At a recent conference, I heard Tricia Schumann speak as part of a panel. She was so articulate and insightful in her advice to new startups, I just had to share with y’all! Tricia is a serial entrepreneur, with her latest venture being Bach Health. She shared many great thoughts but here are three of my favorites:
1. It’s risky to work for yourself, but it’s just as risky to work for someone else. Some people are terrified of starting a business or becoming an entrepreneur because, well, it’s risky business! But it’s no more risky to be your own boss than going to work for somebody else. When you start a business, you bear the weight of mistakes, the risk of loss, and have all the upsides of whatever success you achieve. Working for someone else, you are subject to their strategy, dependent on their execution, and if the company fails, although you won’t get the blame, you’ll still wind up without a job. Both sides are risky. (Here’s a prior post on addressing your fears). Bottom line: Don’t let fear be your excuse for not pursuing your dreams.
2. Preparation and practice will increase your chances of success. Along the lines of “don’t quit your day job”, there is wisdom in using your current position as an opportunity to prepare yourself to be your own boss. If you can manage a team, grow a department, or launch a new product for someone else, you’ll be better equipped to accomplish those goals within your own company. Also, because revenue solves problems, start now to create a “warm network” of people in the industry. (Become a networking rockstar!) These colleagues and friends may one day be customers and partners. Building a network takes time, but it will seriously pay off.
3. No one can do everything. Marketing, software development, sales, human resources, financial reporting, strategy–there’s so much that plays in to a successful business! You may begin as a “lean startup,” doing most of the work yourself, but to grow into a seriously profitable venture, you’re going to need a lot of help. Do you know what your strengths are? Good. And the other stuff? Hire somebody. Build a team of people who excel at the things you don’t. Surround yourself with an amazing team, and watch as amazing things start to happen. The culture you create can affect future earnings as much as current cash flow.
Talking with Tricia was truly a motivating experience for me. Stay tuned to see how I put her advice into practice!