It’s not easy being an entrepreneur. When you’re new on the business scene and working your guts out to get your product or service off the ground, it can feel like you’re on the outside looking in.
If you’re finding starting up stressful, you’re not alone. With finance from UK banks drying up and many businesses turning to business funding from the likes of Everline.com or pitching to investor after investor, there really is no rest for the wicked. And then there’s the likelihood that you’re already working a day job before moonlighting on your new business in the evenings and on the weekend. On top of all this there’s that nagging doubt that ‘1 in 3 start ups fail in the first 3 years’. It’s time to take a deep breath…and read our 5 helpful things nobody tells a start up…
1. Get some sleep
O.K. business never sleeps, but humans need to. With a fledgling business on the go, it’s tempting to work all of the ridiculous hours under the sun (and moon). It’s actually seen as a positive sign of drive and commitment to work for days, fuelled by coffee and ambition alone. But it’s no good for you and no good for your business.
To perform at your best you need down time. Showing up at important meetings frazzled, red-eyed, clumsy and more than a little spaced out won’t impress anyone. Also, do you really make your best business decisions on your 12th cup of coffee at 3am?
2. Dream big, think small
It’s easy to get carried away at the first sign of start up success and invest in all of those thing you dreamed you would one day have. The ergonomic chairs, the huge branded fish tank, the underground sub-volcano secret base…but in the internet age it’s easier than ever before to keep it small. A much smarter move.
Virtual working allows start ups to stay small for years, whilst running a really viable, growing enterprise. Dreaming big is good, but in your early days make sure you focus on your priorities and keep all other expenses to a minimum.
3. Don’t get fat
Life for many start up owners involves a lot of sitting and staring at a computer. It also involves very little time for personal maintenance or a healthy diet. A sedentary life fuelled by pizza and beer is common. But staying in shape can keep you alert mentally and feeling positive emotionally – two key factors in start up success. Take care of yourself and you’ll feel and perform better.
4. You’ll be ignored
Get used to it, and learn to perform in spite of other people’s rudeness. At pitching events, for example, chances are that only around 15% of the room will be paying attention to your pitch. Don’t be disheartened. Many of these pitches are recorded so could be great online publicity in future and you never know whose ear may be caught by your brilliant idea. Keep upbeat, stay punchy and in time you’ll win attention and respect. For now, put your pride on ice.
5. Embrace technology
Evernote, Hootsuite, Trello – there’s free software out there which can make your life so much easier. It may feel weird to start with, entrusting your life to technology, but if you let go and embrace it you’ll feel the benefits. More time, less stress and no chance of forgetting anything.