One of the benefits of my job is talking to a lot of entrepreneurs, and many have been kind enough to share their thoughts on how they are able to achieve success. Here are the 5 most important takeaways I learned on how to be a successful entrepreneur.
1. Plan your Finances
It takes time for your initial business to become profitable. Be realistic about what its going to cost to get there. How long can you and your founders work for free? Talk to each other about what your “runway” really is. Can you get to profitability before the runway ends? If not, you need to either lengthen your runway (raise money), or figure out how to get to profitability faster (sales).
2. Get revenue
Sell, sell, sell. A successful business is one with paying customers. Businesses that focus on perfecting their product or service BEFORE getting customer buy-in have long odds. Start by getting sales and you will be on your way to a successful business.
3. Grow current revenue streams
Are you getting the most revenue you can out of a sales pipeline? Use measurable metrics to help you tweak your process to maximize success. Look for opportunities to sell more of your products or services to your current customers while finding new channels altogether to sell into.
4. Find new revenue streams
Constantly look for new ways to monetize your business. Continuously innovate to diversify your revenue streams and expand your customer base. This spreads out your risk and protects you from competitors. Sell new products to your customers or even look for ways to productize your service.
5. Be meticulous about managing expenses
Keep an eye on all of your expenses and know how they all contribute to the bottom line. Understand when expenses are not necessary and eliminate them.
Your business is bigger than any one product or revenue stream. The most successful businesses look for the best way to help current users, gain more users, and of course make money. Quite often this means adding a new product or service and leaving another behind.
Revenue was the constant that I found with each successful entrepreneur. Revenue is the lifeblood of their businesses. They constantly look to grow current revenue streams while creating new ones so they can ensure an always growing business.