As an entrepreneur starting a new project or venture, you’ll face many challenges. But you’re not alone! Fellow entrepreneurs who’ve faced those same challenges have advice for you.
Timing is key. So is preparation. If your startup isn’t ready to go, keep learning and working, says Alejandra Bazoberry, a strategic planner at Bolivia Rural, a digital communications company that helps rural Bolivians and the local development organizations that support them.
Bazoberry advises gaining more experience while you refine your product. That can mean taking classes or developing new skills — and earning money for your startup — at your current job. But “be prepared to take the opportunity” when the right time comes to start your business, she says.
“Think about the money”
When José Sánchez founded his company, he was so focused on his product that he didn’t think about how it would make him money. His Poliglota startup featured a Chilean-based internet platform that connects people worldwide to learn languages via conversation groups. But Sánchez neglected to map out a formal statement of business goals, reasons the goals are attainable and plans for reaching them — key ingredients of a typical business plan.
Now a bit more business savvy, Sánchez still advises new entrepreneurs to focus on creating solutions for customers’ problems, but, he adds, also “think about the money.”
Defend your product
“Know your product and be willing to defend it tooth and nail,” advises Triston Thompson, who is a partner and information systems architect at IntellectStorm, an IT and marketing solutions provider in Guyana. If you don’t believe in your product, Thompson says, you’ll have a hard time getting others to.
It’s also good to surround yourself with positive people “who will build you up and not tear you down,” he adds.
Assess your product’s impact
Consider the potential impact of your product or solution before you launch it.
“Think about and listen to every actor that’s going to be involved, whether it’s the environment, the community or politicians,” says Sofía Cruz, the founder of Mexikatekatl (Tekiti), which connects local artisans with Mexican businesses that buy and sell their goods.
“Try to create a project where you can see the benefit to everyone from the beginning,” Cruz says.
Find a mentor
“Search for a mentor who will push you toward your goal,” says Kheston Walkins, founder and director of Raiora Data Services, which provides digital publishing and marketing solutions in Trinidad and Tobago.
When Walkins was preparing to start his company, most of his friends didn’t understand what he was doing. Looking back, he thinks a mentor — someone looking after his best interests and giving advice — would have helped. “The more advice you have,” the more confident you’ll be in starting your business, Walkins concludes.
Learn more about the rewards of running your own business.