managing partner, Trust Services Inc.
Running a business is not easy. By forgoing the safety of a full-time salary, entrepreneurs carve their own way into the unknown. Their earning potential is unlimited.
But they have to make many sacrifices along the way (we’ve all heard the stories of entrepreneurs living off ramen noodles) and success is not guaranteed. Citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Investopedia notes that as of 2021, 20% of small businesses “failed in the first year, 50% within five years, and 65% within 10 years.”
Once entrepreneurs have a taste of success, they want to go ahead and pursue other ventures. As FreshBooks found in its 2019 US Self-Employed Report, 30% of Americans are serial entrepreneurs; on average, “serial entrepreneurs have run three companies over their careers.”
Launching more than one company is a smart move, one that makes sense. As an entrepreneur who founded two companies, I am constantly coming up with new ideas and thinking about my next venture. But gaining the confidence to go beyond the planning stage and push my ideas out into the world takes time, especially if I want to enter a new industry.
Here are my top tips for starting new ventures and scaling to success.
1. Get the right mindset and be disciplined
As the adage goes, mindset is everything. Psychologist Carol Dweck, the author of the acclaimed book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, explained the power of mindset in the Harvard Business Review. Those with a growth mindset, or “individuals who believe their talents can be developed,” “end up achieving more than those with a more fixed mindset.” In other words, be open. You may not be an industry expert now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work towards becoming one. Enjoy all the knowledge you can.
In addition to a growth mindset, you need to create a clear roadmap for your business. Daniel Walter addresses this concept in his book, The power of discipline. He notes that self-discipline “is like a key – it unlocks the door to personal fulfillment and opens the door to the life you’ve been dreaming of.”
Many people have ideas. But the people who turn their ideas into reality are the ones with discipline.
2. Scale and grow your business
Mindset and discipline are the foundation of any new venture. Once you’ve opened the doors to your new business, it’s time to strategically scale and grow it.
My first recommendation is to invest in building talent for your company. Doing everything yourself is a recipe for failure. You cannot combine being a founder with other critical roles such as human resources, marketing, sales, accounting, etc. Growing a business takes time and requires top execution in many areas. Superman and Wonder Woman are fictional characters and not corporate role models. Hire a team!
Second, your network is everything. You never know where a conversation will take you. For example, meeting someone at a local networking event could lead you to your next investor. Build strong, meaningful relationships. Send your contacts an interesting article every quarter to keep them in your circle. Reach out on birthdays and work anniversaries. And always approach relationships from a giving perspective. Think about how you can help others instead of how others can help you.
3. Keep a close eye on your company’s financial health
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting new ventures is neglecting the financial health of their business. As a result, they don’t know how well their business is really performing.
Knowing your numbers can help you move your business forward. When things look unstable, you need to correct course as soon as possible so that you can keep building and continuing on the entrepreneurial path.