Jumping into a new business venture can feel like you’re putting it all on the line. And you are — 9 out of 10 startups fail, after all. But before you throw in the towel, consider this.
When you look at business failure rates by industry, it paints a different story. My marketing company, for example, would be categorized as “services industry,” which typically sees about a 45% failure rate after 4 years.
If you have experience on the frontlines of an industry and want to transfer your skills to a new venture, you already have a leg up. As long as you have a distinct differentiator (and the skills to back it up), a clear mission and ironclad business plan in place, you can defy the odds and build a thriving business.
Small business planning is essential. Here are three major factors that helped me launch my company with no cash infusions, no debt, no investors and immediate profits.
1. Work Very, Very Hard
If you're starting your own company, this is a given. You should have a naturally strong work ethic and be smart enough to produce results. More importantly, you should always strive to be learning and growing; hard work will only get you so far. Having a desire to prove yourself, make an impact and overachieve in your current role is a pretty good indicator that you’ll find success in your new venture.
2. Earn Proof
If you have a consistent track record of working hard, learning along the way and honing your craft, proof probably comes easy. What type of proof? Consider your current or past employer’s return on investment in you. Did you contribute to top-line revenue growth, bottom-line growth and helping others grow? If you have the numbers or other proof to back up your work ethic and expertise, others will notice when going off on your own. An impressive résumé, growth case studies and solid references will serve you well in a new business.
3. Take the Necessary Steps to Network and Stay Relevant
It’s hard to go into the world of entrepreneurship if you’re a lone wolf. I know because that’s my natural inclination. You must learn from people, help others grow and build real relationships. In business it’s called networking, but I prefer to call it friendships. Whatever you call it, do everything in your power to put yourself out there — both inside and outside of your company — and help people whenever possible. This approach to business has continued to funnel referrals to my agency and provide value in unexpected ways.
If done correctly, at this point you should have the following in your arsenal:
- A list of references (ideally publically endorsing you on LinkedIn)
- A long list of business acquaintances and solid friendships
- Tangible proof of real results (infographics, résumé, case studies, professional achievements, references)
If you’re starting a services-based business and have the work ethic, proof and network to show for it, you should have everything you need to start your company with referrals. If you take your career seriously, help others, work hard and grow businesses, at least a couple people in your circle should be instantly willing to work with you and many more eager to refer you when you make the big jump!
There are many paths to entrepreneurship; this is just my story of small business planning and how I started my own company. Although it’s a bit oversimplified, I attribute a lot of my success to these three factors. And for those of you reading this post that have either referred me to others or work with me currently, you know how much the Human Marketing team appreciates you! For the potential entrepreneurs out there, I hope this helps some of you in your decision to jump!
I wish you the best.