If you are new to entrepreneurship, chances are you have no experience with operating your own business. Starting a new business can be very challenging when you have no experience. I experienced those challenges when starting out and I have made it my duty to educate aspiring entrepreneurs on how to start a business when they lack experience. Below is a list of the different ways you can prepare yourself to start a successful business when you have no experience. These are some of the things I did when starting my own business therefore this list is coming from a place of realism and experience.
- Self Educate – It’s important to research your industry thoroughly before starting your business. Before starting my business, I spent hours searching the internet for anything could find about my business industry. I also used sites like FirstResearch and IBISWorld to obtain industry reports. My internet searches and these industry reports educated me on my competition, industry growth, industry threats, industry opportunities, and just about anything else you can imagine. Self education gave me a good idea of how to operate my business in my chosen industry. Unfortunately, entrepreneurship (and industry) is not often taught in school therefore self education is a must when starting your own business.
- Build Relationships – After having a general idea about how I would operate my business, I begin connecting with companies that were already successfully operating in my industry. I didn’t view these companies as competition. I viewed them as a way to get my foot in the door and learn even more about starting a successful business in the industry. Partnering with established businesses in my industry has helped me grow my business quickly. It has also given me the support I need to operate more efficiently. I suggest joining your “competitors” as affiliates or referral partners. Not only will you learn from them, but you will also take some of the pressure off of you. Partnering with a “competitor” can sometimes enable you to use their expertise and employees, which could help your business grow faster.
- Develop Your Plan – Developing your business plan is imperative. Writing my business plan helped me determine how I would operate my business. Your business plan should serve as a guide for how you will operate as well. I strongly suggest writing your business plan or seeking professional help to do so. I took the SBA’s “How to Write a Business Plan” course to help me learn how to write a great business plan for myself (and other entrepreneurs). If you ever plan on raising capital in the future, there’s a good chance you may need to present the business plan to a bank or investor.
The Last Step: Get Started
The biggest teacher for me was simply getting started. When you lack the experience to start a business, getting started is the key to learning. No amount of research or planning is going to fully help you gain experience, only taking action will do that. I learned and gained experience by simply doing. Hands on experience is always the best teacher for any startup entrepreneur.