How to teach business as an aspiring entrepreneur

It’s no wonder that many people fantasize about a life where they are their own boss. Being an entrepreneur means living independently without following orders. Additionally, entrepreneurship can lead to flexible work hours with no limits on your income and owning your own business empire.

However, building a business from the ground up is no easy feat. Only 40% of small businesses are profitable, while another 60% either go broke or consistently lose money. [1]

So how does a business master in this harsh economy? Although there is no fixed formula, here are some tips to learn how to help you learn the business and get started as an entrepreneur.

1. Start small

Small beginnings are underrated. Most aspiring entrepreneurs try to jump right in before learning the basics and avoiding pitfalls. My advice is to take things slowly in the beginning and start small. Going big from day one isn’t always the best approach.

My partner and I just made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia honorees  [2] . However, we certainly couldn’t get there in one day. It took us 7 years to figure out how to run our business, and it’s not something we could do from day one.

The first presentation I made for a cheesecake shop in the United Kingdom was for a few hundred dollars. It wasn’t much, but it gave me the confidence to do bigger things and a happy customer is always a good start.

Start by trying to sell inexpensive goods or services such as selling old clothing pieces that you no longer need online or offering graphic design services. These activities may seem trivial, but chances are they will teach you cost management, basic marketing, and how to deliver real value to your customers (and overcome challenges along the way).

Trying to fast track your progress and diving right in can lead to a rude awakening, possibly even business failure. 7 out of 10 small businesses are affected by business failure, and statistics show that they fail before their 10-year mark. Whether it’s due to poor cost control or a lack of proper business systems, business failure can be minimized once you master the basics early.

2. Model after success

Reading founder stories online through feature articles, podcasts, and websites can give you insight into how these outstanding individuals succeeded in their journey and what pitfalls you can avoid yourself.

Business leaders tend to leave examples of success. Modeling after them, learning more about their worldview, and walking the same path they walked will give you a powerful head start, possibly clarifying the difficult and similar decisions you will have to make.

Make sure you choose the right person to model after. Choose someone who has reached the level you aspire to reach. Read about their goals and visions, their failures and successes, including how they got to where they are now. To quote an old saying: “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself!”

When I first started our business, I personally reached out to entrepreneurs I sought out, such as Ana Fouroux Frazao, who was the lead designer at Apple at the time. Fortunately, they generously shared their experienced advice and encouragement that got me through some really tight spots.

Now, you’re lucky enough to start a business in a time where podcasts are all the rage  [3] and experts share advice for free on Linkedin.

Every success story has a road full of challenges and difficulties waiting to come your way. Find out more about the failures of these founders, how they picked themselves up, and apply the lessons you’ve learned to your own personal ventures. Not only will you avoid the mistakes they made, but you’ll also be one step closer to your goal.

3. Enroll in a course to learn new skills

Being an entrepreneur requires you to wear many hats, which means you have to take on more roles than you are comfortable with. In a large company, there are some essential roles that make the company tick, which are managed by different people – HR, Marketing, Accounts, Administrative, etc. Starting your own business means you will need to embrace them all.

Constantly acquiring new skill sets and experiences is a special habit of a great entrepreneur.

Take some time to attend classes to improve your skills in areas that require work. Explore in-depth areas in which you are already adept. By taking a crash course to explore different business topics, you can improve all of your business skills, especially those you specifically avoided in school.

For example, in addition to learning hard skills like programming and design, you may also want to pick up soft skills, such as negotiation, sales, and presentation skills.

Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you need to be good at everything, but it does mean you need to be willing to try everything and be a jack-of-all-trades. Take the first step in better equipping yourself with the most comprehensive duffel bag of skill sets for the long journey ahead because in the beginning, you’ll have to do it all yourself.

4. Master Marketing

Our world is changing. We have kids reviewing millions of films about toys  [4] and teenage influencers earn more in a good month than entry-level bankers. Attention is becoming scarce, and if you know how to command it, you’ll be in a good position to make massive profits.

As a starting point, you’ll want to master a few key elements and skill sets to begin learning marketing:

Platforms and Social Media

Familiarize yourself with various new social platforms like TikTok, face professional audiences on LinkedIn, and familiarize yourself with the oldie-but-gold Facebook channel for advertising. These will be your bread-and-butter channels that you own apart from your own websites and will be crucial to getting the word out about your business.

Blogging and Publishing

Whether you’re using WordPress or Medium, the behavior is the same. Share valuable content for free that your audience will love and develop community and expert recognition. In turn, they will likely buy what you sell and spread your message.

Years ago, SlideShare was the go-to platform for our niche before it was acquired by LinkedIn. I regularly put PDFs out there, which in turn, get us hundreds of inquiries and leads. After a year or two, we had millions of people watching our content. Now that it’s almost defunct, we’ve had to find new channels to market like LinkedIn.

audience members

All marketing tactics and strategies available will be futile if you don’t have a clear idea of ​​who you are targeting, what they want and the best ways to reach them. First take the time to understand your audience inside out — understand their wants, fears and aspirations.

Pricing strategies

Marketing drives you to get noticed. It will lead you to pay. The latter is more difficult to accomplish effectively. Setting the right prices is crucial to a successful marketing strategy and developing a business that will resonate with your audience.

5. Meet other entrepreneurs

You are surrounded by smart, like-minded and motivated individuals who are also facing the same struggles as you. You are not alone in this journey; There are others who can help you along the way!

The road to becoming a successful entrepreneur can be bumpy and lonely at best. There is a 100% chance that you will face challenges and difficulties along the way, and staying persistent and optimistic requires a strong mental game mindset.

Having an inner circle of entrepreneurs can give you contextual advice to help you make difficult decisions and navigate your next steps. Exposing yourself to this new group of individuals is a great opportunity to pick up something new.

Using apps like Meetup, joining groups on LinkedIn or attending business events on platforms like Eventbrite can set you up to meet your inner circle of future entrepreneurs.

You never know, you might just learn a little bit of something that can eventually propel you to greater heights and achieve even more out of the unknown.

Apart from that, you can potentially find business partners or collaborators who do not compete directly but serve a similar customer group among your target audience.

6. Identify a product niche you know well

It is easier to sell a product that you are intimately familiar with. You understand the pain points  [5] that drive you to make a decision and your potential customers will go through a similar decision-making journey. By understanding the pain points of the product, you know exactly what you want to bring to it.

In the best case scenario, what you’re selling can be something you’re passionate about.

For example, your interest may be in working out. As such, starting a business in that space can prove more interesting, and possibly even more successful, because of your intimate understanding of it.

We started our presentation consultancy, HighSpark, based on interest and expertise. Our existing skills in this area eased our first few clients against selling or offering a service we didn’t really understand. We were able to clearly articulate the pain points based on the previous clients we had helped on a freelance basis before starting the business.

Good business ideas rarely “come to you” by magic. However, that should not stop you from getting started. Start with passion, pick a pain point and start from there. Your ideas and business model may evolve over time, but you’ll thank yourself for starting early.

7. Become an intern

Before you start building your own empire, consider getting first-hand experience in the real world to get a good kickstart. Without knowing how the gears work behind the scenes, you can increase your chances of making mistakes that could have been avoided.

Interning at a successful small company can be a good start. It can give you a deep insight into the inner workings of a company and how its founders developed their business first-hand.

A well-chosen internship can broaden your horizons, providing the opportunity to work directly with and learn from small company founders. In a large corporation setting, you may not get the same level of responsibility.

You will also have license to make fewer mistakes in a safe environment. People are generally more forgiving of interns, who are usually less experienced than full-time employees.

This opportunity will allow you to leverage your strengths and apply the lessons learned to your business ventures with greater ease. Best of all, you get a free ticket to be guided by a professional, so there’s no need to feel your way in the dark when in doubt. You are not on your own!

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