As fancy as it sounds, being an entrepreneur is a task easier said than done. From the generation of ideas to the creation of a successful company, it is a journey not for the faint-hearted. You need to be courageous, innovative, resilient, and ready to get up after repeated failures if you want to succeed in the longer run. If you’ve been thinking about becoming an entrepreneur or have already started on that path, you probably already relate with the aforesaid.
But what if we tell you there is another way to go about it? You can raise your chances of success by learning from the journey of other entrepreneurs – both successful and unsuccessful. Treading the path others have already tried becomes easier if you know about the challenges they have faced, the assistance they have sought when things got tougher, and the tricks that have helped them sail through.
As an enabler of businesses in the UAE and the region, we have worked with countless entrepreneurs, seen a number of companies grow from a mere idea to an IPO, and have been on that journey of entrepreneurship with them for many years.
Here are the five most important lessons that we’ve learnt and you can learn from, too, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur.
1. Make use of advice: It is not just you who are seeking guidance from people who’ve been on an entrepreneurial journey. Learning comes in all forms and from all channels, but nothing is as effective as an entrepreneur sharing lessons with an entrepreneur. Get in touch with people who’ve been on this journey – their advice will take you a long way. We’ve seen entrepreneurs try it and succeed with the least amount of challenges coming their way.
2. Data is the key: If you build your business solely on an intuition, it is much likely to fail. Do your homework, gather relevant data, build a bank of trends, and then innovate accordingly. If your business stands on facts and data, there are very less chances that you will go wrong. The only way to be out there in the market with confidence in your product/idea/service is to back your actions with relevant data. If you are a ride-hailing app, for example, study the need for it in your market – collect data on the number of people using a similar application, the availability of vehicles, and so on.
3. Have the right team: No company has succeeded without the right team in place to date. Working on your idea and getting things in place are not enough. A company is made of people, and this is a business lesson that is universal and eternal. So, working on your team before you jump the bandwagon is probably one of the wisest lessons you’ll ever learn in your business journey.
4. Customers are the king: If you create a product that is for people, be sure it will get a positive response. You need to listen to your customers right from the very beginning. Be clear about who your customers are, how their needs are changing, and how you can innovate to meet their expectations. No one makes or mars your business as effectively as your customers do.
5. Be open to challenges: This might be the last lesson but is no less imperative. If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you need to change the phrase ‘fear of the unknown’ to ‘openness to the unknown’. The path of entrepreneurship is easy – said no one ever. So the best way to respond to the challenge is to recognise that there will be friction and that it will remain an integral part of your start-up journey.
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