The dream of working as an entrepreneur is greatly appealing to a lot of people. For many, the possibilities to be at the top of your own company are endless. But every entrepreneurial dream begins with the same image. You’re sitting at a magnificent desk, in a comfortable leather chair – which, for many is already a sign of professional achievement in comparison to the standard office furniture – and in an elegant office. On your left, you can watch the lights of the town through the window bay. On your right, the door is shut. And on it, facing outside, there’s a little sign for your staff to read. It says Director, with a capital D as in I DID IT. Like many, you might have first settled for working for someone else, but when the days are getting long and sore, your entrepreneurial aspirations come back to you. Why keep on dreaming when you can be looking for a way to make it happen? The process to create a company is, surprisingly enough, extremely simple. All you need is to decide on a name and a business type:
- LLC – Limited Liability Company
- Or any other type, especially if you want to launch your business abroad
Becoming an entrepreneur appears at first easy. All it takes is to create a business. But maneuvering the entrepreneurial life to meet the expectations of your partners and employees is a different kettle of fish. Everyone can become an entrepreneur. But not everyone can act like one. Here are some of the harsh truths that nobody tells you about when you form your company.
You don’t lead, you organize
You might have been reading a lot of books on leadership and how to motivate your team, but the truth is, when you start your company, you will not be a leader. You will be in responsible for the business organization, from assigning tasks via an employee scheduling software tool to keeping on top of holidays and sick days. In other words, your first steps sound dull and probably are if they don’t fit with the dream image you have of the entrepreneurial life. In a first time; your role is to prevent chaos by ensuring that the work is assigned effectively and without errors to the best person available. Startups and small companies often need to build up their workforce without the support of an experienced HR advisor. So, you can expect to be responsible for candidate selection, interview, hiring and staff management for the first few months to years. One good tip is to choose early a tool that can provide most of the organizational support you need and to stick with it until you can hire an HR expert to take over.
You never stop thinking about work
You’ll soon find out that, if you could switch off after your day at the office in the past, as an entrepreneur, you never stop thinking about work. In fact, more often than not, you might find that you need to check your emails constantly and you might even wake up in the middle of the night just to check that you’ve indeed sent a purchase order to your supplier or schedule your team for the next day properly. Being an entrepreneur can eat away your spare time, so it’s important to establish some basic rules from the start. Decide on a strategy to manage your emails and daily tasks and stick to it. This will help you to clear out your inbox and your desk regularly and to reduce stress. There are naturally other issues that can keep you awake at night. But creating a relaxing sleep routine can help you to prevent most stress issues.
Now you’re the responsible adult
Here’s something you need to take into consideration: You’re the boss, it’s your company. Does it sound sweet? Fantastic! But it should also make it clear that you are the sole person responsible for the success of the business at this stage. When you’re running your business, you need to be realistic about your role and your duties. If customers don’t want to buy your products, blaming them for a change of heart is pointless. You need to adjust to the market fluctuations and evolutions – ultimately, you should have seen it coming with a regular market analysis. If your employees are not performing, it’s not because they’re not good enough, but it’s because you’ve made the wrong decision when you hire them or you haven’t provided the relevant training or equipment. Accepting full responsibility for your company might sound stressful, but it enables you to stay in control and influence positive transformations when required.
How do you represent your brand?
Your responsibilities go much further than improving your business performance. You’ve created a brand, and you need to look after it. Every interaction with your customer is meaningful and needs to support your company image. If your delivery driver is reckless, your brand appears reckless too. If an employee is rude to a customer, it’s your brand experience that is negative. In short, pay close attention to the touchpoints with your audience and ensure that they are brand-friendly.
There’s no boss to turn to
Finally, it’s likely that you’ve established a business plan to define your operations and structure. For many newcomers, a business plan acts as a guide towards growth. However, a business plan is the equivalent of your standard IKEA instructions. While it shows how it is built, it doesn’t say anything about how the furniture will integrate into a specific environment or how you can expand or modify the item. Matters of market integration or expansion activities are the results of a strategic plan. Without a strategy, you can’t define the direction of your business or the current threats and opportunities in your sector. More importantly, you can’t rely on the guidance of anyone else. If your team can’t rely on you for direction either, it’s likely that your business will sink rapidly.
Hopefully, with these thoughts at the back of your mind, you can not only make your entrepreneurial dream come true, but also build a successful company.