you start a business.
Market Research Resources
The most effective habit an entrepreneur can have when establishing a new business is to gain as much knowledge as possible about their market. Market insights are constantly shifting with the addition of new startups, business models, partnerships, mergers and acquisitions.
Gaining that in-depth knowledge of your space will help you make smarter decisions regarding the direction of your business growth. Market and competitive intelligence is critical. All the drive, determination and analyst advice in the world isn’t going to help if you don’t have your finger on the pulse, tracking and monitoring real-time information.
Arguably the most important driver to launching a business is funding. Financing is the lifeblood of companies, but for the newcomers, obtaining capital is crucial. There are countless policies that aim to support entrepreneurs through grants and tax breaks, making capital more easily attainable. However, entrepreneurs most often turn to two forms of private external financing: debt and equity. Knowing how to diversify these sources of financing allows your startup to handle potential downturns and shows lenders that you’re a proactive entrepreneur.
Once you’ve done the market research and studied your potential investors, it’s time to create a winning pitch deck and refine your presentation. Investors are looking for a return on investment (ROI), so you need to explain how their capital will drive your growth and generate a profit. But a compelling narrative about your intended use of proceeds will go a long way toward building trust and helping them visualize their ROI.
Many startups need help navigating the myriad challenges they encounter trying to grow their business. Traditional advisory options are expensive, antiquated and ineffective. With limited resources and a mountain of work to get done, entrepreneurs need to turn somewhere they can trust for guidance on strategy and execution.
Once you have built your products on a foundation of market and competitive intelligence and the capital is in place, it’s time to leverage external entrepreneur resources in the form of an advisory services team that acts as an extension of your management team. Such a team can help guide your roadmap while giving data-driven direction on actionable next steps.
Having the right people on your side as an extension of your internal team not only helps to distinguish your product/market fit, but also to map out a go-to-market strategy through the appropriate marketing channels. This helps grow your business in a repeatable, scalable and profitable way. Breaking through the clutter and connecting directly with your customers builds a believable brand that companies want to work with. Having that advisory support will help to find your position of strength within the market so you can own it.
Sometimes the best entrepreneur resources are other entrepreneurs themselves.
Those who choose to start a company quickly realize that they will be devoting a majority of their days (and nights) to their business. This relentless effort can take its toll on entrepreneurs, leaving them looking outward for advice and valuable insight from other like-minded people inside and outside their network.
Some of the most practical advice for startup founders is likely to come from a social network of acquaintances: friends and family with entrepreneurial experience, business mentors, peers, and investors who deal with entrepreneurs on a regular basis. They all have intel into what is needed and can arm you with a clear understanding of direction, focus and potential blind spots. This type of social capital adds value and promotes trust, reciprocity and transparency.
Starting a business can be an extremely stressful endeavor for an entrepreneur, and the psychological price tag that comes with it can not be ignored. To handle the ups and downs of startup life, having a firm grip on personal wellbeing is often overlooked. To maintain sanity as well as stay motivated, it’s important to have a support team that can offer inspiration and guidance. This team may be composed of friends and family as well as personal mentors.
To fire on all creative cylinders, your mind needs to be operating at max capacity, hence why burnout and depression can be all too present in founder life as a result. It’s reported that entrepreneurs are two times more likely to suffer from depression. This makes sense since individuals most likely to suffer from burnout are those who are overly passionate about what they do, work with an element of risk and operate in socially isolated environments. In other words — entrepreneurs.
Leaning on the best entrepreneur resources primes you for startup success. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the bricks certainly weren’t laid by one person.
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