Small and mid-sized businesses are playing a pivotal role in today’s global economy, contributing up to 50 percent to the GDP, providing employment for up to 60 percent of the workforce, and accounting for 30 percent of exports.
The robust nature of an entrepreneurism is so great, it has the ability to disrupt existing industries and create entirely new ones.
It’s no wonder more and more people are resorting to self-employment. But business ownership is not without its challenges.
Here are seven tips for new entrepreneurs from successful business owners around the world.
1. Find a Supportive Environment
Around the world, countries are playing an active role in creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurs with policies designed to encourage small to mid-sized business growth. There are five major tenants for creating this environment.
It’s important to launch your business in a country whose policies include an access to funding, an entrepreneurial culture, supportive regulatory and tax regimes, educational systems that accept and explore entrepreneurial mindsets and a coordinated approach that link private, public and non-profit sector. Business ownership can be difficult, but it’s a lot easier if you launch in a supportive environment, under the right conditions.
2. Learn the Laws of Your Industry
Considering the role entrepreneurship plays in stimulating economic growth, policymakers actively search for ways to create an integrated approach that brings together both government and industrial agencies. But it’s important to understand the laws and policies that govern your industry, and you may need to hire an attorney to do it. From setting up your corporation to obtaining licenses and permits and hiring employees, it’s best to get your business on solid legal footing from the get-go, so you don’t run into issues later on.
Joseph Borg, a successful businessman from Malta who serves as Director for a series of online businesses further explains the concept: “Ultimately, the people drive the market. They tell companies what they want and government works with these merchants to make it legal and safe. Be sure to launch your business the right way, to avoid legal issues down the road.”
3. Learn to Be Flexible
By necessity, entrepreneurs are highly adaptive people, who see new opportunities in a constantly changing landscape. While large businesses have enough of an inner-supportive structure to create a one-size-fits-all company, entrepreneurs find their common ground in developing trends and their ability to quickly adapt to changes in the marketplace.
Don’t become so attached to your business ideas and strategies that you fail to adapt to changes in your industry. Consumers are changing rapidly, and if you fail to be flexible in your business approach, you may be left sorely behind.
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4. Understand How Millennials Are Changing the World
The Millennials are rapidly changing the world, as well as shaping the future of businesses everywhere. With the oldest among them now entering their mid-thirties, this imposing group demands transparency, collaboration, a work-life balance, and the opportunity for growth with each position they fulfill.
Highly dependent on Internet technology, the globally connected Millennials are the most likely to exchange information concerning new products and services, which creates huge opportunities for entrepreneurs to pay attention to what they’re saying. If you’re launching a new business or growing an existing one, it’s important to understand how Millennials will fit into your workforce, and in your target market.
5. Don’t Ignore Your Web Presence
For the vast majority of new businesses, the greatest opportunity for visibility is online. Social networking channels help entrepreneurs to stay in close contact with business associates, interact with customers or clients, announce special events or stimulate interest in new products and services. Internet-based technology also helps small businesses to exercise more control over brand development, marketing and customer engagement.
Bottom line, don’t ignore your web presence. Lauren Wilkison, founder of CSC Digital Marketing in the United States says, “Your website is your biggest opportunity to connect with potential customers, clients and business partners. It’s one of the first things you should focus on when you launch a new business, product or service.”
6. Assess the Competition
When you land feet first in new territory, it’s best to know something about the competition. Study the tactics of those who succeeded, and also those who failed, to make a good comparative analysis. Success leaves clues.
Instead of paying attention to what your competitors are saying and doing, pay attention to what they’re not saying and doing. Finding the gap in their products, services and messaging can be your biggest opportunity to stand out.
7. Perfect Your Pitch
The same pitch you used to sell your company in one country may not work in another. Learn to adjust your pitch by observing the general business climate of your chosen target audience and the environment.
For example, in many developing countries, it’s expected that you’ll give back something to the country that will create a better standard of living for society. Your pitch should portray respect for the existing culture, appeal to the demographics involved and help create a sustainable future.
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Finding business success is largely a matter of research, fortitude and perseverance. To increase your odds of business success it’s important to launch in the right environment, take advice from successful business owners who came before you and adapt to changes in the marketplace.