Niagara Gazette

March 14, 2013

Are you an entrepreneur? Bob Smith says likely not

Six things every new entrepreneur must know

By Robert D. Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Warning: This article is not for the faint of heart.  But, if you can stand the heat, here are some tips for anyone thinking about starting their own business:

1. This job is rough, tough and most likely not for you.

The vast majority of people I talk to who want to become an entrepreneur are 100 precent certain they can leave their job, create something out of nothing and be financially self-reliant within a short time. I, however, am 100 percent certain they cannot. If you think you are an entrepreneur, most likely you are not.

In 90 days, most of you will be out of business…and 90 days is a stretch. The odds are absolutely stacked against you. If I were a betting man, I would bet that your first attempt would fail. Quickly.

Most of the time, people are not in a mental state where they can face rejection and start eating “no’s” for breakfast. If you start out eating 30 “no’s” a day unintentionally, you will get sick! And trust me, there will be a plethora of “no’s” in the beginning.

2. Don’t be foolish—test your idea.

One of the biggest reasons so many new entrepreneurs fail is because they have an idea they think will work, so they jump into it without actually knowing whether it will work or not.

Test your idea on a small scale before implementing it on a large scale. See if there is outside interest before you risk your life’s savings. If there is no interest … that might be a clue.  

3. Start by financing your business yourself.

Everyone seems to think they have a Google or Facebook-level idea, but what they don’t think about is the fact that those were not overnight successes. Watch the Facebook movie “The Social Network.” They were busting their butts for years! They had already proven their value by the time the cash was rolling in the door. Don’t wait on outside dollars. Finance it yourself. 

4. You should not quit your day job right away.

When I started managing self help author and corporate speaker Andy Andrews over 30 years ago, I backed myself up with three part-time jobs.

Oh, and if you think you don’t have the time to work a full-time job (or several part-time jobs) and work on your entrepreneurial dream, then you haven’t read Jon Acuff’s “Quitter.” Buy it, right now.

5. Never assume anything about anyone.

The biggest mistake I’ve made as an entrepreneur is that I thought other people knew what they were doing. I assumed that if they had the degree or the company that says they knew how to do something … that they actually knew how to do something. Finding an accountant who can count, a graphic designer who can do graphics and a web person who can make websites is so much more difficult than it sounds.

6. You need to go to bed crying and wake up vomiting.

If this is going to work, everything in your being has to be so intense you feel like your hair is on fire 24/7. If you walk around casually sipping a cup of coffee every morning, you are not an entrepreneur. A true entrepreneur is running so fast they probably have forgotten to eat breakfast and take a shower.

Some of these points may have discouraged a few of you. If so — good! The world needs less passionless entrepreneurs. However, if you made it through…and you still possess a desire to make whatever your venture is work … then I hate to say it, but you should definitely go for it.

Robert D. Smith has managed  the career of Andy Andrews, a three-time New York Times best-selling author and corporate speaker, for 30 years. He has counseled numerous best-selling authors, speakers, and organizations on sustaining success and growth across multiple industries and is author of “20,000 Days and Counting: A Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now.”